I used to take a medication that caused my mouth to dry out. Fortunately, I only needed to take it periodically, but I never enjoyed having a sticky, dried out mouth that made it hard to swallow and made me feel like I could drink gallons of water without finding relief. If you suffer from dry mouth symptoms, you know how unpleasant this can be. For some people, chronic dry mouth can be debilitating, interfering with being able to eat and even speak on a daily basis. If you suffer from these symptoms, try the following dry mouth remedies to find relief.
Dry Mouth Symptoms
People with dry mouth, medically known as xerostomia, have reduced salivary flow in the mouth, which causes dryness, difficulty swallowing and speaking, and aversions to eating spicy, acidic, and crunchy foods. Sometimes xerostomia is associated with taste changes as well.
What Causes Dry Mouth?
One of the most common causes of dry mouth is the use of certain medications including blood pressure medications, opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS), anti-diabetics, and more. High blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, thyroid diseases, and other common conditions might also be associated with dry mouth. Past radiation in the head or neck region can also be the root of the problem.
It is important to speak with your doctor to help determine what might be causing your dry mouth. If one or more of your medications is the culprit, you may be able to discontinue or try an alternative.
10 Dry Mouth Remedies
In dry mouth, the salivary glands are often not functioning properly, causing decreased saliva flow. To alleviate symptoms of dry mouth, you will need to help promote saliva production and ease your dryness by providing as much moisture as possible. Try the following home treatment strategies:
- Drink plenty of water. Saliva production requires water, and if you are dehydrated your body will not be able to produce enough of it. Staying hydrated and sipping on water throughout the day will help.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom. Providing additional moisture at night, when your mouth is likely to be open and getting dried out, can be effective.
- Chew on sugar-free gum or suck on lozenges. When there is food in our mouths, our bodies automatically increase the rate of saliva flow to help aid in digestion. Chewing on healthy, sugar-free gum can stimulate saliva production, as can sucking on lozenges or sugar-free candy. One study found lozenges with green tea catechins to be particularly effective. Fruit pits or lemon rinds are effective, easy, all-natural alternatives.
- Use a natural saliva replacement. Try an all-natural brand such as Thayer’s that has sprays in flavors like peppermint and citrus (they have lozenges, too).
- Don’t use mouthwashes with alcohol. These can have drying effects, which can further exacerbate your symptoms.
- Keep your mouth closed. Breathe through your nose and keep your mouth closed to preserve as much moisture as possible.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. These substances can dry your mouth out even more, so removing them from your lifestyle might help you find relief.
- Eat foods that are moistened. If you have trouble swallowing or eating, try eating foods that are already moist. Soups and stews may be soothing. Cover drier foods in sauces or broth to make them easier to swallow.
- Address bad breath. An unfortunate side effect of dry mouth is bad breath. Try these 7 bad breath remedies to fight bad odor.
- Maintain good oral hygiene. Saliva protects your teeth and gums; without it, you may be more likely to get cavities or have other problems. Brush and floss every day, and see a dentist regularly.
Share Your Experience
Do you have dry mouth? Have you tried any of these dry mouth remedies? If so, did they work? Share your tips for relieving dry mouth in the comments section below.
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This post originally appeared in 2015 and has been updated.