10 Tips for Dry Mouth Relief
Dry mouth is a condition that refers to lack of moisture in the mouth, usually as a result of an abnormal flow of saliva. Certain medications, diseases, cancer therapies and even lifestyle habits may cause dry mouth, also known as xerostomia.
If you suffer from dry mouth, you know it’s more than just an unpleasant feeling. Saliva plays a significant role in maintaining good oral health and helping us taste, chew and digest food. Dry mouth can lead to bad breath and increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease (gingivitis) and oral infections.
Follow these tips to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth and prevent further problems:
- Chew sugar-free gum. This is the easiest way to stimulate saliva production. Sucking on sugar-free hard candy works too.
- Rinse with alcohol-free mouthwash. Most mouthwashes contain at least 10% alcohol, which has a drying effect.
- Don’t smoke or drink. Both tobacco and alcohol are one of the biggest reasons for dry mouth.
- Stay hydrated. Water and sugarless drinks will alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth and offer a myriad of other health benefits.
- Use a humidifier. Humidifiers add moisture to the air and are especially helpful during winter months when the air is cool and dry.
- Eat tart and sour foods. In small doses, citrus fruit, yogurt and pickles will stimulate saliva production.
- Try a saliva substitute. Artificial saliva rinses and sprays aren’t a perfect replacement for natural saliva, but they will help to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth.
- Breathe through your nose. If you wake up with a dry mouth, you might be breathing through your mouth at night. If you notice the symptoms only upon waking, ask your doctor to check for sleep apnea as the potential culprit.
- Limit caffeine. Tea, coffee and caffeinated sodas all have a drying effect and should be avoided.
- Maintain dental hygiene. Be extra mindful of maintaining good oral health. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Schedule a regular cleaning every 6 months.