What Can I Do If I Have a Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth, also known as Xerostomia, is caused by a lack of saliva in your mouth. This could be due to various reasons including diseases of the salivary glands, medications with side-effects that decrease salivary flow, or natural aging.
Having a mouth that is well-moistened with saliva is an important part of maintaining good oral health. Saliva contains proteins and minerals that help protect your tooth enamel and prevent dental conditions like gum disease, tooth decay, infections, etc. Saliva also plays a role in cleansing your mouth by helping to rinse away the food residue and plague from your teeth and gums.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a persistent dry mouth, know that there are things you can do to fix the problem.
Here is what you can do to get rid of a dry mouth:
- Sugar-free gum - Chewing on sugar-free gum helps to induce saliva production and keep your mouth and teeth moist. Make sure you don't use sugared gum because that can lead to tooth decay and cavities.
- Drinking water and liquids - Drink plenty of water and/or other liquids to keep your body hydrated. Your body is made up of 50-65% water, so if you are not staying hydrated it could definitely lead to a dry mouth.
- Use a humidifier - at night when you sleep use a humidifier to keep your room moist. A moist and humid environment can help with preventing dehydration and a dry mouth.
- Limit Caffeine - Avoid consuming too many caffeinated drinks. Caffeine is a diuretic, which increases the passage of urine in your kidneys, therefore leading to increased dryness in your mouth.
- Limit salty foods - You may have noticed how consuming salty foods can leave you feeling very thirsty afterwards. If you have a dry mouth it can help to consume less salty foods, or if you do make sure to drink a lot of water to keep hydrated.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking - both alcohol (including alcohol based products) and smoking can cause a dry mouth. Try to avoid or eliminate the use of these products. If you are using an alcohol-based mouthwash, switch to a fluoride-based mouthwash instead.
- Over-the-counter products - There are many over-the-counter products in the market that can help to get rid of a dry mouth. Visit your local drug store and see what products are available.