Everyone gets a dry mouth from time to time. Your mouth might feel parched just before a big presentation or after you've worked out on a hot day. In some cases, dry mouth is connected to a medical condition or to the medicine prescribed to treat certain conditions.
If your dry mouth is an ongoing concern, your best bet is to talk to your doctor or dentist about how to cope with it. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to get relief.
1. Stay Hydrated
Sometimes, dry mouth develops because you aren't getting enough fluids or because you're exposed to something that causes your mouth to dry out. Taking small sips of water throughout the day helps to keep your mouth moist, alleviating the discomfort of dry mouth.
Hydration goes beyond simply sipping water, though. It can also be a good idea to steer clear of ingredients that can dehydrate you, such as caffeine or alcohol. Alcohol isn't just in drinks. Your mouthwash might contain it, too. If it does, try switching to a brand that doesn't have alcohol. Your dentist can recommend suitable mouthwash products to you.
Smoking and tobacco use can also dehydrate you and make your mouth feel dry. If you use tobacco products, talk to your dentist about quitting. You'll benefit in more ways than relieving your dry mouth. You'll also enjoy a lower risk of certain cancers and gum disease after you quit.
It can also be a good idea to moisten your food before eating it, particularly if you're having trouble swallowing. Soaking food in broth or water or eating foods that have a high water content like soups, can help ease dry mouth discomfort.
2. Change Your Medications
Some types of medications are known to cause dry mouth, including antihistamines and blood pressure lowering medications. If you think your medicine is making your mouth dry, talk to your doctor. It might be possible to switch to a medication that doesn't cause dry mouth. If changing meds isn't an option, your doctor or dentist might be able to give you some pointers on relieving your dry mouth.
Even if you're absolutely certain that a particular medicine is causing dry mouth, don't stop taking it without consulting a physician first. You want to be sure you have a backup plan available to minimize the risk of complications or side effects.
3. Try Chewing Gum
Chewing sugarless gum doesn't just help to freshen up your breath. It can also stimulate your saliva glands, creating moisture in your mouth. Some types of gum contain xylitol, which is known to encourage saliva production.
If you don't like chewing gum, another option is to try sucking on sugar-free candy or lozenges. Sucking on candy also helps to stimulate saliva production, which may relieve dry mouth.
Since sugar can contribute to dryness and dehydration, make sure the gum and candy you choose are really sugar-free. While you're at it, it can be a good idea to cut back on sugar in your diet. You'll enjoy some relief from dry mouth while reducing your risk of cavities.
If your dry mouth persists no matter what you do, your dentist can help you get to the bottom of it and recommend treatments to provide you some relief.