How to treat a dry mouth at home
How to treat a dry mouth at home
Dry mouth occurs when the mouth does not make enough saliva. While it is not dangerous, it can be a bothersome symptom.
Sometimes, the solution is as simple as drinking water to avoid a dry mouth from thirst. Dry mouth may also appear due to other reasons, such as a medication or underlying condition.
In this article, learn about 11 home remedies for dry mouth, as well as when to speak to a doctor.
Anyone experiencing dry mouth should ensure that they are drinking enough water.
Drinking water throughout the day can help prevent the minor dehydration that may lead to dry mouth.
Sipping water slowly and regularly throughout the day can help prevent an upset stomach that can occur as a result of drinking too much water at once.
Poor oral health can cause dry mouth, and dry mouth may also lead to poor oral health. Taking steps to improve overall oral hygiene is vital, no matter what the underlying cause of dry mouth is.
Good oral hygiene includes brushing and flossing each day, as well as rinsing the mouth with water or mouthwash after meals to help wash away food particles.
Some people choose to use a tongue scraper to help reduce bacteria on their tongue, which may also improve overall oral health.
Mouthwash can play a positive role in maintaining oral health, but it is important to consider the ingredients in a mouthwash. Mouthwashes that contain alcohol kill bacteria, but they may also dry out the mouth.
However, mouthwashes containing ingredients such as xylitol may help kill bacteria while also keeping the mouth moist.
The authors of 2014 research noted that xylitol and betaine, which are common ingredients in some mouthwashes, may effectively improve dry mouth when it is a side effect of medication.
Sucking on a sugar-free lozenge or candy may help prevent the mouth from drying out. Sucking on the candy keeps the mouth closed and helps keep the saliva circulating.
This could temporarily relieve dryness or prevent it from occurring. It is important to choose a sugar-free variety, as sugary sweets can damage the teeth.
Similar to sugarless candies, chewing sugar-free gum may help keep saliva flowing and stimulate saliva production, which could prevent the mouth from drying out.
Chewing gum is a temporary solution, but may provide quick relief.
Ginger sprays, tea, and other products with ginger may help stimulate the salivary glands and increase saliva production.
A 2017 clinical trial on 20 people noted that ginger spray could be an alternative to other treatments for some people with dry mouth.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) products contain medicines or artificial forms of saliva designed to stimulate the saliva or prevent dry mouth.
These may provide temporary relief, and generally have fewer side effects than stronger prescription options.
OTC products for dry mouth include lozenges, sprays, mouth rinses, and more.
If a person spends a lot of time indoors, they may notice that the dry indoor air makes symptoms of dry mouth worse.
Many people find relief by using a humidifier in the rooms they use most. Adding humidity to the air with a humidifier may help keep the airways and mouth moist, helping prevent a dry mouth.
Many medications can cause dry mouth, including drugs to treat:
Anyone taking medications for any of these conditions who experiences dry mouth may want to talk to their doctor about alternatives or solutions for the side effects.
While some remedies may help temporarily relieve a dry mouth, making lifestyle changes to help reduce symptoms may also be necessary.
For instance, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research note that substances such as tobacco and alcohol use can dry out the mouth. Avoiding tobacco and alcohol use may help prevent dry mouth in some cases.
Caffeine may also dry out the mouth. Avoiding sources of caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks, may prevent dryness.
Breathing with an open mouth can quickly dry out the airways. Some people breathe with their mouth open when they have a respiratory illness, such as a cold, or due to underlying medical conditions.
Engaging in activities that cause heavy breathing, such as heavy exercise, may also cause a person to breathe with their mouth open.
Additionally, if a person wakes up every morning with a dry mouth, they may be sleeping with their mouth open and inhaling the dry air.
Making a conscious effort to keep the mouth closed and breathe through the nose may help improve saliva flow in some people. Other tips may help with this effort, such as sucking on a sugarless candy.
Dry mouth can be irritating and may even lead to other problems in the mouth if left unchecked. Many home remedies can help a person get relief.
Anyone struggling with treating dry mouth at home should talk to a doctor. They may recommend a change in medication or other tests to help diagnose and treat any underlying issue.