Dry mouth or xerostomia occurs when your salivary glands aren’t producing enough saliva, leaving your mouth feel dry and uncomfortable. It can be caused by many different factors—medications, other health issues, stress, nutritional deficiencies, etc. Changing a few of your oral health care habits and eating habits may be able to solve the problem for you.
- Chew gum—chewing will help you produce salvia. For better dental health, be sure that it’s sugar-free gum.
- Avoid mouthwash with alcohol—many types of mouthwash contain high levels of alcohol, which will dry out your mouth. Look for a mouthwash with no alcohol, and preferably with fluoride.
- Drink more water—sipping water regularly throughout the day will help to keep your mouth damp. Dehydration could be causing your dry mouth. According to the Mayo Clinic, men should be drinking about 3 liters of water a day and women should be drinking about 2.2 liters of water a day. Water can also to cleanse your mouth, increase your saliva flow, and wash out harmful bacteria.
- Limit caffeine intake—caffeine can dry out your mouth. You make find that second cup of coffee each day is drying out your mouth.
- Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes—if you are having trouble producing salvia, look for products to help. Some of these may include Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Spray or Mouth Kole.
- Don’t take antihistamines and decongestants—certain over-the-counter medications can worsen dry mouth.
- Quit smoking—smoking can cause dry mouth and slow down your body’s production of saliva.
- Use a humidifier—many people sleep with their mouths open and experience dry mouth at night. If you must sleep with your mouth open, try using a humidifier. It could make a big difference for your mouth.
- Suck on a mint or sugar-free candy—sucking will also produce salvia. If your mouth is feeling dry, pop in a mint. Plus, you’ll have fresher breath!
- Breathe through your nose—this may seem like a no brainer, but if you aren’t breathing through your mouth, it won’t be as dry. You can also produce more salvia when your mouth is closed.
- Incorporate fluoride into your routine—fluoride is extremely beneficial to your teeth in many ways. Be sure that you are brushing with fluoride toothpaste. You can also use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel for extra fluoride protection.
- Practice good oral hygiene—having overall good oral health will help you prevent dry mouth. Brush your teeth twice daily, floss at least once a day, and visit your dentist for cleanings semi-annually.
If your symptoms continue or worsen, see a dentist. There are medications that can help, or it’s possible your dry mouth is being caused by another underlying condition. For long-term relief from dry mouth, see your dentist.