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4 Ways to Quench a Dry Mouth

Tania K. Cowling

Does your mouth feel like the Sahara Desert? If so, there are many ways to combat dry mouth, also known as xerostomia. Feeling dryness in your mouth is uncomfortable, but there are ways you can alleviate it. However, if the condition is consistent for several weeks, even after trying these home remedies, see a physician or dentist for consultation and care.

Causes of Xerostomia

Basically, xerostomia occurs from a lack of saliva, which can be attributed to the following:

  • Medical Side Effects: Xerostomia is a side effect of diseases, such as diabetes, leukemia, Sjogren's disease, pernicious anemia, Hodgkin's disease and AIDS. Cancer patients may lose the ability to produce saliva because radiation destroys salivary glands. Certain medications also cause your mouth to feel dry. Read the label of all medications carefully.
  • Dehydration: Are you drinking enough water? If you drink a lot of coffee and find yourself with a dry mouth, you may be experiencing a diuretic effect. Or, if you're exercising for a long time, don't forget to take hydration breaks.
  • Vitamin Deficiencies: Some people's dry mouth stems from vitamin deficiencies. Even though saliva production is normal, a vitamin deficiency can affect the lining of the mouth, which causes a sense of dryness.

Common Symptoms

Do you feel any of these symptoms?

  • A cotton feeling that makes talking, eating and swallowing difficult.
  • Burning in your mouth and tongue or sores.
  • Cracking near the corners of your lips.
  • Foul taste or breath that's hard to get rid of.

Home Remedies to Quench Dryness

If you have xerostomia, it can become a dental nightmare since the saliva is not diluting the bacterial acid that decays teeth and irritates gums. But these home remedies may help you feel better and protect your teeth.

  • Drink Water!: Keep a water bottle handy and take sips frequently. It's also important to stay away from acidic beverages, such as orange juice, soda and any drink that contains citric or phosphoric acid. Acid and dry mouth together is a breeding ground for dental cavities.
  • Chew Some Gum: Chewing gum helps saliva flow. The only downfall is that sugar in gum may cause tooth decay, so use sugarless varieties, especially the ones sweetened with sorbitol.
  • Use a Rinse: Since less saliva is a precursor to dental cavities, it's a good idea to swish with a fluoride rinse at bedtime. This helps to remineralize teeth and protect you from cavities and gum disease.
  • Over-the-Counter Products: There are sprays, rinses and specially formulated toothpaste that help keep the oral cavity moisturized.
  • Vitamins: Vitamin C helps oral tissues repair damage caused by excessive dryness. B vitamins help battle the bugs of bacteria by improving your immune system, so you may want to consider taking a B-complex supplement with thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and B6.
  • Use a Humidifier: At night, keep the air in your bedroom moist with the help of a humidifier.

Learn more about dry mouth in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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