Everyone has to deal with a dry mouth from time to time. It occurs when you aren't making enough saliva. In some cases, dry mouth is a temporary issue – you might be stressed out or nervous. In others, however, it comes out of a long-term condition or by the medications a person is taking to control it.
Although determining the best way to treat it for the long term depends on finding the cause, there are some natural remedies for dry mouth that can alleviate your discomfort for the time being.
1. Drink More Water
Increasing the amount of water you drink is one way to cope with a dry mouth. The American Academy of Oral Medicine recommends taking sips of water on a regular basis throughout the day to increase moisture. Bring a bottle of water with you on-the-go, and keep a glass of it by your bed at night. Drinking water while eating can also be helpful, as it makes the process of chewing and swallowing easier and even helps otherwise dry food taste better. If you really prefer a flavored beverage, consider a sugar-free juice instead.
2. Humidify the Air
The feeling of dryness in your mouth might reflect the dryness in the surrounding air. Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air – particularly for those who sleep with their mouths open – can be one of the more effective natural remedies for dry mouth. You don't need to invest in a pricey home humidifier. A portable unit, placed in your bedroom, can do the trick.
3. Chew on Saliva-Inducing Snacks
Adding moisture can help relieve the discomfort of a dry mouth, but increasing the amount of saliva your mouth produces can treat the issue on site. Chewing sugar-free gum and sucking on sugar-free hard candies stimulates saliva production and moisturizes your mouth as your body works to break down these items. If you don't like chewing gum or aren't a fan of sugar-free candies, you might try crunching on certain veggies and fruits instead. For example, eating a few sticks of celery (which have high water content and are crunchy enough to stimulate saliva production) can help in the same way. Other vegetables and fruits that do this include carrots and apples.
4. Focus on Your Breathing
Think back to the last time you had a cold or nasal congestion. You couldn't inhale easily through your nose, so you breathed through your mouth instead – ending up with that familiar dry feeling. You might breathe mainly through your mouth, even when your nose is clear, without even knowing it: Snoring affects up to 40 percent of adult men and about a quarter of adult women, and according to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, it can leave you with a dry mouth in the morning.
Generally paying more attention to your breath can help you manage the discomfort of dry mouth. One option is a form of yoga breathing, which Yoga Journal explains as inhaling slowly through the nose, then exhaling slowly out of the nose. If your dry mouth is associated with snoring, you can try adjusting your sleeping position so that you sleep on your side rather than your back. Your dentist or doctor might also recommend a mouthguard to keep your nasal airway open.
5. Steer Clear of Caffeine and Alcohol
Some common ingredients can make dry mouth worse because they have a diuretic effect, meaning they help flush water out of your system. When dealing with a dry mouth, it's a good idea to avoid beverages that contain alcohol or caffeine, as either can make the feeling of dryness worse. Antihistamines and tobacco products can dry out your mouth in excess, as well.
Because a dry mouth can increase your risk for tooth decay, it's important to keep up a good oral care routine as you find ways to remoisturize. Using an anti-cavity toothpaste, such as Colgate Total® Clean Mint, will help protect your teeth from decay and help you avoid one of the more common complications of a dry mouth.
Learn more about dry mouth in the Colgate Oral Care resources.