If you suffer from a dry, cottony-feeling mouth, you are not alone. Many adults suffer from dry mouth, but with the proper care and attention, you can restore your mouth's moisture and kick dry mouth to the curb.
Dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands don't produce as much saliva as you normally need, which can leave you with an uncomfortably dry mouth. Aside from the discomfort, the condition also puts you at risk for dental conditions like gum disease. Without enough saliva, you have an increased risk of tooth decay, says the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Saliva also protects your teeth from the acids in foods and drinks, and without this protection, your enamel is vulnerable to erosion.
Dry mouth can develop for many reasons: medications, nutritional deficiencies, stress and more. Your dentist can help you pinpoint the cause of your dry mouth, and there are some easy dry mouth treatments to help ease your symptoms. Here are 10 home remedies to help you get rid of dry mouth.
1. Drink Water
Dry mouth can occur as a result of dehydration if you're not drinking enough fluids. Dehydration isn't always the reason behind dry mouth, keep in mind that sipping water can still help cleanse your teeth and tongue of harmful bacteria until your saliva flow returns to normal.
2. Suck on Sugar-Free Candies
Sucking on candies or mints can stimulate your salivary flow, temporarily relieving your dry mouth symptoms. It's important to choose sugar-free products because sugar contributes to the development of tooth decay – which is made even worse by dry mouth.
3. Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Not a fan of candies or mints? Chew sugar-free gum instead. As explained by the American Dental Association (ADA), chewing stimulates the flow of saliva. Just be sure to look for sugar-free gum that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which promises that the gum holds true to its label.
4. Opt for Decaf
Caffeine has a drying effect inside your mouth, so it can exacerbate your dry mouth symptoms. This doesn't mean you can't drink beverages like coffee, tea, or soda; you just need to choose the decaffeinated versions.
5. Breathe Through Your Nose
Mouth-breathing can dry out your mouth. So to avoid making your oral condition worse, practice breathing through your nose. If you're unable to breathe this way due to allergies or congestion, it may be time to see your doctor to resolve these issues to alleviate your dry mouth.
6. Use a Humidifier
Breathing in dry air can contribute to dry mouth over time — use a humidifier to add moisture to the room. Breathing in this treated air can help cut down on your symptoms, especially when you're sleeping.
7. Quit Smoking
Smoking can cause or exacerbate dry mouth. This is because one of the negative effects of cigarettes is slowing down your body's production of saliva. If you're having trouble quitting smoking — and many do — ask your dentist for advice on where to start.
8. Swish with Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
Many types of mouthwash contain alcohol, which can be slightly abrasive and can affect your mouth's moisture levels. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash so you can fight germs without creating a dry environment for them to thrive in.
9. Over-the-Counter Products
There are sprays, rinses and specially-formulated toothpaste that help keep your mouth moisturized. Sprays are convenient because they're portable and take only a second to provide relief. Most saliva substitute products can be used as often as needed or as your doctor recommends.
10. Get Your Vitamins
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Vitamin C helps tissue repair damage, including oral damage caused by excessive dryness. In addition, B vitamins help battle bacteria by improving your immune system. Talk to your doctor about taking a B-complex supplement with thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and B6.
When you have dry mouth, your teeth and gums and especially vulnerable. It's important to brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste due to the heightened risk of tooth decay. Brushing will help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities. Daily flossing is beneficial for everyone, but even more so when you have dry mouth. This condition puts you at risk of periodontal disease, which means you need to carefully clean between your teeth and around your gumline every day to make up for the saliva that usually assists in this process.
Dry mouth is an uncomfortable condition with many causes, but with the help of your dentist, you can learn how to manage it. Take extra good care of your teeth and talk with your dentist to find the best dry mouth home remedy to keep your mouth feeling comfortable.