How to Treat a Dry Throat

a man is drinking water to ease dry throat

Is there anything more annoying than a dry, tickly throat? Dehydration, allergies, the common cold and sleeping with your mouth open can all cause throat dryness and discomfort. Learn how to get rid of a dry throat by considering all the following causes, and you'll be on your way to finding a solution.


Saliva is made up mostly of water, so it makes sense that your saliva may become thick and sticky when you're dehydrated. If your body is running low on water, your saliva might not be able to moisten your mouth or throat well.

The average person should drink four to six cups of water per day. If you drink less than that, consider increasing your intake. However, if you suffer from diseases that affect your kidneys, liver, heart or thyroid, or if you're taking medications that make you retain water, speak to your doctor before significantly changing your water consumption.


Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, and allergic reactions to dust, mould or animal dander may cause the feeling of a dry throat. When your nose traps particles that your body is sensitive to, mucus production increases and your nasal passages become inflamed. This can lead to a dry, itchy or sore throat, as well as a runny or congested nose.

Smoke and other irritants in the air can have the same effect, even if you don't have an allergy. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation advises rhinitis sufferers to use over-the-counter or prescription antihistamines or decongestants to help lessen the allergy symptoms and get rid of a dry throat.

The Common Cold

Could your dry throat be a sign that you have a cold coming? A tickly, scratchy throat is one of the many symptoms of the common cold. As you probably know, other symptoms include a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, fever, watery eyes and mild cough.

Taking over-the-counter cold medications may lessen your symptoms. Gargling warm salt water, getting extra rest and drinking plenty of water may also help treat a cold. If you experience flu symptoms, such as a high fever, severe cough or fatigue that lasts several weeks, see your doctor.

Waking Up With a Dry Throat

If your throat is dry in the morning but the effect disappears during the day, perhaps you're breathing through your mouth while you sleep. A stuffy nose or sleeping on your back may make it hard to breathe easily through your nose at night, so you might naturally use your mouth to breathe instead. Drinking a glass of water in the morning might help your throat feel better.

A dry throat upon waking is also a symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which individuals stop breathing or breathe very shallowly throughout the night. Sleep apnea sufferers also often snore loudly, choke or gasp in their sleep, and feel tired during the day as their sleep is disrupted. Many suffer from sleep apnea. See a doctor if you think you may have the condition, as they will be able to recommend ways to help you sleep better.

Dry Mouth and Dry Throat

When your salivary glands don't produce enough saliva, both your mouth and throat may feel dry. This dryness increases your risk of dental cavities, because saliva washes away food debris and protects your teeth from food and drink acids. If you suffer from occasional dry mouth and throat, you can try home remedies, such as sipping water, chewing sugar-free gum, sucking on sugar-free lozenges and humidifying your home.

To figure out how to get rid of a dry throat, first you must identify what's causing the problem. Many times, the solution could be as simple as drinking more water. However, your dry throat could be due to a medical condition, so see a physician if you have other concerning symptoms, and visit your dentist regularly to assess your dental health.



This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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