Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a common condition that can cause discomfort and difficulty speaking and eating. It can also lead to bad breath, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, and tooth decay. Various factors, such as lifestyle habits, medication use, and medication conditions, cause this condition. It’s also important to note that this condition is a common side effect of chemoradiation or radiation. According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, more than 80% of people with cancer often experience dry mouth after radiation to the head and neck. Patients can often experience dry mouth while they’re sleeping.
Fortunately, there are several treatments available to help relieve dry mouth. It depends on the underlying cause of the dry mouth in order to test the most effective treatment. You can say goodbye to your dry mouth symptoms and enjoy a healthy mouth again as we discuss the use of the following treatments for your dry mouth:
Chew sugar-free gum
You can also take sugar-free hard candies to stimulate your saliva’s flow. Xylitol, often found in sugar-free candies or sugar-free gum, may cause cramps and diarrhea for some people if consumed in massive amounts. According to the Oral Health Foundation, the symptoms of bad breath and dry mouth can be reduced when you chew sugar-free gum because it allows your mouth to make more saliva.
The Oral Health Foundation also recommends chewing sugar-free gum after eating. The saliva flow increases when you’re chewing it up for 20 minutes. This speeds up the time for saliva to eradicate the acid. Within half an hour of cleaning your teeth, remember that the plaque starts to form again.
Use a humidifier
Using a humidifier in your sleeping area at night once or twice a day can be beneficial to reduce the risks of dry mouth. According to your preference, you can use a cool or warm mist since they’re both effective. It’s important to note that there are different kinds of humidifiers. Some humidifiers directly stream in the air near you; some are small and personal models with face masks.
Using a humidifier to add moisture to the room can help since it lets you avoid breathing dry air, which can contribute to a dry mouth over time. Taking decaffeinated versions off your chart is crucial, but there’s nothing wrong with drinking coffee or tea.
Use artificial saliva
This saliva substitute temporarily lubricates and moistens the mouth to create a protective film. The protective film can help reduce the risk of mechanical trauma in which chronic dry mouth can result. This is used to provide relief of symptoms like dry mouth or a feeling of stickiness and dryness in the mouth.
Your doctor may recommend artificial saliva, medical treatments such as chemotherapy, pain medications, and other medications. This is available in the form of gels, tablets, and sprays and can help provide only temporary relief from the symptoms of dry mouth.
Eat moist foods
When you’re experiencing dry mouth, choosing foods that are easier to chew and swallow is always best. You can select soft foods such as ice cream, scrambled eggs, and pudding. It’s important that you cut your food into smaller pieces to make it easier to chew and swallow. You can still eat meat, as long as it’s soft or cut into smaller pieces.
It’s always an excellent option to start eating liquid foods like stews and soups. Instead of breads and crackers, try mashed potatoes and rice instead. Instead of raw foods, choose applesauce and canned fruits. Lastly, season your food with citrus or herbs instead of salt or hot spices.
Drinking plenty of water is essential to relieve dryness and keep your mouth moist. Bacteria and debris can be flushed away when you sip water all throughout the day, as they can cause bad breath. The salivary glands may not produce enough saliva when the body is dehydrated, which leads to a dry mouth.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that drinking water alone may not be the best option to treat severe cases of dry mouth. Which is why it’s necessary to acquire other treatments. Consult a healthcare provider for further treatment and evaluation if dry mouth persists despite staying hydrated.
Practice good oral hygiene
You can start practicing good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing once daily. Use toothpaste or other fluoride-containing products regularly. But it’s better to ask your dentist about the best products for dry mouth.
You can also use lanolin, Vaseline, or other types of greasy balm to treat your dry lips. Adhesive dental products may be recommended by your dentist, so you can ask for information if you wear dentures. Take full or partial dentures while you sleep.
Avoid tobacco products
Keeping your gums and teeth healthy is crucial to reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth. By brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing at night, you can already help avoid common smoking hazards. It’s better to stop smoking as soon as possible besides keeping your smile healthy.
You can reduce the temptation of smoking by making a plan to stop smoking and maintain a healthy diet. You must have a strong support system that will help you quit smoking and exercise regularly.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine is a mild diuretic, aside from being the vital ingredient in soft drinks, coffee, and tea. This promotes the loss of fluids in your body, which is what you don’t need, especially if you have a dry mouth. The chances of you experiencing a dry mouth are higher than a tea-tootler if you take a lot of tea and coffee. So it’s always good to prevent too much caffeine intake to treat this condition.
Similarly, it’s a big NO to use alcoholic mouthwashes. Alcohol-based mouthwashes must be avoided when you have a dry mouth condition because it can dry up your oral cavity. On the other hand, look carefully at the labels of so-called “energy” drinks and sodas; you may be surprised by the amount of caffeine they intake.
Surprisingly, ginger is a natural remedy that can be used for dry mouth and other various health conditions. Gingerols and shogaols, as certain compounds of ginger, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help improve saliva production and reduce inflammation.
A clinical trial on 20 people in 2017 noted that ginger spray could be an alternative to treating dry mouth aside from other treatments. Ginger can be consumed in different forms, such as ginger ale, ginger root, and ginger tea. But it’s always best to consult your doctor before using ginger or any natural remedy for dry mouth.
Visit a dentist regularly
If you frequently experience dry mouth, visiting your dentist regularly is crucial. Your dentist can monitor the health and condition of your gums, mouth, and teeth. You may be offered to have a fluoride treatment or use dental sealants to protect your teeth if your dry mouth causes a chronic condition.
To ensure that your dentures, teeth, and gums stay healthy, regularly visit your dentist every 6 months. It’s essential to have regular dental check-ups every 6 months, even if you have dentures.