What is Dry Mouth?
Dry mouth, otherwise known as xerostomia or hyposalivation, is a condition where your mouth feels parched or dry. It occurs when the body struggles to produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist. Dry mouth is often a symptom of an underlying condition.
Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while, but if you find yours is dry frequently, there may be an issue. Continue reading to learn more about dry mouth and how to help treat it.
Dry Mouth Symptoms
Our mouths are sensitive to the choices we make throughout the day. Common symptoms of hyposalivation include:
• A raw, dry tongue
• Bad breath
• Frequent thirst
• A dry, sticky feeling that coats the mouth
• Mouth sores, split skin around the mouth
• Dry or cracked lips
• Difficulty speaking, smelling, tasting, or chewing
• Dry nasal passages and a hoarse voice
What Causes Dry Mouth?
Xerostomia has many causes. From reactions to new medication to overwhelming allergies, there are many different reasons why our mouths get dry. The most common reason for a dry mouth is dehydration, but other health conditions may play their part in preventing saliva production, too. Causes of dry mouth include:
• Breathing through your mouth
• Anxiety, stress, and fatigue
• Some autoimmune disorders
• Radiation therapy, especially near your mouth or throat
• Taking certain medications
• Diabetes, stroke, or Alzheimer’s disease
5 Dry Mouth Remedies
Hyposalivation may be uncomfortable to deal with, especially if it’s severe. Fortunately, there are simple remedies to help rehydrate a dry oral cavity. Saliva helps to prevent tooth decay and the lack of it accelerates activities and fungal infections.
Before you go to the dentist for help, try these at-home treatments to see if you may find wetness relief.
1. Drink Water and Drink It Often
One of the easiest ways to quickly bring moisture back into your mouth is to sip water. Water is beneficial to the body’s overall health and plays a critical role in restoring and maintaining oral homeostasis.
Drinking water is also one of the only ways to combat bad-smelling bacteria in your mouth that thrive in dry environments. Prevent morning breath from following you throughout the day — drink some water.
2. Change Your Medications
Medications are the culprit behind 90% of dry mouth cases. There are more than 400 different medicines that have been known to cause dry mouth.
The most common medications that decrease salivary function are:
If you are experiencing hyposalivation while taking one of these medications, consult your doctor to have them recommend a new treatment.
3. Switch to an Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
While mouthwash is effective in an oral hygiene routine, not all mouthwashes are made the same. Alcohol-based mouthwashes may have an adverse effect on people who suffer from dry mouth.
Switch to a mouthwash that contains xylitol to help promote healthy saliva production and combat the bacteria thriving in your dry oral environment.
4. Use a Humidifier
Humidifying your home, especially your bedroom before you sleep at night, is a great way to introduce more moisture into your life. If you or someone in your family sleeps with their mouth open, this will help provide a slightly more humid atmosphere.
When your mouth is dry, even the little things make a big difference. A humidifier in your home is a passive way to improve your oral hygiene and overall health.
5. Natural Herbs for Dry Mouth
Herbs help with all sorts of injuries and ailments like broken bones or oral hygiene. For anyone experiencing dry mouth, try these herbs that have saliva-producing qualities:
• Aloe Vera
• Sweet pepper
• Marshmallow root
There are many at-home remedies that may alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth, but they do just that — alleviate the symptoms. If you really want to kick xerostomia to the curb, you’ll need to adapt your lifestyle choices.
Avoid these Dry Mouth Habits
While moderation is key, there are some activities to ignore altogether if you want to heal your mouth quickly.
Try to limit these habits to immediately improve your oral hygiene:
• Avoid sugar
• Reduce alcohol consumption
• Quit smoking
• Stop drinking caffeine
Healthy habits make it easier for you to avoid dry mouth. If you’ve tried all of our suggestions and you’re still concerned with your dry mouth, maybe it’s time to see a dentist to have it checked out.
When Should You Seek Medical Help for Your Dry Mouth?
The good news for those suffering from a dry mouth is that it is rarely an issue on its own. Try the remedies listed above to relieve any manageable dry mouth concerns.
If dry mouth persists or you notice other symptoms, consult your dentist. They’ll help determine whether an oral care routine needs to be put in place or if there’s a larger issue.
While dry mouth is common, it can lead to other medical concerns when left untreated. Following a good oral hygiene routine will keep your mouth protected from normal dry mouth causes like dehydration. If you’ve tried our suggestions and your mouth remains dry, consult your dentist for a check-up.