Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a condition characterized by an inadequate amount of saliva. It can make the inside of your mouth feel sticky and dry, which can lead to frequent thirst. Additionally, the lack of saliva can also make your lips crack, the corners of your mouth split, and your tongue raw. This often makes it difficult to chew, taste, and swallow.
Not only that, but saliva is an integral part of your body’s ability to maintain your oral health. Saliva plays many important functions such as neutralizing acids, washing away food particles, moistening food for easier chewing, and allowing your tongue to taste. These various functions of saliva also help to reduce the risk of tooth decay and those with dry mouth are at an elevated risk.
For these reasons, your dentist recommends several methods to stimulate saliva production. Here are some ways to fix dry mouth:
Avoid More Dry Mouth
When you have dry mouth, it is highly important to preserve what little saliva you do produce. As such, you should avoid things that can make your mouth even drier. These include over the counter decongestants or antihistamines, alcohol, caffeine, tobacco, and breathing with your mouth open.
If you are already prone to dry mouth, being dehydrated will only make matters worse. Staying properly hydrated by drinking enough water is highly important to reduce symptoms and keep your mouth as moisturized as possible.
Add Moisture to Your Environment
Although this is an indirect way to combat dry mouth, adding moisture to your environment can help your mouth feel more moist. Try placing a humidifier or vaporizer by your bed to use when sleeping. The additional moisture helps to decrease severe dry mouth. You can also use this technique in various rooms around the house.
Use Mouth Rinse
There are a variety of over the counter mouth rinses specially designed for individuals with dry mouth. Some of these are intended to be used as a rinse, while others can be used as artificial saliva. Some also offer additional protection against tooth decay. You can speak with your dentist to determine which type is best for your dental needs.
Suck on Sugar-Free Candies
Sucking on sugar-free candies is a natural way to produce extra saliva. If you are not a fan, you can also chew on sugarless gum for the same effect. Candies and gum that contain xylitol have been found to be especially effective in saliva production.
Check Your Medications
If all else fails, you may consider speaking with your doctor about the medications you are on. In some cases, you may be able to switch to a different medication that does not cause dry mouth. In other cases, your doctor may be able to prescribe additional medications to stimulate your salivary glands.
Overall, dry mouth is a condition that decreases the production of saliva. Since this decrease in saliva can pose a threat to your oral health, your dentist suggests embracing strategies to combat dry mouth. The aforementioned strategies are different ways you can alleviate your dry mouth. However, discussing your concerns with your local dentist can help you decide which strategies would best suit your dental needs and lifestyle.
Dr. Chris Vinson and Dr. Kristie Vinson attended the College of Dentistry at The University of Oklahoma. Dr. Chris Vinson has earned a fellowship from the Misch International Implant Institute and a fellowship in International Congress of Oral Implantology. He is also certified to administer Oral and IV sedation to his patients through The Montefiore College of Medicine in New York and is Teeth-Express and Invisalign certified. Dr. Kristie Vinson is trained in sedation dentistry, Botox, and dermal fillers. She received a Fellowship from the Misch International Implant Institute and the Fellowship in International Congress of Oral Implantology. She is also Teeth-Express and Invisalign Certified.