Dry mouth happens to everyone on occasion, but a chronic bout of dry mouth causes a variety of conditions. Enjoying food, speaking and tooth decay can all be affected by a chronically dry mouth. The condition, medically known as xerostomia, may also indicate more serious health conditions such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS. Symptoms of xerostomia include a dry, sticky mouth and throat, burning sensation, trouble swallowing and cracked lips. You can treat dry mouth using a variety of natural remedies. Remember to always seek medical attention if the condition does not resolve itself.
Sip on liquids throughout the day to keep your palette moist. Attempt to drink eight glasses of 8 oz. of water daily. Carry a water bottle around with you wherever you go so hydration is always available. Avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee or cola. If caffeine is a must, only consume one cup a day. Don’t drink alcohol as this will only irritate the condition. Water and sugarless beverages are recommended. Always have a glass of water available while eating to make tasting food, chewing and swallowing easier. Rinse mouth with water ever two hours. Use a homemade salt water rinse—add 1 tsp. table salt to 2 cups warm water. Swish in mouth and spit out.
Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless candy to stimulate saliva glands. The National Institutes of Health recommends citrus-, mint- or cinnamon-flavored candies. Natural health care website Mother Nature suggests sucking on fruit pits such as cherry or peach to stimulate saliva naturally.
The Mayo Clinic suggests brushing teeth with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Gently brush teeth, as decay may be present. Do not use alcohol-based mouth rinses which will dry out the mouth. Use a fluoride rinse or apply fluoride gel prior to bedtime. Visit your dentist on a regular basis to prevent tooth decay, a common cause of dry mouth.
Add a humidifier to rooms you spend most of your time in, such as a bedroom. Keep the room’s humidity between 30 and 50 percent. Humidifiers are available at most pharmacies and health stores. The moist air will prevent you from waking up with a dry mouth. Breathe though your nose and not through your mouth.
Avoid spicy or hot foods. Citrus-based foods such as oranges and lemons may also cause further irritation, especially if there are oral sores present. Eat foods that are easy to swallow, such as yogurt, ice cream and soup. Do not eat mouth-drying foods such as peanut butter.
About this Author
Freelance writer Julie Hampton has worked as an artist, writer and event planner for more than eight years. She also served in the U.S. Army as a medic and nurse specializing in geriatrics. Hampton has a degree in journalism, and studied public relations at The University of West Florida.