Dry mouth (xerostomia) may make it hard for you to eat, talk,
swallow, wear dentures, or taste food. In most cases, home treatment will
relieve symptoms of a dry mouth. An ongoing dry mouth can lead to mouth
infections, gum disease, and dental cavities.
Some causes of dry mouth include
dehydration, breathing through your mouth, stress or
anxiety, smoking, and problems with how the
salivary glands work, so you make less saliva. Low saliva production is common as you age. It also is common with many health conditions, such as Sjögren's syndrome, or with treatments, such as cancer treatments.
A dry mouth can also be caused by a medicine, such as a diuretic,
an antihistamine, or a decongestant. If you suspect that a medicine is the cause of
your dry mouth, call the doctor who prescribed the medicine to
determine whether you should stop taking it or take a different one. An
appointment may not be necessary. If you are taking a nonprescription
medicine, stop taking it. Call your doctor if you feel that you need
to continue the medicine.
Home treatment may help relieve symptoms of a dry mouth.
Take frequent sips of liquid throughout the day.
Water is best.
Use ice chips and sugar-free items such as gum, hard
candy and lollipops, frozen fruit juices, and soft drinks. They will help keep
your mouth moist without promoting tooth decay.
Eat and drink tart
foods and liquids, such as lemonade, sugar-free sour candies, and dill pickles,
to help stimulate the flow of saliva.
Add extra liquid to foods to
make them easier to chew and swallow. Drink water with meals.
Use nonprescription saliva substitutes that you can buy
at a pharmacy.
A dry mouth is common and can often be prevented. Try some
of the following prevention measures:
2 qt (2 L) of water a day. This
is the same as eight
8 fl oz (250 mL) glasses of
Use a humidifier
in your home, especially in the bedroom.
Breathe through your nose
rather than through your mouth.
Do not take medicines that cause a dry mouth. These include diuretics,
antihistamines, and decongestants. Your doctor can help you find a different medicine.
caffeinated beverages, tobacco, and alcohol, all of which increase dryness in
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.