Most people would rather not talk about saliva. Too much saliva can be unsightly and embarrassing; too little can cause dry mouth syndrome. And without an active supply of saliva to help defend your mouth from bacteria, fungi and viruses, you can become especially vulnerable to cavities and gum disease.
The good news is there are many dry mouth home remedies that can provide you with some much-needed relief. However, if you suspect that you have dry mouth syndrome but haven't been examined by a dentist or physician, it's important to talk to them first -- they're the experts and can help you get the dental treatment you need to feel happier and healthier again!
Aging plays a major role in dry mouth syndrome. Over time, the salivary glands secrete less saliva and the brain becomes less responsive to thirst cues, leaving your mouth and body feeling dehydrated. Although the following dry mouth remedies aren't exactly a "fountain of youth," they can certainly help counteract the effects of dehydration.
Drink plenty of water. The Institute of Medicine recommends drinking three liters of water per day for men and two liters for women. Keep in mind that the amount of water you need depends on how much exercise you get, the climate of your environment, and whether you have health conditions such as heart, liver or kidney disease, which can limit your intake of water.
Eat water-rich foods. Ideally, the foods you eat should provide about 20 percent of your fluid intake. Eat foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, peaches, nectarines and even popsicles, to ensure that you're getting the fluids you need.
Limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol are dehydrating and can exacerbate dry mouth. Instead of reaching for soda, coffee or tea throughout the day, drink water or juice. When drinking alcohol, be sure to have at least one glass of water after every cocktail, beer or glass of wine.
Use a humidifier. Living in a hot, dry climate can leave you feeling more dehydrated than if you lived in a temperate environment. Use a humidifier while you sleep to help boost moisture in your mouth and on your skin.
Pleasing Your Palate
Your eating habits can either help or harm dry mouth syndrome. But don't worry -- you don't have to sacrifice taste for dry mouth relief. Some simple changes to your diet can help bring back the taste of sweet and savory to your dry mouth.
Drink papaya juice. Papain, an enzyme found in papayas, can help thin the thick oral secretions associated with dry mouth. Drinking 100% papaya juice is an easy way to get your daily dose of papain.
Add broth or sauce to your meals. Dry mouth can inhibit your ability to eat and swallow easily. Get moisture back into your mouth by adding milk, sauce, broth or gravy to your meals.
Avoid dry, salty foods. Snacking on crackers, toast and pastries can exacerbate dry mouth syndrome -- nosh on healthy snacks such as fruit or smoothies instead.
Load up on lemonade. Lemonade is the perfect drink to quench your thirst on a hot, summer day. And it's also great for stimulating saliva activity and relieving dry mouth.
More Dry Mouth Remedies
If you suffer from a chronic illness such as Parkinson's disease or diabetes, it may be impossible to get rid of dry mouth syndrome completely. The same is true if you are taking medications for high blood pressure or depression. But all is not lost -- your doctor may be able to make adjustments to your medication dosage, which can help alleviate some of your dry mouth symptoms.
You can also get additional dry mouth relief if you:
- Use mouthwashes that are alcohol-free.
- Avoid chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes.
- Gargle with club soda or water and salt 3-4 times a day.
- Chew or suck on sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production.
These dry mouth home remedies are safe for everyone, but remember that your dentist and physician are the experts, so be sure to get professional advice about your specific symptoms.
If you need a great dentist, we can help you find one!