6 Foods to Avoid When You Have Dry Mouth

foods to avoid when you have dry mouth - father and son cooking

6 Foods to Avoid When You Have Dry Mouth

If you suffer from dry mouth, you may already know that opting for soft foods and staying well hydrated is crucial for alleviating symptoms. But some types of foods can actually make dry mouth worse! It’s important to be mindful of your diet choices to decrease your risk of choking and keep your symptoms from getting worse. Here are six different types of foods you should avoid if you suffer from dry mouth.  

Six Types of Foods to Avoid When You Have Dry Mouth

1: Acidic Foods

Acid eats away at your tooth enamel, leaving your teeth vulnerable to decay. Saliva helps neutralize acids from the foods you eat to minimize the damage they cause. So acidic foods can be particularly harmful for people with dry mouth as they have limited saliva to neutralize acids and protect teeth from decay.

It’s best to avoid highly acidic foods like citrus fruits and condiments that contain vinegar. Besides damaging teeth, the acid can also worsen the mouth sores that dryness causes. Low-acid foods you can still enjoy in moderation include bananas, apples, oatmeal, and skinless chicken. 

2: Salty Foods

Salt absorbs water, so it can dry out your mouth further and cause even more irritation to your dry mouth. Salt can also make mouth sores more painful. Plus, a diet high in salt has been linked to high blood pressure, and many of the medications used to treat high blood pressure cause dry mouth as a side effect.

Look for low-sodium and reduced-sodium foods, and avoid adding more salt to your meals to help prevent your dry mouth symptoms from getting worse.  

3: Dry Foods

Chewing and swallowing food can become challenging without sufficient lubrication in the mouth. Dry foods are more likely to get caught in your throat when you suffer from dry mouth, which poses a choking risk. 

Dry breads, saltines, and chips can be dipped in sauces, broths, or gravies to soften the food and make it easier to eat. Just remember to choose crackers and chips that are low in sodium, and eat them in moderation to avoid consuming too much salt. 

4: Spicy Foods

When you have dry mouth, spicy foods can feel more painful because you don’t have enough saliva to create a protective lining in your mouth and wash away some of the spice. Like salty and acidic foods, spicy foods also irritate the mouth, which can worsen dry mouth symptoms. 

If you can’t resist eating spicy foods now and then, make sure to choose a milder flavor and to drink plenty of milk or water along with them to protect your mouth. 

5: Sugary Foods and Drinks

Even with regular saliva flow, sugar is extremely damaging to teeth. The bacteria in plaque feed off sugar and turn it into acids that wear down your tooth enamel. Sufficient saliva flow is necessary to break down sugar and flush sugary food particles out of your mouth. 

If you have dry mouth, bacteria can freely feed on sugar and wreak havoc on your teeth. It’s essential that you choose sugar-free options whenever possible, especially when it comes to things like gum and candy that stay in your mouth for long periods of time. 

Sugar-free candies, gum, and lozenges can actually stimulate saliva flow and give you some relief. But if you do eat or drink something sugary, drink water afterward to help wash away the sugar from your mouth. 

6: Hard-to-Chew Meats

Tough meats are more difficult to break down when you have dry mouth, and can pose a choking hazard. Make sure to select tender, juicy meats that are easier to eat. You can also slow-cook, stew, or tenderize tough meat, or use marinades to make it softer. 

Dental Care for Dry Mouth in Sun Lakes, Arizona

Dry mouth allows plaque to thrive, no matter what type of diet you eat. In order to keep your teeth healthy when you have dry mouth, you must visit the dentist regularly for professional cleanings to keep bacteria under control. Dr. Saba and Associates in Sun Lakes can help you prevent long term damage from dry mouth with gentle cleanings and other preventative services. Call us at 480-895-2111 today to schedule an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (1/12/2023). Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels