How to Treat Dry Mouth

how to treat dry mouth - woman drinking water

How to Treat Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is an uncomfortable condition that affects many adults. Aging adults in particular are more susceptible to dry mouth, due to the number of medical conditions and prescription medications that are associated with the condition. 

Whether you’re wondering how to treat dry mouth so you can help a loved one find relief, or if you have symptoms yourself, don’t worry. There are many ways to remedy dry mouth at home and with a little help from your doctor or dentist. 

At Dr. Saba and Associates, our focus is mature adults, and we know how to successfully treat dry mouth. We put together this guide to dry mouth treatments for aging adults as well as younger adults to help you find relief. 

Causes of Dry Mouth

The best way to find long-term relief from dry mouth is to identify and treat its causes. Sometimes the root of the problem is a side effect from one of your medications. Or, it could be due to a bad habit like smoking or drinking too much caffeine.

Common causes of dry mouth include: 

  • Medical conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s
  • Chemotherapy radiation
  • Certain medications
  • Mouth breathing
  • Dehydration
  • Tobacco use
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Too much caffeine

How to Treat Dry Mouth

1: Review Your Medications

Many types of medications list dry mouth as a side effect. In fact, over 500 medications are known to cause dry mouth, including both prescription and over-the-counter drugs. If you suspect that your medications are drying out your mouth, ask your doctor if you can switch to a different type. 

2: Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to dry mouth as well as other health problems. If you think dehydration is causing your dry mouth, try setting an alarm or asking a family member or caretaker to remind you to drink water throughout the day. 

Even if dehydration isn’t causing your case of dry mouth, it’s still important to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps reduce bacteria, acid, and food particles in your mouth, keeping your mouth clean and lowering your risk of cavities and gingivitis. 

3: Suck on Sugar-Free Candy or Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Sucking on mints or chewing on gum will help stimulate your saliva flow and offer some relief from dry mouth. However, it’s crucial to your dental health that you always choose sugar-free products. 

Sugar increases your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, especially when it stays in your mouth for extended periods of time, like hard candies and gum. Look for sugar-free gum with the ADA seal of acceptance so you can be confident that it won’t damage your teeth. 

4: Get a Humidifier

Breathing moist air can help minimize dry mouth symptoms, especially when you’re sleeping. If you tend to wake up with a dry mouth, try running a humidifier at night. Getting a humidifier can especially help if you breathe through your mouth while you sleep, as mouth breathing is another common cause of dry mouth. 

5: Reduce or Eliminate Caffeine

Caffeine can cause or worsen dry mouth symptoms, especially bad breath. It’s best to avoid caffeinated beverages if you can, or at least reduce your intake. 

6: Use Alcohol-Free Mouthwash

The alcohol in many mouthwash products can also cause dry mouth symptoms or make them worse. It can even be abrasive to your tooth enamel, so make sure to select an alcohol-free mouthwash to best protect your teeth. It’s also a good idea to use a mouth rinse that contains fluoride, which remineralizes and strengthens tooth enamel. 

7: Quit Smoking and Drinking

Smoking cigarettes not only puts your health at risk, it also reduces saliva production. Quitting smoking will help protect you from heart disease, oral cancer, dry mouth, and other health complications. Frequently drinking alcohol can also lead to dry mouth. Drink in moderation or quit drinking altogether to treat your symptoms. 

8: Consider Saliva Substitute Products

There are many saliva substitute products available over the counter that combat dry mouth. These sprays and toothpastes are specially formulated to keep your mouth moisturized. However, it’s important to consult your doctor or dentist before using these products to make sure they’re the right treatment option for you.

Preventative Dental Care in Sun Lakes

If you don’t treat dryness, your mouth becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, increasing your risk of cavities and tooth loss. If you are experiencing dry mouth symptoms, it is essential that you seek regular preventative dental care. 

Drs. Saba and Romanin at Sun Lakes Dentistry can help you protect your smile with professional cleanings and other preventative services while you treat your dry mouth symptoms. Call 480-895-2111 today to schedule an appointment. 

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (8/22/2022). Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels (cropped)