Treatment for Dry Mouth
Increasing the Flow of Saliva With Dry Mouth
If you have dry mouth, your dentist or doctor may recommend the use of artificial saliva products. These products are available over-the-counter in a rinse or spray. Toothpastes, mouthwashes, and moisturizing gels that are specially formulated for dry mouth are also available; ask your dentist or doctor about these products.
Your health care provider may also prescribe Salagen, a drug that increases the natural production of saliva.
Another prescription drug, Evoxac, is FDA-approved for the treatment of dry mouth in people with Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease associated with dry eyes, dry mouth, dry skin, and muscle pain.
Finally, there are promising new treatments under investigation. Scientists are working on ways to repair salivary glands that have been damaged and are developing an artificial salivary gland that can be implanted into the body.
What Can I Do to Manage Dry Mouth?
To minimize dry mouth:
- Drink water frequently to keep your mouth moist and loosen mucus. Carry water with you to sip throughout the day and keep water by your bed at night.
- Suck on sugar-free hard candies, ice chips, or sugar-free popsicles. But never chew ice since it can be extremely damaging to your teeth. Chew sugarless gum (gums containing xylitol). These sucking and chewing actions help stimulate saliva flow. But also keep in mind that even though they don't have sugar, candies, popsicles and gum may soften your teeth's enamel. To reduce the risk of cavities and tooth wear, use them only in moderation.
- Moisten foods with broths, soups, sauces, gravy, creams, and butter or margarine. Eat soft, moist foods that are cool or at room temperature.
- Avoid commercial mouth rinses or mouthwashes that contain alcohol or peroxide. These ingredients will further dry out your mouth.
- Avoid salty foods, dry foods (for example, crackers, toast, cookies, dry breads, dry meats/poultry/fish, dried fruit, bananas) and foods and beverages with high sugar content.
- Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine (for example, coffees, teas, some colas, chocolate-containing drinks). Alcohol increases water loss by triggering frequent urination. Alcohol, as well as caffeine, also dries out the mouth. Also avoid acidic beverages, such as any fruit juices (orange, apple, grape, grapefruit) and tomato juice.