How to Cure Dry Mouth

Three Methods:Treating Dry MouthAddressing the CausePreventing Related Problems

Dry mouth is a common temporary occurrence, but a chronic condition should be addressed urgently. Without saliva to protect your mouth, you are at much higher risk of cavities and gum disease. Dry mouth is not an ordinary effect of aging, so make an effort to find the underlying cause. Dry mouth may be a relatively mild side effect of medication, or a symptom of a serious medical condition.

Method 1
Treating Dry Mouth

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    Stay hydrated. Carry a bottle of water with you and sip it throughout the day to keep your mouth moistened. Sports drinks can work as well, but avoid anything that contains sugar or caffeine.[1]
    • If your mouth is driest after waking up, run a humidifier while you sleep. This keeps the air moist.
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    Chew or suck sugarless candy. Chewing and sucking both stimulate saliva production. Use sugarless gum or candy, since people with dry mouth are at high risk of developing cavities.
    • One clinical trial showed that green tea lozenges may be more effective than other hard lozenges.[2] It's not certain which component of green tea causes this effect, so you may wish to try several brands.
    • If you don't have either of these at home, try sucking on a piece of hard, uncooked pasta.
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    Avoid certain foods. There are several types of foods that can cause pain or mouth infections if you have dry mouth. Reduce these to a minimum, and only eat them with plenty of water:[3]
    • Acidic foods such as tomatoes or citrus juice. These are especially bad, as they promote tooth decay as well as causing pain.
    • Salty and spicy foods, which can cause pain.
    • Toast, crackers, and other dry foods should only be eaten when moistened with sauce or soup.
    • Sugar has a high risk of causing tooth decay. Minimize your intake, and don't brush teeth after eating sugary foods. The sugar carries on attacking your teeth for 40 mins-1 hour. If you brush your teeth immediately after eating any meal you are brushing away the enamel, leading to highly sensitive teeth. This means when you drink freezing cold water or eat freezing cold food or if you eat sugary sweets, your teeth will hurt. Only brush teeth 40 mins to 1 hour after your meals.
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    Try artificial saliva. There are many types of artificial saliva, including over-the-counter and prescription products. The extra moisture can make you more comfortable, but it will not treat the underlying problem.
    • Ask a doctor first if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.[4]
    • Some people are allergic to the ingredients in some artificial saliva. Call an emergency medical number if you feel shortness of breath, swelling, or itching.[5]
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    Ask for prescription medication. There are a variety of prescription-strength drugs that increase saliva production. If over the counter remedies don't work, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will know which medicine is best for you based on your medical condition and other drugs you are taking.

Method 2
Addressing the Cause

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    Check the side effects of your medication. Many medications can cause dry mouth, including drugs for pain management, depression, allergies, urinary incontinence, and high blood pressure.[6][7] If you are on the medication long-term, ask a doctor about alternatives or a lower dosage.
    • Your label may use the medical term for dry mouth: xerostomia.
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    Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine. Try to go without these substances for a day or two and see if your symptoms improve.[8] If you only have these occasionally, there is probably another cause for your symptoms. Still, lowering your intake may make your condition less severe.
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    Treat dehydration. If you think you might be dehydrated, start drinking plenty of water even when you are not thirsty. Drink sports drinks as well to ensure you have enough electrolytes, which are vital for healthy fluid levels.[9]
    • If your dehydration is caused by vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, severe burns, or excessive sweating, visit a doctor.
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    Prevent snoring. If your dry mouth is worse when you wake up, it could be caused by snoring. A humidifier may help by keeping the air moist at night, but consider talking to a doctor to find the cause of the snoring.
    • If you wake up feeling irritable or tired after a full night's rest, you may have sleep apnea. This is characterized by a long pause in your breathing, followed by a gasp or snore.
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    Visit a doctor if you can't find the cause. If none of the lifestyle changes above improve your condition, visit a doctor. Dry mouth can be a symptom of a serious medical condition.
    • If you have dry eyes as well, you may have Sjögren's Syndrome, a serious condition. Ask for medical tests to confirm this or find a different diagnosis.[10]
    • Let your doctor know if you are at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, anemia, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, or HIV/AIDS.[11]
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    Ask about gene therapy for serious conditions. Sjögren's Syndrome or radiation therapy for cancer in your head or neck can damage saliva glands. Scientists have managed to insert new genes into these glands, improving their function.[12] This treatment needs more study and may not be widely available. Ask your doctor whether there are any clinical trials you can join.

Method 3
Preventing Related Problems

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    Take care of your teeth. Too little saliva makes your mouth vulnerable to tooth decay.[13] Take the following steps to prevent more serious and painful oral problems:
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    Be gentle when brushing your gums. Without saliva, the soft tissues of your mouth are at risk for pain and damage. Keep them moist and healthy:
    • If brushing your teeth hurts, use a soft-bristled brush and replace toothpaste with 1 tsp (5 mL) salt stirred in 4 cups (1 L) water.[15]
    • Look for over-the-counter mouthwashes and moisturizing gels designed to treat dry mouth. Ask your doctor or dentist for recommendations.
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    Treat dry lips. Use moisturizing lip balm, preferably from a pot and not a waxy tube. Avoid balms that contain eucalyptus, menthol, camphor, phenol, or alcohol, as these may cause drying in the long run.[16]
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    Visit the dentist. A checkup every six months is recommended to keep your teeth clean and catch problems early. A dentist can also give you more advice on how to deal with your condition. Before any dental work begins, ask your dentist to make your experience more comfortable:[17]
    • Ask to have control over the suction device, so you only use it when you need it.
    • Ask your dentist to spray a little water on your tongue during each rinse.
    • Arrange a hand signal in advance, so you can let your dentist know when you need a hydration break.
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    Treat pain around your ears. Damaged saliva glands can cause pain if mucus blocks the area around them. Try massaging the area just below your earlobes, then over the top jawbone area. A warm pack may help as well.[18]
    • This could be a sign of a serious condition, such as Sjögren's Syndrome. Visit a doctor.


  • Moisten dry foods before eating them by adding butter or sauce.

Article Info

Categories: Teeth and Mouth