Medically referred to as xerostomia, dry mouth is a condition in which the mouth is unusually dry due to underperformance of the salivary glands, leading to reduced salivary flow or a change in the composition of the saliva.
An understanding of the causes behind the condition can help you get rid of dry mouth.
Besides dehydration being a common cause, dry mouth is also associated with anxiety, stress, depression, aging, smoking or drinking alcohol. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers are also prone to the condition, due to hormonal changes and dehydration.
The condition may also be associated with frequent snoring, nerve pain (neuropathy), antihistamines, muscle relaxants, decongestants, pain medications or medical conditions like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, nerve damage, diabetes and autoimmune diseases.
Common symptoms associated with the condition include a parched feeling in the mouth, a rough tongue, thick or stringy saliva, bad breath, mouth sores, excessive thirst and chapped or cracked lips. It can also be accompanied by loss of taste and difficulty chewing, speaking or swallowing.
Many people refer to this condition as cottonmouth and find it to be very irritating. However, if not treated properly, it can lead to tooth decay and other dental problems. Usually, the condition is not serious and just requires some looking-after to go away completely.
Here are six safe and easy home remedies you can use to get rid of dry mouth (xerostomia).
- Method 1: Stay Hydrated
- Method 2: Use Cayenne Pepper
- Method 3: Drink Lemon Water
- Method 4: Chew Sugar-Free Gum
- Method 5: Use Oil Pulling
- Method 6: Use a Humidifier
Method 1: Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is probably the easiest, quickest and the best way to get rid of dry mouth. Adequate hydration makes it easier for the salivary glands to produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist.
Single-Step Treatment: Drink adequate water
- Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water each day.
Also, you can consume water-based fruits and vegetables in their raw form or in the form of juices, smoothies or mocktails.
Method 2: Use Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper enhances the production of saliva in the mouth.
Single-Step Treatment: Rub cayenne pepper around your tongue
- Take some cayenne pepper on your wet fingertip.
- Rub it around your tongue. This may cause a burning sensation for a while, but it will subside and stimulate your salivary glands.
Also, you can add some cayenne pepper to your soups, salads and other dishes as a spice.
Method 3: Drink Lemon Water
Lemon stimulates the salivary glands to increase salivation and thus maintain moisture in the mouth.
Citrus in nature, the acids in lemon break down the dense accumulation of mucus that forces you to breathe through the mouth instead of your nose.
Single-Step Treatment: Throw lemons in water and drink it throughout the day
- Throw 3 or 4 lemon slices in a glass of water.
- Sip the acidic water throughout the day.
You can also place a slice of lemon in your mouth for a few minutes. Alternatively, you can take lemonade, fresh lemon juice, lemon oil, lemon peel or lemon-flavored candies to get rid of dry mouth.
Note: Do not add pulp to the juice. It may leave an irritating residue in the mouth.
Method 4: Chew Sugar-Free Gum
Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the production of saliva, thus helping you get rid of dry mouth.
In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) approves of chewing gum as an effective solution for treating dry mouth. As per the ADA, the physical act of chewing increases the flow of saliva in the mouth, helps prevent tooth decay and enhances the gum’s ability to remineralize teeth.
Chew a piece of sugar-free gum whenever your mouth is dry and irritated to stimulate your salivary glands and moisten your mouth.
Note: Make sure the chewing gum is sugar-free, lest the sugar in the gum may dry up your mouth and lead to tooth decay.
Method 5: Use Oil Pulling
Oil pulling is another effective solution for dry mouth, as it moistens the mouth while also clearing out harmful bacteria and germs. The technique effectively helps in locking moisture in the mouth by forming a protective coating on the tongue, throat, cheeks and gums, thus alleviating a dry and sticky mouth. Moreover, the technique is exceptionally good for maintaining oral hygiene.
An excellent moisturizer and loaded with a plethora of nutrients and minerals, coconut oil is one amazing ingredient for oil pulling. However, you can use olive oil, sesame oil or any other edible vegetable oil as well.
Single-Step Treatment: Swish coconut oil around in your mouth for 10 minutes
- Put 1 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish the oil around your mouth thoroughly for 10 minutes.
- Spit out the oil and rinse your mouth with lukewarm water.
- Brush your teeth normally.
Repeat once each morning on an empty stomach.
Note: Do not gargle or swallow the oil.
Method 6: Use a Humidifier
One of the most effective treatments for dry mouth is placing a humidifier in your bedroom and other rooms where you spend the most time. Sleeping in a room with a humidifier or vaporizer helps keep your mouth moist for a long time.
A humidifier treats the dry environment and adds moisture to the air in the room. Continuous breathing at night turns the environment in the room dry, which causes you to breathe through your mouth instead of the nose. As cool air passes through the mouth, it dries up the moisture in your mouth.
A humidifier in the bedroom or even a whole-house humidifier, especially during winters, can help treat this problem.
- Avoid smoking, chewing tobacco and drinking sugary drinks, caffeinated beverages or alcohol, as these hamper the production of saliva in the mouth.
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
- Gargle with warm salt water 3 or 4 times a day.
- Inhaling steam is a good way to moisturize and open up your nasal passages and airways.
- If possible, limit your use of diuretics, antihistamines and decongestants, as they can lead to dry mouth.
- Clean your tongue regularly, along with brushing and flossing your teeth.
- Munch on snacks like celery sticks that have high water content and stimulate the saliva glands to add moisture to your mouth.
Summary of How to Get Rid of Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Download this infographic.