Dry mouth is a fairly common problem among American dental patients, occurring in 20 percent of the population. The issue occurs when the salivary glands are unable to add moisture by producing the saliva you need, leaving your mouth feeling dry.
Saliva is responsible for helping in digestion, chewing, and swallowing our food, so without the required production, more than just our mouths will suffer. In addition to the discomfort lack of saliva production can contribute to tooth decay, and could be the result of some underlying medical condition that is going undiagnosed. It is important to discuss your experience with Dr. Stout at our East Charlotte Family Dental practice because excessive dry mouth can lead to serious dental implications.
Dr. Stout and staff will help you determine the cause for your dry mouth, and in-between visits, there are some ways you can treat dry mouth at home. In many cases, the remedies below will only alleviate the symptom rather than completely cure the problem, so use these in conjunction with Dr. Stout’s recommendations during your visit.
Many commonly prescribed medications, including antihistamines and decongestants, are the culprit for 90 percent of the cases of dry mouth. In fact, there are over 400 types of medications that have side effects that lead to a decrease in production in the salivary glands.
If you suspect that your medication could be causing your dry mouth, talk to your primary care doctor about changing to a different pill.
Limit Tobacco Use
Smoking or using other tobacco products causes dry mouth. Of course, the best way to relieve dry mouth symptoms in these cases is to quit smoking. Dry mouth is not the only reason to quit smoking or use of other tobacco products, prolonged use can lead to other health risks.
Drink More Water
Dehydration is a common cause of dry mouth. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix. Just drink more water! According to the Mayo Clinic, men should drink 3 liters of water and women 2 liters daily.
Even if dehydration is not the cause, sipping water throughout the day is good for your oral health. Doing so washes away leftover food and bacteria and keeps your mouth moist if something else is the cause for your dry mouth symptoms.
Chew Sugar-Free Gum or Suck on Sugar-Free Hard Candy
Chewing on sugarless gum or sucking on candy can help stimulate saliva production in the mouth. The relief is only short term, serving as a quick fix. Just be sure to look for sugar-free products, otherwise, the sugar in gum and candy can be harmful to your teeth with long term use.
Get a Humidifier
Your bedroom environment could be the cause of your dry mouth. If you find yourself waking up during the middle of the night with dry mouth, then consider getting a humidifier.
Eat Spicy or Sour Foods
Our body’s natural response to extreme flavors like spicy or sour foods is to produce saliva. Salivation acts to soothe the sensation. Like candy and gum, this is a bit of a quick fix, but will momentarily relieve the feeling of dry mouth while you enjoy some spicy foods.
Adjust Your Breathing Habits
It makes sense that breathing through your mouth will dry out your mouth. All the air you bring in causes dryness and robs the mouth of any moisture. If you tend to be a mouth breather, try to consciously think about breathing through your nose in order to change your breathing pattern and reduce the likelihood of dry mouth.
If you are sick or suffering from allergies, of course, this makes mouth breathing inevitably more difficult. If the symptoms have been going on longer than a week, it may be time to see your doctor.
Use an Alcohol-free Oral Rinse
Most mouthwashes contain alcohol, which can cause dry mouth. Look for ones specifically designed to treat dry mouth, particularly those which contain xylitol. Ideally, you’ll want a fluoride rinse as dry mouth can put you at risk for dental decay and gum disease.
Alternatively, you can try making your own at home, using a simple saltwater mix. Saltwater reduces the acidity in your mouth and can provide relief before you go to bed.
Dry Mouth Treatment At Our Charlotte Dentist Office
If you are not sure what is causing your dry mouth, call our friendly team at Stout Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stout to discuss what could be going on. You can reach us at (704) 253-8799.