Natural Remedies for Dry Mouth That Will Make You Feel So Much Better
Difficulty swallowing, cracked lips, bad breath, tasteless food—they are all symptoms of dry mouth. While there are some serious causes of dry mouth, the condition is often harmless. But that doesn’t make it less annoying. Here are some tips for how to relieve dry mouth at home.
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Lay off the cigarettes
Smoking doesn’t cause dry mouth, but it can make it worse. That’s because "smoking reduces the production of saliva," says Matthew Messina, DDS, interim director of the Dental Oncology Clinic at The Ohio State University School of Dentistry in Columbus, OH, and spokesperson for the American Dental Association (ADA). What to do? Give up cigarettes! Until then, counter the effects of dry mouth by adding black currants to your diet. A study published in 2015 in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that eating black currants reduced smoking-associated risk on oral health by improving the flow of saliva. Whip up a batch of black currant muffins or make a black currant smoothie. Meanwhile, here are 23 ways to quit smoking for good.
Chew on it
For a simple--and tasty!--dry mouth treatment, try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candies, suggests Dr. Messina. Both can help stimulate the flow of saliva, especially citrus, cinnamon, or mint-flavors. Careful, though: For some people, over-consumption of sugar-free products can cause rather, er, uncomfortable gastrointestinal side effects. These daily habits can help reduce bloating.
See you later, latte
Caffeinated drinks, like tea, coffee and soda, can cause your mouth to feel dry. Alcohol also dehydrates, so laying off cocktails may lead to some improvement in dry mouth symptoms. Also avoid sugary or acidic drinks, such as most fruit juices and tomato juice. In addition to being dehydrating, the acid can also be painful for dry mouth sufferers. Water, milk, or decaffeinated sugar-free drinks are best. These are signs you might be drinking too much coffee.
Keep it steamy
One of the more simple home remedies for dry mouth at night is to put a humidifier in your bedroom. The increased moisture in the room may help alleviate the dryness and make you feel better in the morning. Be sure to clean the humidifier and replace the water regularly to avoid the growth of mold.
"If you experience dry mouth, you’re not producing enough saliva," says Dr. Messina. "Drinking water throughout the day can help keep your mouth moist." Carry a bottle with you as you go about your day and leave it by your bed at night. Drinking water during meals is especially helpful, as it not only will keep you hydrated but it will also making chewing and swallowing easier. Added bonus: It will make the food you’re eating taste better. You can even add some water, broth or extra liquids (butter counts!) directly to foods to make them easier to chew and swallow. Here are tricks to drink more water all day long.
If you’re looking for a way to prevent dry mouth while sleeping, add mouthwash to your pre-bedtime routine. But be sure to look for the mouthwashes that are specially designed for dry mouth. These will contain xylitol, a sweet-tasting alcohol derived from some plant tissues. Examples of xylitol-containing mouthwashes include ACT Total Care Dry Mouth Rinse and Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse, the first product to earn the ADA Seal of Acceptance for dry mouth. Don’t reach for ones with alcohol or peroxide though, as they can be drying.
Breathe through your nose
Train yourself to breathe through your nose, at least during the day when you have more control over it. Breathing through your mouth can dry out your mouth and nasal passages. If you are breathing through your mouth because of allergies or a cold, be sure to avoid antihistamines, which can make dry mouth worse because of their dehydrating properties. These are natural ways you can treat allergy symptoms.
Rethink your diet
Spicy or salty foods won’t necessarily make dry mouth worse, but they can cause pain in the mouth. Dry foods can also be tough to eat because of the lack of saliva in your mouth. "If you eat dry foods like crackers or potato chips, make sure you’re drinking water with them," says Dr. Messina. If you're experiencing pain or discomfort from these types of foods, stop eating them. Sticking to bland, moist foods at room temperature or cooler will be best for your mouth.
Gargling with a mixture of warm water and up to a teaspoon of salt can help trigger salivary glands to secrete saliva, which can help relieve dry mouth.
Spice things up
Cayenne pepper, in your food or even applied directly to your tongue, can help stimulate the salivary glands. Fennel seeds contain flavonoids, which may help in the production of saliva as well. You can chew on fennel seeds a few times a day, especially after meals, or grind them with fenugreek seeds and add ½ tablespoon of the mixture to water after every meal. Cardamom has also been shown to have some benefit for dry mouth by moistening the mouth and relieving bad breath. They can be chewed directly or ground, boiled and steeped, as in a tea.
- Matthew Messina, DDS, interim director of the Dental Oncology Clinic at The Ohio State University School of Dentistry in Columbus, OH, and spokesperson for the American Dental Association.
- Mayo Clinic, "Dry mouth treatment: Tips for controlling dry mouth"
- Journal of Medicinal Food, "Acute effects of black currant consumption on salivary flow rate and secretion rate of salivary immunoglobulin a in healthy smokers."
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, "Dry Mouth"
- Mayo Clinic, "Humidifiers: Air moisture eases skin, breathing symptoms"
- Top 10 Home Remedies, "Home Remedies for Dry Mouth"