What Causes Dry Mouth And How To Treat It?


When you wake up in the morning, do you feel stickiness in your mouth that makes you wonder, “why is my mouth dry?” Or when you are outside and suddenly feel so parched that you think you can finish an entire bottle of water in one go? These are all signs of a dry mouth. Although dry mouth is a normal occurrence, it can make it difficult to swallow or chew your food. Not only that, if left untreated it can lead to long-term teeth decay (without any warning), and also contribute to bad breath or halitosis. However, with just a few tweaks in your lifestyle, you can prevent dry mouth and future dental problems. But before that let’s discuss what dry mouth really is.

What is dry mouth?

Dry mouth is a daily condition where there is lesser saliva production to keep your mouth moist. It can happen due to a number of reasons - not staying hydrated enough, skipping meals, wearing masks, consuming alcoholic beverages, smoking, certain medications, or the weather.

Here are some dry mouth symptoms you should look out for:

  • Feeling as if your mouth is stuffed with cotton balls, dry or sticky sensation in the mouth

  • Dry lips and mouth or throat sores

  • Burning feeling in the mouth

  • Tongue can feel like shoe leather

  • Difficulty swallowing, speaking clearly, or chewing

Dry mouth remedies

Every problem has a solution and this one has many. Here are some dry mouth remedies that can help you get comfort from this daily occurrence and keep your mouth moist:

  • Chew gum: Despite what you were told in school - chewing gum can actually be good for your oral health. Studies have shown that chewing gum can promote saliva production, and this can help you when you are out and about and don’t have access to water or food for a while. There are many dental-approved, sugar-free varieties of gums available in the market. Whenever you feel your mouth is going dry, pop a gum into your mouth. This is a great idea considering we all are wearing masks outside. Masks can make the mouth go dry and also make you aware of your bad breath - so the simplest solution is to chew gum under the mask! But only opt for sugar-less gum. Chewing gum that is loaded with sugar and not medically approved can actually ruin your oral health in the long run by causing cavities and dental decay.

  • Stay hydrated: One of the main dry mouth causes is not having enough water during the day. It can reduce saliva production and cause the mouth to go dry. This is why we often wake up in the morning with dry mouth. So, the best dry mouth treatment is to simply stay hydrated. It is a good idea to keep a bottle of water handy at all times and keep sipping water throughout the day. It is also beneficial to drink water before, after, and during meals. You can also drink a glass of water before going to bed and sip some water if you wake up in the middle of the night. But avoid drinking water that is at extreme temperatures - very hot or very cold water can actually aggravate the dryness further. If you go long hours without eating, it reduces the flow of saliva and leads to dryness in the mouth, often accompanied by bad breath. So, eat at regular intervals and avoid skipping meals as much as possible. Certain medications can also lead to dry mouth and reduced saliva production. If you are on medication, then make sure you take lots of fluids to recover and keep yourself hydrated.

  • Avoid alcohol and smoking: You may have noticed that you feel especially thirsty after having a drink. Drinking alcohol can quickly dry out your mouth, so it is best to cut back on it or if possible, avoid it completely. Smoking is also responsible for dry mouth, whether it is cigarettes or hookah. Both alcohol and smoking not only lead to dry mouth but can also leave your gums vulnerable to diseases and increase the chances of diseases such as oral cancer. To avoid dry mouth, you can also try and opt for an alcohol-free mouthwash. Check the label and make sure alcohol is not listed as an ingredient in the mouthwash.

  • Avoid carbonated drinks: Chuck the carbonated drinks out the window because they can surely cause dry mouth. You may enjoy the taste, but soda and fizzy drinks can dry your mouth. Plus, they also contain a lot of sugar, which can harm oral health and lead to cavities and tooth decay very easily. Try to avoid sugary drinks even if they are non-carbonated.

  • Get a humidifier: The climate can also lead to dry mouth. If you live in a cold and dry place, then try to use a nighttime humidifier to prevent your mouth from going dry.

Apart from these, make sure you follow a healthy oral care routine and visit the dentist often to check for any teeth and gum conditions that may need your attention. It is also important to use superior dental products such as the Oral-B electric toothbrushes to maintain good oral health and prevent any teeth or gum condition that can contribute to dry mouth.