Xerostomia is an irritating problem that can decrease quality of life for those who have it. Depending on the cause of the xerostomia, mouth dryness can be permanent, so we must learn how to live with it. Here are ten effective tips to relieve the dry mouth sensation and prevent dental problems.
1) Take care of your mouth as best as you can
A dry mouth is more prone to infections, cavities, tooth loss, and other oral problems. Due to this, you must be strict about oral hygiene. For this:
-Brush your teeth with a soft bristle brush and toothpaste with fluoride after eating food and before going to bed.
-Use dental floss.
-Rinse your mouth after eating food.
-Avoid toothpastes with sodium lauryl sulfrate (SLS) and alcohol because they irritate the mouth’s tissues.
-Visit the dentist every six months.
2) Always keep water on hand!
Sip water throughout the day to keep the mouth hydrated and soften the mucous membranes. You can take a small bottle of water in your purse, bag or backpack. This will let you have a drink when you need to and not feel anxious for a drink. For me it at least relaxes me to know that if I need water, I have it on hand. You can also use artificial saliva to keep your mouth hydrated.
3) Yummy candy!
If you want to stimulate salivary secretion, chew sugarless gum or suck on hard candies (also sugarless) during the day.
Did you know that keeping a cherry or olive pit in your mouth also helps produce saliva?
4) Avoid alcohol and coffee… if you can
Alcohol and coffee are beverages that, when consumed in excess, cause mouth dryness and for people who suffer from xerostomia we should avoid them or at least be conscious of the fact that excessive consumption of them will worsen our state.
On one hand, coffee has diuretic effects and increases dehydration.
Meanwhile, alcohol, apart from dehydrating, irritates the mucous membranes of the mouth and more importantly negatively affects the nerve impulses that reach the salivary glands so they produce less saliva.
5) Eat the right food
If you suffer from xerostomia, you can imagine that “polvorones” (spanish shortbread) are not your ideal food. Avoid dry foods (bread, dry meat or fish, cookies…) or accompany them with juice, sauce, oil, milk or butter to soften them.
On the other hand, foods rich in fibre that require chewing such as carrots and celery stimulate salivary secretion.
Foods that are very hot or cold can irritate the mucous membranes, so it is better to eat them at room temperature.
Highly acidic foods, such as oranges or grapefruits, spicy foods and seasoned foods also irritate the mouth.
Sugary food and drinks are also not recommended.
Cow’s milk has a lot of protein but can thicken saliva, so why not try soy or rice milk?
6) Don’t even think about smoking
It is not only bad for your mouth, but also for your general health. It irritates the mucous membranes of the mouth, increases the risk of oral diseases, makes treatments less effective… it does not only worsen the mouth dryness but also the overall state of the mouth.
7) Breathe, but through your nose
Breathing through the mouth dries out the mucous membranes and throat.
8) Use a humidifier at night
If you live in a dry place and also have xerostomia, nights can be truly torturous for you. Use a humidifier at night to add humidity to your living space. You will sleep better, and in the morning you will find that your mouth’s feels better as well.
9) Use products specifically for dry mouth
If you have xerostomia, why don’t you use products that alleviate your problem?
Conventional toothpastes or mouthwashes tend to have alcohol or abrasive and irritating ingredients for the mouth.
There are toothpastes, mouth rinses, candies and oral gels specifically for xerostomia that help with the secretion of more saliva and improve your problem with dry mouth.
10) Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor
If you have continuous mouth dryness, tell your doctor. You may be taking a type of medication that causes xerostomia or dry mouth could be the cause of another illness. Your doctor will guide you and give you the treatment or instructions you need.