Dry mouth, also referred to as xerostomia or hyposalivation, occurs when your saliva-producing glands aren’t functioning properly. It’s usually a symptom linked to a diagnosable condition or certain medications, with symptoms of its own that includes, well, no surprise, dryness in your mouth, difficulty in swallowing, cracked lips, bad breath, loss of your ability to taste foods, a raw tongue, excessive thirst, and dried-out nasal passages.
Dry mouth is a condition that can be aggravating, even painful in some circumstances, and it affects many people at one time or another. The insufficient production or presence of saliva that is at the root of dry mouth can have a significant impact on your health, per organicfacts.net, leading to issues with your gums as well as tooth decay. It can even affect your enjoyment of eating food by hindering your ability to eat and digest it. More commonly, dry mouth can also make it difficult to speak (such as because of hoarseness).
Causes of Dry Mouth
As stated earlier, the presence of dry mouth usually is caused by some a more significant medical condition such as type diabetes, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, immune or autoimmune disorders, anxiety disorder, depression, anemia, or nutrient deficiencies, per healthline.com. Among the medications most often linked to dry mouth are antihistamines and various allergy medications, as well as drugs used for treating hypertension (high blood pressure), depression, and heart disease.
One other obvious source of dry mouth is, of course, dehydration, which can result not just from the lack of drinking enough water on a hot day but from conditions such as fever, vomiting (such as that which accompanies upset stomach or food poisoning), extensive exercise, diarrhea, burns, and blood loss, per health.howstuffworks.com. The good news is that dry mouth can usually be alleviated fairly simply, and often without need for special medication.
Dry Mouth Remedies
There are myriad treatments for xerostomia that can be found around the house, as this is a classic condition that can often be alleviated with simple home remedies, to include various herbs and supplements. Following are some of those remedies that have proven effective:
- Cayenne pepper. Even if just applied to the tongue, cayenne pepper can stimulate the saliva glands, per thehealthy.com.
- Fennel seeds. These seeds contain flavonoids, which have been shown to aid in saliva production. Chew fennel seeds a few times a day, or grind them with fenugreek seeds and mix a small amount of them with water to drink after every meal, per thehealthy.com.
- Water. Ramping up your water intake can help fend off dehydration and in the process help relieve dry mouth.
- Celery. Its abundant water content makes it a tasty antidote to dry mouth.
- Grapeseed oil. Per organicfacts.net, by simply rubbing it on your gums and tongue, grapeseed oil can help keep your mouth moisturized for hours.
- Aloe vera. The juice or gel found in the leaves of aloe vera plants can help moisturize your mouth. Aloe vera juice can also work in that regard, per healthline.com.
- Hollyhock root. It has moisturizing properties similar to aloe vera.
- Ginger. This herb is renowned for its apparent capacity to stimulate saliva production.
- Lemon. The key component of lemon is its citric acid, which can not only promote saliva production but also help protect your mouth from infections that might contribute to bad breath and other oral issues, per organicfacts.net.
- Cardamom. Sometimes added to a tea, cardamom has been shown able to moisten the mouth and help thwart bad breath.
- Humidifier. Adding moisture to your homebound environment might help prevent or rid yourself of dry mouth.
- Nose breather. Breathing through your nose instead of through your mouth can improve dry mouth symptoms. If you are a mouth breather, try weaning yourself off it by consciously breathing through your nose as you go to sleep at night. It might take some getting used to, but that’s usually the case when trying to kick a bad habit.
- Try sugar-free. Sugar-free gum and candy, such as those flavored with cinnamon or citrus flavors, have been shown to be effective in bolstering the flow of saliva, per healthline.com.
- Avoid caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol. All can contribute to dry mouth symptoms.