You’re parched – or do you just have dry mouth? It’s a frustrating condition. You can get sores on the inside of your mouth, on your gums, and it can even damage your teeth over time. You’ve been to the dentist, but you haven’t gotten very many answers. Here’s what to do about your condition.
Sticky, pasty, and a general dry feeling are all symptoms of dry mouth. It’s not just a discomfort, it’s a decrease in your quality of life. According to Dr. Steven Kauftheil, dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease if left unchecked.
That’s because saliva has antibacterial agents in it that help control pathogens. Those agents also minimize the impact of the acid released by the bacteria in the mouth.
Suck On Sugar-Free Candies
To “cure” dry mouth, you need to get moisture in there. While there are many ways to do this, one of the best is to suck on sugar-free candy. The candy will draw moisture into your mouth and alleviate your symptoms. Drink a lot of water, and use a humidifier in your bedroom. You can also buy oral sprays, oral rinses, and toothpastes made specifically for treating the condition.
Your doctor can prescribe pilocarpine to stimulate the salivary glands. But, medication won’t solve the underlying or root cause of dry mouth. It’s only an effective way to start producing saliva again.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
Diet may play a huge role in dry mouth. If you drink excessive amounts of alcohol, use tobacco, or drink carbonated drinks, you can worsen existing dry mouth or start down the road to a permanently dry mouth. Also, make sure you’re avoiding sticky, sweet, foods as these are likely to increase your risk of developing cavities. Without saliva to wash away the sugars, the bacteria will digest those sugars and release enamel-destroying acids in your mouth.
Some mouthwashes contain alcohol. This can have a drying effect on your mouth and sensitive tissues. You also want to avoid toothpaste that contains sodium laurel sulfate. It’s a widely used salt in toothpaste that’s used as a foaming and spreading agent – spreading the toothpaste all over your mouth. But, it can also cause a burning feeling if you have dry mouth. Toms of Maine, and other natural toothpaste makers, often offer excellent substitutes that are SLS-free.
Xylitol is known to draw saliva into the mouth, helping to remineralize teeth. For dry mouth sufferers, xylitol candy, and even drinks containing xylitol, can be used throughout the day to minimize symptoms. You can also make a simple xylitol water drink at home using loose or granulated xylitol. Mix up to 5 to 10 grams of xylitol in water and sip throughout the day.
If you decide to do this, start slow and titrate the amount of xylitol in the water up over time. Xylitol can cause gastrointestinal upset in some people who are sensitive to sugar alcohols. Most people adjust after several weeks of consistent use though.
Robert Ander has extensive experience as a dental health researcher and writer. He enjoys sharing his research and findings through blogging and he often writes about common dental issues and possible treatments.