Dealing With Dry Mouth | 3 Ways To Save Your Saliva (And Your Dental Health)

If you're suffering from dry mouth, you may have already noticed some of the condition's initial symptoms, including difficulty speaking and halitosis (bad breath). However, you may not realize that dry mouth also causes more severe issues, including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral lesions. Luckily, you can use the three tips below to help save your saliva -- and your dental health too.

1. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake

Heavy consumption of caffeinated beverages and foods causes dry mouth. Consequently, reducing caffeine intake is a simple way to decrease mouth dryness.

When you think about reducing your caffeine intake, coffee, tea, and soda probably come to mind. But there are also many hidden sources of caffeine to avoid, including the following:

  • cocoa
  • candy bars
  • chocolate ice cream
  • fudge
  • pain pills
  • weight loss supplements
  • decaf coffee
  • decaf tea

Look in your pantry, fridge, and medicine cabinet for these items; you may be taking in far more caffeine than you realize -- a sure way to worsen your dry mouth.

2. Limit Your Consumption of Alcohol

Heavy alcohol consumption is another major cause of dry mouth -- and with 30 percent of Americans suffering from an alcohol-use problem, it's safe to say that alcohol consumption should be taken into account when treating dry mouth.

If you consume alcohol on a regular basis, limit your intake -- the less alcohol, the better. Additionally, you should consume plenty of water when drinking, as alcohol is a natural diuretic, which is why it causes dry mouth in the first place.

3. Stimulate Your Saliva Production

In some cases of dry mouth, limiting intake of caffeine and alcohol is enough to treat the problem; however, more serious cases of dry mouth may require a more proactive approach: stimulating saliva production. To stimulate your saliva production, do the following:

  • stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • suck on sugar-free candies
  • chew sugar-free gum
  • eat more lemons, limes, grapefruit, and other sour fruits
  • suck on ice cubes

If the above strategies are not enough to stimulate your saliva adequately, speak with your dentist about using saliva-stimulating sprays, rinses, and lozenges. Additionally, if your dry mouth is severe, speak with your dentist about using stronger medications such as Pilocarpine and Cevimeline.

Because dry mouth can wreak havoc on your gums and teeth, you should never ignore the condition. Follow the above strategies, and don't hesitate to speak with your dentist about treatment options for your dry mouth.