Dry mouth, known as xerostomia in the medical world, can be caused by a variety of things, from your lifestyle habits to medical issues and dehydration. It starts off as a sticky and dry feeling in the mouth, but can quickly progress to sores or burning sensations in the throat if left untreated. Sometimes, dry mouth can even make it difficult to swallow, chew or even taste.
Thankfully, there are a number of remedies that can give you some relief – and most of them use items you already have in your home.
1. Rehydrate Often
For most people, dehydration is the cause of their dry mouth. The good news is that this is an easy problem to fix – just rehydrate. Increasing your fluid intake will make it easier for your body to produce saliva and eliminates the symptoms of dry mouth.
- Aim to drink 8, 8-ounce glasses of water per day.
- If you cannot drink that much water, suck on ice cubes.
- Fill up on fruits and vegetables with high water content, like watermelon, pineapple and cucumber.
2. Drink Coconut Water
Coconut water may be even more effective at rehydrating your body than water. Why? Because it contains electrolytes, including magnesium, potassium and calcium.
Why are electrolytes so effective at rehydrating the body? Here’s an example:
After a tough workout, you’re drenched in sweat and dehydrated. You drink an entire water bottle full of water. You run to the bathroom ten minutes later. Your mouth still feels dry, and you feel a little rundown. What gives?
Your cells never actually absorbed the water. Electrolytes, like the ones in coconut water, cross the cell membrane, so your cells can absorb the water and stay hydrated.
3. Chew Sugar-Free Gum or Candy
Chewing stimulates your salivary glands, which can ease your dry mouth symptoms. Try chewing on sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy.
Experts recommend choosing sugar-free options because sugar will only dehydrate you even further.
Please note: If you’re sensitive to xylitol and other artificial sweeteners, consuming large quantities of sugar-free foods can cause diarrhea and/or cramps.
4. Go Easy on the Caffeine
You can’t live without your morning cup of coffee, but do you really need to reach for another cup mid-morning and after lunch? Caffeine contributes to dry mouth and can dehydrate your body even further.
Caffeine has a slight diuretic effect, meaning it causes the need for urination. While the effects are slight, it can be detrimental if you’re already dehydrated.
5. Drink Slippery Elm Tea
Slippery elm turns into a slick gel when mixed with water because it contains mucilage. This gelling effect can help coat the throat and the mouth to alleviate dry mouth symptoms.
To take advantage of this herb’s soothing effects, you can make a tea or a paste.
- Steep one to two tablespoons of slippery elm in eight ounces of hot water.
- Cover the pot, and allow it to steep for 10 minutes.
- Strain, add honey, and enjoy.
- Drink twice per day.
Alternatively, you can create a paste by mixing the powder with just enough water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste to the insides of your mouth, and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Rinse with water, and repeat twice daily.
6. Upgrade Your Toothbrush
Dry mouth can sometimes be caused by bacteria in the mouth. That same bacteria can also give you bad breath. Upgrading your toothbrush can help ensure that you eliminate as much bacteria as possible.
Soft-bristled brushes are a great option because they can reach into the crevices of your teeth to keep bad bacteria at bay.
Don’t forget to floss, too, to get rid of the bacteria in between your teeth.
7. Chew On Fennel Seeds
The flavonoids in fennel seeds help your body produce more saliva, which will help eliminate your dry mouth symptoms.
Try chewing on fennel seeds several times each day (especially after meals) to keep your mouth moist.
Alternatively, you can roast equal parts fennel and fenugreek seeds, and then grind the seeds to create a powder. Add a pinch of salt to the mixture, and scoop 1/2 tablespoon into a glass of water after every meal.
As an added bonus, your digestion will improve, too.