Dry mouth, medically known as xerostomia, is a very common problem faced by many. Dryness in the mouth can be due to a change in the composition of saliva or reduced salivary flow.
It is often a symptom of the salivary glands not working properly as is often associated with aging, dehydration, stress, anxiety, snoring, depression, smoking or drinking alcohol. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers may also experience dry mouth due to dehydration and hormonal changes.
Dry mouth can also be a side effect of certain medications used to treat depression, nerve pain (neuropathy) and anxiety, as well as some antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications. Other possible causes include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, diabetes, nerve damage and autoimmune diseases.
Some of the symptoms of dry mouth include a parched feeling in the mouth, thick or stringy saliva, a rough tongue, excessive thirst, mouth sores, bad breath, loss of taste, cracked lips and difficulty chewing, speaking or swallowing.
Dry mouth can be very irritating, particularly due to the sticky feeling in the mouth. People sometimes refer to this as having “cotton mouth”. This problem can be easily treated with simple lifestyle changes and home remedies. Make sure to follow the remedies daily until the symptoms disappear.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for dry mouth.
1. Increase Fluid Intake
Dehydration is one of the most common reasons behind dry mouth. So, the best thing you can do is increase your fluid intake to keep your body hydrated. Proper hydration will make it easier for your body to produce more saliva and help get rid of the symptoms of dry mouth.
- Consume an ample amount of water throughout the day. If you cannot drink water, suck on small pieces of ice.
- Eat partly frozen chunks of water-based fruits and vegetables like pineapple, watermelon and cucumber.
- Drink smoothies, fruit juice or vegetable juice.
- Drink 1 to 2 glasses of coconut water daily.
- Drink herbal teas like green tea, chamomile tea, or others.
- Eat soft and liquid foods like stews and soups.
Avoid caffeinated beverages, sodas and alcoholic drinks as they can contribute to dehydration.
2. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper stimulates saliva production, making it one of the best remedies for dry mouth. Also, it will help bolster the taste buds so you can better distinguish sour, sweet, salty and bitter flavors.
- Press a little bit of ground cayenne pepper on a wet finger, then rub it around your tongue. This may cause a burning sensation for some time, but it will stimulate your salivary glands.
- Also, sprinkle cayenne pepper powder in your soups, salads and other dishes.
- Alternatively, you can take cayenne pepper capsules after consulting your doctor.
3. Fennel Seeds
The flavonoids in fennel seeds stimulate the flow of saliva and hence help get rid of dry mouth. Plus, their aromatic flavor helps combat bad breath that accompanies dry mouth.
- Munch on fennel seeds several times a day to treat dry mouth.
- You can also mix together equal amounts of fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds. Dry roast them in a pan, grind them thoroughly and add a little salt. Eat 1/2 teaspoon of this mixture after each meal.
4. Slippery Elm
Slippery elm contains mucilage. Due to this substance, it becomes a slick gel when mixed with water. This gel helps coat and soothe the mouth as well as the throat. Plus, it can effectively relieve many discomforts associated with dry mouth.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of slippery elm to a cup of hot water. Cover and allow it to steep for 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and drink this tea twice daily.
- Another option is to prepare a paste with some slippery elm bark powder and enough water. Apply it inside the mouth, leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse your mouth with water. Do this once or twice daily.
5. Oil Pulling
Oil pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic practice, helps keep your mouth moist and thus is very helpful in treating dry mouth. It is also beneficial in maintaining oral health and eliminating bad breath. Oil pulling can be done with coconut oil, sesame oil or any other edible vegetable oil.
- Put 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish the oil around your mouth thoroughly for about 15 minutes.
- Spit it out and rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Brush your teeth as usual.
- Repeat the process daily, in the morning before eating anything.
Note: Do not gargle or swallow the oil.
6. Aloe Vera
An age-old remedy to treat dry mouth is aloe vera. It also helps protect the sensitive tissue in the mouth and enhances the taste buds.
- Drink ¼ cup of aloe vera juice daily to cure dry mouth.
- You can also rinse your mouth with aloe vera juice a few times a day.
- Alternatively, apply pure aloe vera gel around your mouth using a cotton swab. Leave it on for several minutes and then rinse your mouth with cold water. Do this 2 or 3 times a day.
7. Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is another effective remedy to eliminate symptoms of dry mouth. Its moisturizing property helps coat your mouth and keeps it moist for a reasonable amount of time. Plus, being high in vitamin E, it will help heal any sores you may have in your mouth.
- Use your fingers to rub some grapeseed oil on your tongue and the inside of your cheeks.
- Leave it on overnight.
- The next morning, rinse your mouth with warm water and then brush your teeth as usual.
- Repeat daily before going to bed.
Lemon juice can stimulate saliva production and relieve dry mouth. Plus, its acidic nature can help cleanse your mouth and eliminate bad breath.
- Add the juice of half a lemon and a little honey to a glass of water. Sip this water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
- You can also drink homemade lemonade to treat dry mouth. Be sure to use lemonade that does not contain sugar.
- Also, sprinkle a little salt on a small piece of lemon. Rub it on your tongue to enhance your taste buds.
An Ayurvedic remedy to fight dry mouth is cardamom. Chewing a pod of cardamom will moisten the mouth as well as eliminate bad breath.
- Chew a pod of cardamom thoroughly after every meal or whenever your mouth is dry.
- Alternatively, add 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder to a glass of hot water. Let it steep for 10 minutes and then drink it. Do this once or twice daily.
- You can also rinse your mouth with lukewarm cardamom tea twice daily.
You can also use ginger to treat dry mouth. Ginger seems to be very effective in stimulating saliva and can make your mouth feel fresh longer.
- Chew a small piece of fresh ginger slowly. Do this several times a day to fight dry mouth symptoms.
- You can also drink 2 to 3 cups of ginger tea mixed with honey daily to stimulate your salivary glands.
- Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco as it hampers saliva production.
- Suck on sugar-free candies or chew sugar-free gum to promote saliva production.
- Sleep in a room with a humidifier or vaporizer to keep your mouth moist all night long.
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.
- If you have an option then avoid taking medicines like diuretics, antihistamines and decongestants that can cause a dry mouth.
- Gargle with warm salt water 3 or 4 times a day.
- Occasionally inhale steam to help moisturize your nasal passages and airways.
- In addition to brushing and flossing your teeth, clean your tongue daily. Use toothpaste and mouth rinse with fluoride in it.
- Drink water while eating and chew your food thoroughly before swallowing. After eating a meal, rinse your mouth with warm water.
- Lower your intake of spicy and acidic foods as they can irritate the inside of the mouth. Also, cut down on sugary foods and beverages as they may increase the risk of tooth decay.
- Munch on snacks that have high water content like celery sticks to stimulate the saliva glands and add moisture to your mouth.