9 Home Remedies for Dry Mouth


©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Exercise can cause you to become dehydrated and suffer from dry mouth. Keeping a water bottle nearby can help alleviate this problem.

Do loud mouths get dry mouths? Unfortunately, dry mouth isn't caused just by yapping too much or too loudly, although you can run your throat and vocal chords ragged. Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition in which saliva production shuts down. In this article we'll take a look at a few of the home remedies that will help to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth, as well as teach you why it occurs.

Turning on the Tap

When working at full capacity, saliva has many duties. This versatile fluid helps us talk, chew, and spit. It acts as a natural cavity-fighter by washing away food particles and plaque, and it lubricates food, works to buffer acids, and remineralizes those pearly whites. Saliva is vital in maintaining a healthy mouth, so when production decreases or stops, there is more than a dry mouth to pout about. Teeth and gums become more prone to decay and infection, and your taste buds might suffer in their taste-testing abilities.

What Causes Dry Mouth?            

Dry mouth is caused by several factors, most commonly by the use of medications. Look on almost any label of nonprescription and prescription drugs, and you'll find that dry mouth is typically listed as a possible side effect. Some of the worst offenders are those drugs designed to dry out your mucous membranes, such as antihistamines and many allergy medications. Other drugs contributing to dryness are those used to treat high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease.

Dehydration is an obvious cause of dry mouth, but dehydration doesn't always arise from the obvious reason (that is, not drinking eight glasses of H2O a day). You can become dehydrated through fever, extensive exercise, vomiting, diarrhea, burns, and blood loss.

Other causes of xerostomia are radiation therapy, menopause, surgical removal of the salivary glands, and cigarette smoking.

The primary symptom of xerostomia is, of course, a dry mouth. But this can be punctuated by myriad other conditions, including excessive thirst, a raw tongue, lip sores, difficulty swallowing, sore throat and hoarseness, bad breath, difficulty speaking, dry nasal passages, and dry lips.

But here's something to smile about: Most cases of dry mouth are easy to solve.  Take a look at a few home remedies on the next page.

For more information about concerns associated with dry mouth and dehydration, try the following links:

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

Home Remedy Treatments for Dry Mouth

©2007 Publishing International, Ltd. When the salivary glands run dry, it's essential to refresh your body with eight glasses of water a day.

If a tall glass of water doesn't do the trick, some of the home remedies found below should help relieve the discomfort that results from a dry mouth.

From the Home Remedies Cupboard

Sugar. Since dehydration is a major cause of dry mouth, it is vital to restore electrolytes to the body. This kitchen-made elixir works like a commercially prepared sports drink but is much less expensive and doesn't require a trip to the grocery store. Mix 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 tablespoon sugar into a cup of water. Mix in a dash of lemon, lime, or orange for added flavor. Drink 1 cup a day or more following heavy exercise, vomiting, or a bad case of diarrhea.

From the Home Remedies Refrigerator

Celery. If you need an excuse to snack, here it is! Munching on such waterlogged snacks as celery sticks helps stimulate the saliva glands and adds moisture to your mouth. Should your sweet tooth strike, suck on sugarless candies. Definitely stay away from sugar-filled treats, since they promote decay in an already vulnerable mouth.

Liquids. If the salivary glands are down for the count, you'll need all the reinforcements you can muster to help get food down. Try to complement each dish with sauce, gravy, broth, butter, or yogurt. Food will be easier to swallow. Another option is to stick to soft, liquidy foods, such as stews, soups, and noodle dishes.

Parsley. A dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but it often brings out bad breath. This double whammy can ruin just about any social situation. Luckily, battling bad breath is easy. See that parsley on your plate? The restaurant may put it there for decoration, but it can serve a more useful purpose. This herb is a natural breath sweetener, and it provides ample amounts of vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. So, chew on some.

From the Home Remedies Sink

Water. Tap or bottled, whichever way you drink water is fine...just drink plenty of it. To keep your system well lubricated, it's recommended you down eight 8-ounce glasses each day. Cut back on other refreshments such as coffee, sugary sodas, and alcohol, all of which can exacerbate dry mouth. Make sure to accompany every meal with a glass of water.

From the Home Remedies Spice Rack

Aniseed. Munching on aniseed can help combat the bad breath that accompanies dry mouth. In fact, many Indian restaurants have a bowl of anise and fennel available to remove pungent food odors from your breath. Mix a few teaspoons of these aniseed and fennel, place in a covered bowl, and keep on the table.

Cayenne pepper. A dry mouth often inhibits taste buds from distinguishing sour, sweet, salty, and bitter flavors. A mouth-watering method to stimulate saliva production and bolster those buds is to sprinkle red pepper (cayenne) on your food or mix it into your favorite juice (tomato juice seems most compatible). Better yet, prepare an entire meal around red pepper, which acts as nature's wake-up call, stimulating salivary glands, sweat glands, and tear ducts. Go south of the border with some spicy salsas or make that all-American favorite, chili, and start drooling!

Fennel. Munching on fennel seeds mixed with aniseed (as previously noted) can help combat bad breath that accompanies dry mouth. In addition, fennel seed can be combined with other herbs, such as rosemary, to make a mouthwash.

Rosemary. Store-bought mouthwash overflows with germ-killing alcohol, which is also a drying agent. Read labels, and don't purchase any mouthwash that contains alcohol. Better yet, reach into your spice rack and pull out rosemary, mint, and aniseed to make a refreshing herbal mouthwash. The rosemary helps fight germs, while the mint and aniseed freshen breath. Combine 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 teaspoon dried mint, and 1 teaspoon aniseed with 2 1/2 cups boiling water. Cover and steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and refrigerate. Use as a gargle.

Do Remember

  • Close that trap. Sleeping with your mouth wide open invites a dry mouth in the morning. Before drifting off into dreamland, make a conscious effort to breathe through your nose.
  • Breathe steam. It helps moisturize nasal passages and airways.
  • Practice good hygiene. Without saliva, the mouth and teeth are more susceptible to decay and infection. Brush and floss regularly. During the day, rinse the mouth out with water or use a saltwater rinse.
  • Cut down on coffee and alcohol consumption. Both are diuretics and can leave your mouth feeling as dry as the Sahara.

For more information about concerns associated with dry mouth and dehydration, try the following links:

David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.