Relief from dry mouth
Helping your saliva fight the good fight!
9 June 2021
If you’ve ever experienced a dry mouth, you’ll know how uncomfortable and, quite frankly, how annoying it can be. The good news is, there are ways to fight it.
What does dry mouth include?
Dry mouth (or xerostomia if you want to get technical!) is when you don’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist.
More than just a ‘dry mouth’, its symptoms can include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry or cracked lips
- Bad breath
- Thick and stringy saliva
- Problems speaking
- Fungal infections in your mouth.
Dry mouth can come on gradually and its symptoms and severity may be different from person to person.
Why is it a problem?
Saliva is one of the body’s quiet achievers. Not only does it keep your mouth moist and comfortable, it’s also your natural defence against tooth decay. It washes away food from around your teeth, neutralises any harmful acids created (we’re looking at you, plaque!), protects the soft tissues in your mouth (including your gums, cheeks, lips and tongue) and helps to prevent fungal infections. And if that wasn’t enough, it also carries minerals such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate, which help to strengthen tooth enamel. Thank you, saliva!
So as well as making you feel uncomfortable, if you don’t have enough saliva for these important jobs, then unfortunately your teeth are at risk of decay.
Thankfully there are lots of ways to fight dry mouth – helping to keep your mouth healthy and feeling comfortable. Try:
- Brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush and a low-abrasive, low-foaming fluoridated toothpaste (ask your dentist to point you in the right direction)
- Flossing regularly
- Choosing a mouth rinse that doesn’t contain alcohol or peroxide (check the ingredients)
- Drinking small sips of water often
- Avoiding sugary sweets and drinks
- Quitting smoking (speak to your health professional for help)
- Limiting alcohol, coffee and caffeinated soft drinks
- Chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate your saliva
- Spraying water into your mouth using a small spray bottle.
You may also want to check your dry mouth isn’t caused by something such as any medical treatment or medications, so talk to your doctor if this could apply to you.
And remember, if you have any concerns about your oral health, including dry mouth, it’s always worth chatting to your dentist. You can make an appointment at one of our Teachers Health Centres or dental providers. Don’t suffer in silence –we’re here to help!