Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a condition where the glands responsible for producing saliva can’t make enough to keep your mouth moist. For some individuals, this can be a temporary condition that requires minimal intervention. For others, the condition can be chronic and require additional support from specialists. 

What are some of the causes of xerostomia? 

  • Cancer affecting the salivary glands 

  • Radiation to the head and neck area 

  • Chemotherapy 

  • Prescription medications used for other illnesses  

  • Autoimmune disorders (e.g. Sjogren’s) 

  • Dehydration 

What are some of the symptoms of xerostomia? 

The symptoms of dry mouth can vary based on the severity of the condition. Symptoms can include: 

  • Difficulty swallowing 

  • Bad breath 

  • Changes in taste 

  • Burning/tingling sensation in mouth 

  • Thickened secretions 

  • Cracked/dry lips 

  • Sore throat 

What can I do at home to help? 

Management of xerostomia may require medical intervention by a physician. However, there are a few changes that you can make at home to help ease the symptoms. 

  • Practice good oral hygiene, at least 3x a day .

  • Keep up with dental appointments. Dry mouth increases the risk of cavities.

  • Try using mouthwashes, such as biotene, to help with oral dryness. 

  • Chew or suck on candies that contain xylitol.  

  • Avoid using tobacco products. 

  • Sip water often throughout the day. 

  • Use a humidifier in the home to help thin out secretions. 

Pro tip: Talk to your doctor about whether you are a candidate for prescription medications that help with the production of oral secretions.