If you often deal with dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, you’re probably tired of facing this issue regularly. Getting rid of this oral health problem can be tough because it is often due to a medical condition or as a side effect of medication you need for treatment. That doesn’t mean you should stop trying to find relief because dry mouth can impact both your short-term and long-term health.
You can start by focusing on simple things you can control. One thing you can do is pay attention to what you eat and drink. There are foods and drinks that can make dry mouth worse, so it’s a good idea to cut down on them or avoid them if possible. Here are eight things to think about:
- Caffeine: Coffee and tea are popular morning drinks. While these caffeinated drinks may help you feel more alert, studies have found that the caffeine these drinks contain can reduce saliva production. It’s best to limit caffeinated drinks if you have dry mouth.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can also dry out your mouth and throat, much like caffeine. Reducing alcohol intake or avoiding it can help relieve dry mouth. In particular, avoiding alcohol-based mouthwash and switching to alcohol-free mouthwash is a better oral hygiene choice.
- Sugar: Dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay. Sugary foods can stick to your teeth more easily without enough saliva to wash them away. Try to avoid excessive sugar and choose sugar-free gum and candies. And when you do eat sugar, be sure to drink water and brush your teeth immediately afterward.
- Acidic Foods and Drinks: Fruits are an important part of a healthy diet. However, some fruits and fruit drinks are acidic, which isn’t great for your tooth enamel when you lack saliva to neutralize acids. Consider minimizing these items and, if you do eat them, be sure to drink water and brush your teeth immediately afterward. Here’s a short list of acidic foods:
- Most fruit juices
- Condiments and salad dressings that contain vinegar
- Dry Foods: Dry foods can be hard to chew and swallow, especially when you already have a dry mouth. You may find these foods are not only uncomfortable, but possibly pose a choking risk. Try to avoid foods like crackers, chips, and dried fruit. If you do eat them, try dipping them in a sauce, or having some water handy, washing every bite down to make them easier to swallow.
- Salty Foods: Salty foods can further dry out your mouth and may be painful if you have dry lips or mouth sores. Consider reducing salty snacks and seasoning homecooked meals with herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor without causing pain or making your dry mouth worse.
- Spicy Foods: When you don’t have the protective layer from saliva, your mouth can be more sensitive to spicy foods. Spicy foods can irritate sores in your mouth, cause them to flare up, and make them feel like they’re on fire. Stick to milder flavors, and keep a glass of milk or water nearby if you can’t resist spicy foods.
- Tobacco: As if you need another reason to quit, smoking and using tobacco products can worsen dry mouth by reducing saliva flow. Quitting or cutting down on tobacco is highly recommended.
If eliminating all these items from your diet seems too challenging, don’t worry. Even reducing your consumption can help alleviate dry mouth symptoms. You can also explore other dry mouth remedies to enhance your dietary changes, such as Aquoral, a protective oral spray that provides instant relief from dry mouth and throat. If you’re tired of dealing with xerostomia, consult your doctor or dentist to see if Aquoral or other treatments might be right for you.