Treating a dry mouth

Treating the underlying cause

If your doctor or dentist is able to determine what's causing your dry mouth, treating this may improve your symptoms.

For example, if medication is suspected as the cause of your dry mouth, your doctor may reduce your dose or suggest trying an alternative medication.

Some of the conditions mentioned abovehave specific treatments, such as nasal decongestants for a blocked nose and insulin for diabetes.

Things to try yourself

There are simple measures you cantry to help keep your mouth moist. For example, it may help to:

  • increase your fluid intake take regular sips of cold water or an unsweetened drink
  • suck on sugar-free sweets or chew sugar-free gum this can stimulate your salivary glands to produce more saliva
  • suck on ice cubes the ice will melt slowly and moisten your mouth
  • avoid alcohol (including alcohol-based mouthwashes), caffeine and smoking these can all make a dry mouth worse

Saliva substitutes and stimulants

If the measures above dont help, your dentist, GPor specialist may suggest using an artificial saliva substitute to keep your mouth moist. This may come in the form of a spray, gel or lozenge. Use it as often as you need to, including before and during meals.

If your dry mouth is caused by radiotherapy orSjgren's syndrome,a medication called pilocarpine may be prescribed. This is taken as a tablet several times a day tohelp stimulate your salivary glands to produce more saliva.

However, pilocarpine isn't suitable for everyone, as it may cause side effects, such as sweating or headaches .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018