Dry mouth


HYDRATION HINTS

In addition to getting the requisite eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day, you could also try these hydration hints:

  • Suck on ice.
  • Avoid bottled waters in exchange for fluoride-rich waters. Many cities have fluoride added to their water supplies. Fluoride helps to wash away and dilute the acidic effects of cavity-causing foods.
  • Eat more water-based foods, such as watermelon, pineapple, cucumber or celery.
  • Enjoy lots of citrus — orange, lemon and grapefruit. They hinder bacterial growth, conceal odor and accelerate saliva production.
  • Drink more fruit or vegetable juices, or put them in smoothies.
  • Try coconut water as an alternative to water. One to two glasses a day will improve hydration.
  • Drink herbal teas, including green tea or chamomile.
  • Eat foods containing liquids, such as soups and stews, and add more sauces and gravies.
  • To avoid irritating and drying out an already irritated mouth, avoid sticky, dry, salty or overly spicy foods.
  • Try “oil pulling,” the use of household oils — coconut, grapeseed, olive or even sesame — is an ancient Ayurvedic practice for treating dry mouth. Simply swish a tablespoon of the oil around in your mouth for several minutes (don’t gargle or swallow it) and then spit it out. Follow it up with a warm water rinse, then brush your teeth as usual. This helps to moisten your mouth and eliminate bad breath.

 What Can I Do About Dry Mouth?

There are many remedies for dry mouth. You can try some of them on your own. Your doctor may prescribe others. Here are some many people find useful:

  • Chewing gum and hard candy. If your salivary glands still produce some saliva, you can stimulate them to make more by chewing gum or sucking on hard candy. However, gum and candy must be sugar-free, because dry mouth makes you extremely prone to progressive dental decay (cavities).
  • Water. Take sips of water or another sugar-free, noncarbonated drink throughout the day to wet your mouth, especially when you are eating or talking. Note that drinking large amounts of liquid throughout the day will not make your mouth any less dry and will make you urinate more often. You should only take small sips of liquid, but not too often. If you sip liquids every few minutes, it may reduce or remove the mucus coating inside your mouth, increasing the feeling of dryness.
  • Lip balm. You can soothe dry, cracked lips by using oil- or petroleum-based lip balm or lipstick. If your mouth hurts, your doctor may give you medicine in a mouth rinse, ointment, or gel to apply to the sore areas to control pain and inflammation.
  • Saliva substitutes. If you produce very little saliva or none at all, your doctor might recommend a saliva substitute. These products mimic some of the properties of saliva, which means they make the mouth feel wet. Gel-based saliva substitutes tend to give the longest relief, but as with all saliva products, their effectiveness is limited by the fact that you eventually swallow them. It is best to use these products rather than water when awakening from sleep: They reduce oral symptoms more effectively, and they do not cause excessive urine formation.
  • Prescription medications. At least two prescription drugs stimulate the salivary glands to produce saliva. These are pilocarpine and cevimeline. The effects last for a few hours, and you can take them three or four times a day. However, they are not suitable for everyone, so talk to your doctor about whether they might help you. In trials of these drugs, patients have also experienced some reduction in their dry eye symptoms.

In addition to treatments for dry mouth itself, some people need treatment for its complications. For example, people with dry mouth can easily get a mouth infection from a common yeast called Candida. About one-third of people with Sjögren’s syndrome experience this infection, which is called candidiasis. Most often, it causes red patches to appear, along with a burning sensation. This occurs particularly on the tongue and corners of the lips. Candidiasis is treated with prescription antifungal drugs.

 

The Importance of Oral Hygiene

Natural saliva contains substances that rid the mouth of the bacteria that cause dental decay (cavities) and mouth infections, so good oral hygiene is extremely important when you have dry mouth. Here’s what you can do to prevent cavities and infections:

  • Visit a dentist regularly, at least twice a year, to have your teeth examined and cleaned.
  • Rinse your mouth with water several times a day. Don’t use mouthwash that contains alcohol, because alcohol is drying.
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride to gently brush your teeth, gums, and tongue after each meal and before bedtime. Nonfoaming toothpaste is less drying.
  • Floss your teeth every day.
  • Avoid sugar between meals. That means choosing sugar-free gum, candy, and soda. If you do eat or drink sugary foods, brush your teeth immediately afterward.
  • See a dentist right away if you notice anything unusual or have continuous burning or other oral symptoms.
  • Ask your dentist whether you need to take fluoride supplements, use a fluoride gel at night, or have a varnish put on your teeth to protect the enamel.

 

 

 

This information is from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) Information Clearinghouse  National Institutes of Health

 

There are many over-the-counter preparations, such as Oral Balance, Replens, Xerolube and Mouth Kote, which moisten the mouth.* These products will have different names in different countries so ask your pharmacist/chemist.

*Brand names included are provided as examples only, and their inclusion does not mean that these products are endorsed. If a particular brand name is not mentioned, this does not mean or imply that the product is unsatisfactory.

Dry Mouth information from National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research USA

Swallowing Difficulty?:

Difficulty with swallowing is the feeling that food or liquid is stuck in the throat or at any point before the food enters the stomach. This problem is also called dysphagia.

Swallowing is a complex act that we don't normally think about. Many nerves work to control how the many muscles of the mouth, throat, and esophagus work together.

Swallowing difficulties are frequent (32%-85%) in Sjögren syndrome. 

The five symptoms reported most frequently are dry mouth, difficulty swallowing solids, food sticking in the throat, need for excessive chewing to swallow safely, and taking smaller bites to swallow safely.

Most people with dysphagia should be checked by a health-care provider. But these general tips may help:
  • Your provider may suggest changes to your diet. 
  • You may need to learn new chewing and swallowing techniques.
  • Keep mealtime relaxed.
  • Sit up as straight as possible when you eat.
  • Take small bites, less than 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of food per bite.
  • Chew well and swallow your food before taking another bite.
  • DO NOT talk and swallow at the same time.
  • Sit upright for 30 to 45 minutes after eating.
  • Choose soft food
  • Use sauces or gravies or dressings to make food moist
My personal suggestions for soft healthy foods are:
  • porridge
  • soups
  • scrambled or poached eggs
  • mashed vegetables like sweet potato or pumpkin
If you are looking for more help with swallowing difficulties there is some useful information here 

Eat well with a soft diet - Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS (PDF)

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