Good health

How to live more comfortably with a dry mouth

Dec 22, 2016

Up to one in four Australians suffer from a dry mouth and, for those who experience it, it can have a significant impact on day-to-day life.

A dry mouth can make some of the most basic and fundamental activities more difficult. Simply eating or talking can become uncomfortable.

What many don’t realise is that a dry mouth can be a symptom of another problem. For many older Australians, it can be a side effect of a medication – or a combination of medications – that prevents the salivary glands from generating the saliva we need to moisten and cleanse the mouth.

The first important step is to speak to your GP. By identifying the cause of your dry mouth, you will be able to understand the problem better.

It’s also important to look after yourself in your day-to-day routine. Starts at 60 has partnered with Biotene to encourage readers with a dry mouth to take firm, proactive action against a dry mouth with the following simple steps:

Keep your mouth moist

Regular cold drinks (ideally water) will go a long way, especially if you keep a bottle by your side and take regular small sips. Mouth sprays and sugar-free lollies can also help you moisturise whenever you feel uncomfortable.

Brush and floss at least twice a day to keep your oral hygiene in check. If you find your mouth drying overnight, consider a humidifier to keep the air full of moisture as you rest.

Stimulate saliva

While a dry mouth can prevent the body producing enough saliva, there are ways to encourage it to produce more. Chewing on sugar-free gum, or sucking on boiled sweets or mints, can help avoid dryness throughout the day.

Avoid products and environments that will dry the mouth

Caffeine (tea, coffee and soft drinks), alcohol and tobacco can all dehydrate, and are best avoided. It’s also important to stay clear of acidic drinks (such as orange and grapefruit juice), as the combination of dryness and acid can lead to dental cavities.

Avoid dry foods (such as crackers) or hard, crunchy foods that could accidentally cut your mouth.

Be mindful of your environment, as time spent in a hot, dry place can make a dry mouth worse.

Moisten your food

There are some relatively easy ways to make food easier to eat. Gravy, sauce, oil or yogurt can all ease the process without compromising a meal. Steaming vegetables can also help a great deal.

Aim to eat foods that contain a lot of fluid, such as fruits (fresh or tinned), jelly, puree and pudding.

Avoid excess salt and spice, as these can irritate a sensitive mouth.

Treat your day-to-day discomfort

The right oral hygiene and comfort products can help ease a dry mouth, reducing the discomfort that can hold you back from the things you love.

Biotene is a range of oral care products (available in supermarkets and pharmacies) specially formulated for those with a dry mouth.

Biotene offers toothpaste and mouth wash you can work into your daily routine, spray you can use on the go, and gel you can apply before sleep.

By working the range into your daily routine, you may find a new joy in the things a dry mouth once made difficult.

Click here to learn more about the easy, practical ways you can relieve a dry mouth from day to day.

This post is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. For more information, please visit the Biotene website.