Many people suffer from significant dry mouth, which doctors call xerostomia.

This is more than just a nuisance, it can contribute to poor oral health. If you experience dry mouth, it’s important to get it treated.

Fortunately, there are many professional and home remedies available, which makes it easy to find a good dry mouth treatment. 

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

How do you know if you have dry mouth? There are several symptoms that stand out and should serve to warn you about the condition. Watch for:

  • Bad breath
  • Sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
  • Thick or stringy saliva
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Dry, rough tongue
  • Burning mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Cracked lips
  • Mouth sores
  • Recurring mouth infections

If you identify these symptoms at a time when you might be dehydrated, such as after exercising or spending time out on a hot day, start by drinking water and waiting. If the symptoms resolve, you just need to work on staying hydrated. Otherwise, there might be a more serious condition to consider.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth can have many potential causes. Here are some of the most common causes of dry mouth:

  • Dehydration
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • Medications
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Parkinson’s disease

Dehydration is the most common cause of dry mouth. Make sure you’re drinking enough water and not consuming too much alcohol. Remember to increase your water consumption when you exercise or spend time in hot weather.

Diabetes can diminish salivary production and change the composition of your saliva, making it less effective at wetting your mouth and protecting your teeth.

Sleep apnea leads to dry mouth because people often breathe through their mouth to try to restore and maintain air flow. This evaporates saliva, and people wake up with a dry mouth.

Medications are a common cause of dry mouth. There are literally hundreds of medications in use today that cause dry mouth as a side effect. If you don’t suspect any of the above causes, talk to your doctor about this side effect.

The other causes are less common, but if you can’t explain your dry mouth, talk to your doctor about these.

Why Treat Dry Mouth

There are many good reasons to treat dry mouth. First, there’s the question of comfort. If your mouth and throat are dry all the time, they will have a tendency to be uncomfortable. You might have a hard time talking. If you wear dentures, dry mouth can increase irritation on your gums.

More importantly, though, saliva is vital to your oral health. Saliva suppresses oral bacteria, keeps your mouth from becoming acidic, and helps remineralize teeth that have been damaged. It’s why breathing through your mouth at night might increase your risk of cavities and can cause bad breath.

But how can we manage dry mouth? There are different types of products that are available to help control your dry mouth, as well as some home remedies of variable effectiveness.


Rinses are the most common over-the-counter treatment for dry mouth. They are easy to use, just like a regular mouthwash, and some of them even contain fluoride. Sometimes they come premixed, but other times they may be a powder that you mix yourself. Unlike regular mouthwash, they contain oils and other compounds that can help coat your mouth, providing more long-lasting relief from dry mouth than just the contact with the liquid.


Gels can be spread on your teeth and gums to mimic the effects of saliva. These are often recommended for denture wearers, because they can both combat dryness and help with retention.

Lozenges and Chews

One successful approach to stimulating your saliva is to actually eat something. But snacking all day or sucking on candy can just make the problem worse for your teeth. And although chewing sugar-free gum constantly might be okay for your teeth, it can injure your jaw.

That’s why they have developed lozenges and chews that are designed to help protect your mouth. These are sweetened with xylitol, which doesn’t encourage bacterial growth, it suppresses it.

Often lozenges and chews also contain minerals that are designed to protect your teeth against decay and even help them to remineralize, like your natural saliva does.

Prescription Medication

However, if you have dry mouth and none of the over-the-counter remedies seem to be helping, it may be time to talk to your doctor or a dentist about prescription medication. These medications can stimulate your body to produce more saliva. However, they do have risks, and it’s important to take these into account.

Home Remedies

In addition to doing things to help yourself stay hydrated, there are some potential herbal remedies you can try to reduce the severity of your dry mouth.

Ginger is probably the most easily accessible herbal remedy for dry mouth. Using ginger can stimulate the production of saliva.

Hollyhock root has been proven to help cancer patients deal with dry mouth, in an herbal formulation. Nopal cactus has been shown to help with dry mouth related to viral infections. People in South Asia (Pakistan and Asia) use sweet peppers to stimulate saliva production.

Caring for Oral Health in Sydney

If you are looking for a dentist in Sydney to help you manage dry mouth or other chronic oral health conditions, My Hills Dentist is here for you. Our dentists can help you overcome dry mouth or repair damage secondary to dry mouth, such as cavities or gum disease.

Please call (02) 9686 7375 for an appointment at My Hills Dentist in the Baulkham Hills area of Sydney today.