overcome dry mouth

A dry mouth creates its own special kind of misery. You may feel as though you’ve been walking through the desert. For some reason, your mouth is stuffed full of the kind of cotton logs the dentist uses. A sip of water helps, but only for a short time. What can you do to overcome dry mouth? As it turns out, some of the most popular products contain a sugar-free sweetener, xylitol.

Looking for Ways to Overcome Dry Mouth:

Q. Allergies have my nose stopped up, especially at night. That forces me to breathe through my mouth.

I wake up with a terribly dry mouth. Is there anything I can use to overcome this unpleasant situation till allergy season is over?

Products with Xylitol May Help:

A. There are a couple of over-the-counter products designed to ease symptoms of dry mouth (xerostomia). XyliMelts contain xylitol, a naturally occurring non-sugar sweetener found in birch bark. The instructions suggest putting one disk on each side of the mouth at night to overcome dry mouth.

Another product is Biotene. It too contains xylitol along with glycerine, water and sorbitol. This saliva replacement gel is used to moisturize a mouth dried out because of cancer treatment or medication.

A Caution on Xylitol:

Please keep any xylitol-containing products well out of the reach of your dogs. Xylitol is quite toxic to dogs. That includes chewing gum as well as these dry-mouth products.

Easing Allergy Symptoms:

It might also make sense to take something for your allergies. Don’t take a classic antihistamine such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl, etc.).  Such medicines may dry out your nose, but they can also make your mouth dry.

Other medications are more promising. Consider cromolyn (NasalCrom), for example. If you use it four times a day, your nose will behave itself at night and you won’t have to breathe through your mouth.

You could also try a saline nasal spray at bedtime. Some people find it quite helpful. Again, you wouldn’t need to breathe through your mouth all night. Other approaches to controlling nasal congestion during allergy season (such as a HEPA filter or stinging nettle) may also help you overcome dry mouth.


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  1. Lynn

    Looking for the source of dry mouth would be the first step. It is often due to medication. Dry mouth may be unavoidable due to advancing age, autoimmune disease, and more. It is uncomfortable and can cause a decrease in oral health with an increase in cavities.

    Looking for helpful products can make daily life more tolerable. Xylitol is naturally antibacterial. For toothpaste, the company squigle makes 2 Xylitol toothpastes, one flavorless, called Tooth Builder and another one with a mild mint flavor. These can be purchased online. I also use a disc on the roof of my mouth at night called Oramoist. It has no flavor. It can be purchased online as well.

    There are also many lozenges and gums from companies like Spry. I enjoy Trident gum because it is easily available and relatively inexpensive. If you chew/suck on xylitol products after eating, it can stimulate saliva and help wash away food particles. There are sprays that help dry mouth as well. The important part is to avoid sticky, sugary foods, have good oral care habits and find some relief.

  2. Linda
    Morgantown, WV

    I switched to Tom’s of Maine toothpaste and it really helped my dry mouth. Since brushing my teeth is part of my daily routine, it’s not as onerous as using a separate product.

  3. Ray

    I was told it was the use of my CPAP machine for my Sleep Apnea that caused my dry mouth. I wondered why it took from 1995 till 2016 for it to start. I think it may be from the Tramadol my doctor put me on after he was ordered to stop prescribing Vicodin for me (after three back surgeries, Aug 2007 to Dec 2008, using fewer than 60 pills every six months).

    I tried biotene but woke up three hours later with my tongue sticking to my cheek. Doctor advised XyliMelts. Worked good until day seven, then woke up with blisters in mouth. tried several other Dry Mouth products, still only three hours of sleep. Moral of the story, avoid Tramadol if at all possible and get the FDA out of my doctor’s and my business. He knows me better than they do, and is the best, and most conscientious care giver I have ever had, but he can’t afford to lose his certification.

  4. Tina

    Your suggestions for alleviating dryness in the mouth may be helpful, but why not recommend ways to prevent the mouth from drying out in the first place? If the dryness is caused by mouth breathing due to a stopped-up nose, it might be worth washing out the nose using a neti pot or a saline nasal spray.

    If that doesn’t help, there are nasal strips, such as Breathe Right, which hold the nostrils open. If you’re going to recommend xylitol, it might be a good idea to mention that some people can’t digest this sugar alcohol. It could give them a bellyache that would be much worse than the dry mouth.

  5. Jim
    Land O Lakes, FL

    I have tried biotene and it is USELESS. It helps for only the few seconds it is in your mouth and when it dissolves it’s right back where you were.

  6. Louise

    Beware of the artificial sweeteners (sugar alcohols) which in some people like myself cause very loose bowels and if someone already has fecal incontinence then it can be a disaster.

  7. Lisa C.

    Xylitol is dangerous to dogs! Our grand-dog ate sugarless gum with xylitol a couple years ago, and had to be rushed to the emergency vet. Thankfully she recovered after 24 hours of treatment, and hundreds of $$, but the less than one pack that she ate would have killed her without treatment. It doesn’t take much.
    Xylitol is in many products including: some brands of toothpaste, sugarless gum, children’s vitamins, many sugar-free products including lollipops, syrups, cookie mixes, brownie mixes and jellies, Jell-o and more. If you have a dog, please read this article: http://www.aspcapro.org/sites/pro/files/xylitol.pdf

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