October 1, 2009

Dry Mouth: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Home Remedies

Posted in Category : Natural Cures

A dry mouth occurs when there is not enough saliva in the mouth. Everyone faces this condition once in a while under situations like stress and nervousness. If you have persistent dry mouth, however, it can be a sign of a certain disease.

The purpose of saliva in the mouth is not only to keep the mouth moist but also to help in the digestion of food. If the production of saliva is inhibited, dryness in the mouth occurs. The condition in which the production of saliva stops is known as dry mouth or xerostomia. Since dry mouth may be a reason for underlying serious medical condition, it should be addressed immediately.

Dry mouth causes a number of problems and hinders day-to-day activities such as talking, swallowing, chewing food, etc. In addition, dry mouth can lead to bad breath, which can be embarrassing. Gum infection, tooth cavities, and sores are also caused by dry mouth. Further, people with a dry mouth may also experience a tingling sensation on their tongues.


Swollen tongue and dry mouth are common mouth problems that could slur speech. Generally, a swollen tongue is the indicator of the underlying allergy. When consuming food that you may be allergic to, you might get a swollen tongue. Bad oral hygiene also often results in a swollen tongue. Also, chewing tobacco can lead to both a swollen tongue and a dry mouth.

A dry feeling in the mouth is the prime symptom of a dry mouth. Other common symptoms include the following:

  • Burning sensation in the tongue
  • Cracked lips
  • Sores in the corners of the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth decay
  • Trouble in chewing, swallowing, and eating
  • Difficulty in talking


Generally, people get a dry mouth when the glands that produce saliva do not work properly. Apart from that, there are several causes of a dry mouth. They are as follows:

  • h3 medications such as antihistamines can cause a dry mouth. Also, the side effects of some medicines for high blood pressure and depression can decrease the production of saliva, causing a dry mouth.
  • Certain diseases such as salivary gland diseases, Sjogren’s syndrome, AIDS, and diabetes can cause a dry mouth.
  • During radiation therapy, if the salivary glands get damaged due to the exposure of radiation, a dry mouth can occur.
  • Dry mouth can also be caused by drugs used in chemotherapy as they make the saliva thicker.
  • A head injury can damage to the salivary glands, resulting in less production of saliva.
  • Smoking
  • Menopause
  • Removal of salivary glands


Maintaining proper oral hygiene can help avoid both these conditions. Some treatment options are as follows:

  • Dry mouth can be treated depending on the underlying cause. A dentist or a physician can determine the cause of your condition and can give treatment accordingly.
  • Dry mouth caused by medicines can be treated by adjusting the dosage.
  • Malfunctioning of saliva glands need medical treatment.
  • In severe conditions, artificial saliva can be used to keep the mouth wet.

Home Remedies

Lifestyle changes can help alleviate a dry mouth. If you have the habit of drinking alcohol, using tobacco, you need to give up these habits to get rid of a dry mouth. Home remedies for a dry mouth and natural cures for a swollen tongue include the following.

  • Eat small, frequent meals in order to stimulate saliva flow.
  • Increase intake of fluid.
  • Suck sugar-free candies, lemon rinds, fruit pits, and chew sugar free gum to stimulate saliva secretion.
  • Add a pinch of turmeric to a glass of warm water and gargle every morning.
  • Eat soft and semi solid foods like gravy, broths, butter, and yogurt.
  • Celery is effective in stimulating salivary glands.
  • Mixture of fennel seeds and aniseed is an effective mouthwash that soothes swollen tongue, removes bad breath, and makes your mouth wet.
  • Soak aniseed, rosemary, and mint leaves in water overnight. This is an effective herbal mouthwash that refreshes your mouth, soothes a swollen tongue, and acts as a germicide as well.
  • Lower the intake of spicy, salty foods as they can aggravate a dry mouth.
  • Even if you do not feel thirsty, sip water or sugarless drinks often, as water will keep your mouth hydrated and moist.
  • Using humidifiers in the room to keep the air moist.
  • Saliva production can be encouraged by sucking small fruits like apples, pears, cherries, and peaches.
  • Add lemon juice in a cup of water and drink this; rinsing your mouth with lemon juice and glycerin stimulates saliva flow.


Brushing twice daily, using a toothpaste containing fluoride, avoiding sticky, sugary foods, and visiting a dentist regularly helps to avoid a swollen tongue and dry mouth problems. In case the swollen tongue is due to an allergic reaction or injury, get medical attention first.


  1. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/DryMouth/DryMouth.htm
  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/drymouth.html