Xerostomia Prevention & Management in Sacramento, CA

Conquer Cotton Mouth: Tips For Dry Mouth Prevention & Relief

Dry mouth is a common condition that many Sacramento residents struggle with daily. It can significantly impact your quality of life, causing discomfort, difficulty speaking and swallowing, and even increasing the risk of dental problems. At Dr. Scott Grivas III’s Sacramento dental practice, we understand the challenges dry mouth presents, and we’re here to help you find relief.  Call (916) 929-9222 to schedule an appointment with our Sacramento dentist and take the first step toward a more comfortable, healthier smile.

What is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a condition characterized by a reduced or absent production of saliva, leading to a persistently dry feeling in the mouth.

Dry mouth is a common problem that can affect people of all ages, but it’s particularly prevalent among older adults and individuals with certain medical conditions or taking certain medications. It can significantly impact daily activities, oral health, and overall quality of life.

Causes of Dry Mouth


Many medications can cause dry mouth as a side effect, including antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, and pain relievers. These drugs can interfere with the production of saliva, leading to a dry mouth sensation.

Medical Conditions 

Certain medical conditions can also contribute to dry mouth. Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that directly affects the salivary glands, leading to decreased saliva production. Diabetes and Parkinson’s disease are other conditions that can cause dry mouth due to their impact on the nervous system and salivary gland function.

Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Cancers

Individuals undergoing radiation therapy for cancers in the head and neck region are at a high risk of developing dry mouth. This is because the radiation can damage the salivary glands, leading to a significant reduction in saliva production.


Insufficient fluid intake can lead to dehydration, which can affect saliva production and result in a dry mouth. This is particularly common in older adults, individuals with certain medical conditions, or those who engage in strenuous physical activity without proper lighting a cigarette that's in his mouth

Smoking and Tobacco Use

The chemicals present in tobacco products, such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco, can irritate the salivary glands and reduce saliva flow, leading to dry mouth.

Symptoms and Complications of Dry Mouth

  • Persistent Dry or Sticky Feeling in The Mouth: The most obvious symptom of dry mouth is a constant dry or sticky sensation in the mouth, which can be uncomfortable and make it difficult to speak or swallow.
  • Difficulty Speaking, Swallowing, or Eating Dry Foods: Without adequate saliva production, individuals with dry mouth may experience difficulty speaking clearly, swallowing food or medications, or consuming dry foods, as saliva plays a crucial role in these processes.
  • Cracked Lips and Dry Throat: Dry mouth can also lead to cracked or chapped lips and a dry, sore throat, as saliva helps keep these areas lubricated and moisturized.
  • Increased Risk of Tooth Decay and Gum Disease: Saliva helps neutralize acids in the mouth and wash away food particles, protecting against tooth decay and gum disease. When saliva production is diminished, the risk of these dental problems increases.
  • Altered Sense of Taste: Saliva plays a role in taste perception, and a lack of saliva can cause a decreased or altered sense of taste, making it difficult to enjoy the flavors of food and beverages.
  • Bad Breath (halitosis): Dry mouth can contribute to bad breath (halitosis) due to the lack of saliva, which helps rinse away bacteria and food particles that can cause odors.

Dry Mouth Prevention and Management Strategies

Staying Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water and staying well-hydrated is one of the simplest and most effective ways to help prevent and manage dry mouth. Aim to drink water frequently throughout the day, and avoid dehydrating beverages like alcohol and caffeine.

Using Saliva Substitutes and Mouth Moisturizers

There are various over-the-counter products available that can help alleviate dry mouth symptoms. Saliva substitutes and mouth moisturizers can provide temporary relief by mimicking the lubricating properties of saliva.

Sucking on Sugar-Free Candies or Chewing Gum

Sucking on sugar-free candies or chewing sugar-free gum can help stimulate saliva production and provide temporary relief from dry mouth symptoms.

Avoiding Alcohol, Caffeine, and Tobacco Products

Substances like alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms by dehydrating the body and further reducing saliva production.

Using a Humidifier At Home or Work

Dry air can contribute to dry mouth, so using a humidifier at home or in the workplace can help add moisture to the air and alleviate symptoms.woman brushing her teeth

Practicing Good Oral Hygiene Habits

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene practices, such as brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using an alcohol-free mouth rinse, can help prevent dental problems associated with dry mouth.

Adjusting Medication or Seeking Alternatives, If Possible

If a medication is causing dry mouth as a side effect, discuss with a healthcare provider the possibility of adjusting the dosage or exploring alternative medications that may not cause this issue.

Professional Treatment Options for Dry Mouth

  • Prescription Medications (e.g., Pilocarpine, Cevimeline): In some cases, prescription medications like pilocarpine and cevimeline may be recommended to stimulate saliva production and alleviate dry mouth symptoms.
  • Salivary Gland Stimulants: Certain medications or devices can stimulate the salivary glands and promote saliva flow, providing relief from dry mouth.
  • Fluoride Treatments: Regular fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office can help strengthen teeth and prevent cavities, which is especially important for individuals with dry mouth who are at a higher risk for tooth decay.
  • Dental Sealants: Dental sealants can be applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth to create a protective barrier against cavities and tooth decay, which is beneficial for those with dry mouth.
  • Artificial Saliva Products: In severe cases of dry mouth, your dentist may recommend the use of artificial saliva products, which can help lubricate the mouth and provide temporary relief from symptoms.

Tips for Managing Dry Mouth

  1. Keeping a water bottle close by and sipping frequently throughout the day can help keep your mouth hydrated and alleviate dry mouth symptoms.
  2. Applying lip balm and using alcohol-free, moisturizing mouth rinses can help soothe and protect dry, cracked lips and a dry mouth.
  3. Dry, crunchy, or salty foods can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms, so it’s best to choose moist, soft, and mild-flavored foods when possible.
  4. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free hard candies can help stimulate saliva production and provide temporary relief from dry mouth.
  5. Running a humidifier in your bedroom at night can help add moisture to the air and prevent dry mouth symptoms from disrupting your sleep.
  6. Maintaining excellent oral hygiene practices and visiting your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings is essential for preventing dental problems associated with dry mouth.

Learn More About Dry Mouth Prevention & Management, Call Today!

By implementing a combination of lifestyle changes, over-the-counter products, and professional treatments, you can effectively manage dry mouth and improve your overall oral health and quality of life. Remember, consistency and diligence are key to finding lasting relief.

At Dr. Grivas III’s dental practice in Sacramento, we offer a comprehensive range of services to help you effectively manage dry mouth and maintain optimal oral health. Our team will work closely with you to find the best solution for your specific needs. Don’t let dry mouth continue to impact your daily life — call (916) 929-9222 today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards lasting relief. We also serve new and returning patients from surrounding areas such as such as La Riviera, West Sacramento, Florin, Rosemont, and beyond.

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