Table 4 Ten tips for managing a dry mouth

From: Oral Medicine — Update for the dental practitioner: Dry mouth and disorders of salivation

Drink enough water, and sip on water and other non-sugary fluids throughout the day. Rinse with water after meals. Keep water at your bedside.
Replace missing saliva with salivary substitutes, eg Artificial Saliva, (Glandosane, Luborant, Biotene Oralbalance, AS Saliva Orthana, Salivace, Saliveze). Alcohol-free mouthrinses (BioXtra and Biotène), or moisturising gels (Oralbalance, BioXtra) may help.
Stimulate saliva with:
• sugar-free chewing gums ( eg EnDeKay, Orbit, Biotène dry mouth gum or BioXtra chewing gum) or
• diabetic sweets or
• Salivix or SST if advised or
• drugs that stimulate salivation (eg pilocarpine [Salagen]) if advised by a specialist.
Always take water or non-alcoholic drinks with meals and avoid dry or hard crunchy foods such as biscuits, or dunk in liquids. Take small bites and eat slowly. Eat soft creamy foods (casseroles, soups), or cool foods with a high liquid content — melon, grapes, or ice cream. Moisten foods with gravies, sauces, extra oil, margarine, salad dressings, sour cream, mayonnaise or yogurt. Pineapple has an enzyme that helps clean the mouth. Avoid spices.
Avoid anything that may worsen dryness, such as:
• drugs, unless they are essential (eg antidepressants)
• alcohol (including in mouthwashes)
• smoking
• caffeine (coffee, some soft drinks such as colas)
• mouthbreathing.
Protect against dental caries by avoiding sugary foods/drinks and by:
• reducing sugar intake (avoid snacking and eating last thing at night)
• avoiding sticky foods such as toffee
• keeping your mouth very clean (twice daily toothbrushing and flossing)
• using a fluoride toothpaste
• using fluoride gels or mouthwashes (0.05% fluoride) daily before going to bed
• having regular dental checks.
Protect against thrush, gum problems and halitosis by:
• keeping your mouth very clean
• keeping your mouth as moist as possible
• rinsing twice daily with chlorhexidine (eg Chlorohex, Corsodyl, Eludril) or triclosan (eg Plax)
• brushing or scraping your tongue
• keeping dentures out at night
• disinfecting dentures in hypochlorite (eg Milton, Dentural)
• using antifungals if recommended by specialist.
Protect the lips with a lip salve or petroleum jelly (eg Vaseline).
Avoid hot dry environments — consider a humidifier for the bedroom.