Dry mouth is one of the most annoying medical ailments ever.
It’s morning and you have a conference call from work. Your mouth feels a bit dry so you sip your coffee and proceed with the call.
All of the sudden, the dryness gets worse. Of course, you are still on a phone call with your colleagues because that’s how it always works, right?
Yep, that’s right.
Your dry mouth becomes progressively worse, until all of a sudden you gag.
You hope your colleagues don’t hear it.
But then you gag again. This time it happens mid-sentence and your colleagues have definitely heard you.
You squeak out, “Hold on a second,” and desperately guzzle water.
Finally, your mouth is wet enough to finish your conversation, but you wrap it up quickly. When you get off the phone, you have tears in your eyes.
Not because you are crying. No.
Those tears are the product of misery, all thanks to the dryness in your mouth.
If it sounds awful, that’s because it is.
That exact thing has happened to me before. On multiple occasions and I hate it.
In fact, I didn’t even know “dry mouth” was an actual medical problem until I spoke to my dentist about it.
He told me it is, and actually, it is pretty common.
Here’s what you need to know:
DRY MOUTH: A VERY ANNOYING PROBLEM
Xerostomia is commonly referred to as “dry mouth.” Don’t worry, I will never call it that weird word. Mostly because it would be spelled 17 different ways and you’d be like:
It happens when your mouth’s salivary glands decide they can’t be bothered to properly do their job — lazy glands — and they stop making enough saliva to keep your mouth wet.
Yes, that saliva actually serves a purpose other than to embarrass you when you accidentally spit on someone while speaking.
SALVIA: NOT JUST SOME ANNOYING MOUTH WATER
Who knew, right?
I know, I was shocked too!
Saliva is an incredibly important part of your oral and digestive health.
It aids in both digestion and the prevention of cavities.
It prevents cavities by neutralizing the acids in your mouth that was produced by bacteria. It also gets rid of the food particles in your mouth and limits the amount of bacteria that is growing.
Think of it as your body’s built-in toothbrush. Not as good as an electric toothbrush, but definitely helpful.
I also mentioned that saliva helps you digest food. It does it by moistening your food, making it easier to taste, chew, and swallow.
So, it stands to reason that if your salivary glands have decided to suddenly go on vacation, that’s not going to be very good for your health.
But why in the world would they do that?
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS OF DRY MOUTH
So, you already know that dry mouth is caused by salivary glands that were like:
But, what you don’t know is why they would do something like that.
Well, here’s what I found:
Causes of dry mouth
Remember, the dry mouth can be caused by a combination of those things as well.
When I experienced my bout of dry mouth it is because I was smoking cigarettes and I snored at night.
My husband said I sounded like a freight train, and my mouth felt like a set of tracks baking in the summer sun.
You may be wondering:
Aside from the horrendous dryness, what other symptoms do people experience?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
Symptoms of dry mouth
If you just read that list and know you’ve been experiencing one or more of those symptoms, stop freaking out.
Dry mouth is usually a temporary condition.
It was for me.
I made some changes and I was no longer gagging during conference calls.
So, what can you do to stop feeling icky?
Check it out:
HOW TO PREVENT DRY MOUTH
Unfortunately, I hate to break it to you:
There is no way to prevent dry mouth without treating the underlying condition.
However, there are ways to control it if you have symptoms.
Here’s what you need to do:
REMEDIES FOR DRY MOUTH
Obviously, the best remedy for dry mouth is to figure out what is causing it and then stop that if you can. The easiest way to do this is by speaking to your doctor.
As I mentioned, in my case it was smoking and snoring. When I quit smoking it helped a lot.
The best part?
I haven’t gagged on any phone calls since them. The snoring, however, was a bit trickier to tackle. I still snore like a foghorn, so luckily giving up the smokes made it bearable.
You need to understand that you may not be able to get rid of it.
I know, I know.
But here is why:
If your dry mouth is caused because the radiation treatment for your cancer is damaging your salivary glands, you can’t just stop radiation.
Additionally, if your dry mouth is called by one of the medications that treat your autoimmune disorder you are going to have to learn to live with it or figure out a way to minimize it.
Check out the video below:
HOW TO MAKE THAT DRY MOUTH NOT SO DRY
So, you’ve spoken to your doctor and you realized you are going to have to treat the symptoms of the annoying sandpaper mouth for now.
Here’s are some things that you can try:
ASK YOUR DENTIST ABOUT THESE OPTIONS
The next trip you need to make after visiting your doctor is your dentist.
As I mentioned in the beginning, treating dry mouth is essential to good oral hygiene. If you just ignore it, it can lead to all kinds of awful stuff happening to your mouth.
Your dentist is going to want to prevent that as much as you.
To do that, the first thing he is going to want to probably do is to make sure your teeth are clean and free of plaque.
After the dentist has cleaned your teeth, he may suggest brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.
He can give you a prescription for fluoride toothpaste, a gel that fights bacteria acids, or toothpaste with betaine.
That’s not all.
You are also going to want to make sure that you have a really good toothbrush. An electric toothbrush will make it a lot easier to clean your teeth, so I recommend one of those.
I’m lazy like my salivary glands, so I love electric toothbrushes.
Your dentist can also recommend a fluoride rinse before bedtime.
All of these products will help to protect your teeth and gums until you can find a permanent solution to your dry mouth problem. With proper care, you should not experience tooth decay due to dry mouth.
Just remember: stay on top of it.
As a master procrastinator, I know how easy it is to shrug off appointments. Don’t do that and you should be okay.
OTHER THINGS YOU CAN TRY
You’ve seen both your doctor and your dentist, they have made some suggestions and now you want to know what you can do.
Breathe through your nose. Breathing through your nose will obviously lessen the dryness that is caused by breathing through your mouth.
Sip water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist. You can also chew ice if you prefer. Drinking water can also help you if you are having a problem with chewing and swallowing.
It might seem odd, but if you sleep in a room that is especially dry, get a humidifier. A humidifier will introduce moisture to your room and prevent you from drying out.
Check out the saliva substitutes at your local pharmacy.
Yes, that’s actually a thing.
You are going to want to get something that contains carboxymethylcellulose, hydroxyethyl cellulose, or xylitol.
Trying saying those names really fast, I dare you.
Yeah, I couldn’t do it either.
Those saliva substitutes could go a long way in making you feel better.
SORRY, YOU SHOULD STOP STUFFING THESE FOODS IN THAT DRY MOUTH
There is something else you can do to help with dry mouth:
Stop eating the foods that are making it worse!
I know that may seem easier said than done, but you should give it a shot.
Avoid these foods:
HOME REMEDIES FOR PEOPLE WITH TREATMENT-RELATED DRY MOUTH
If you suffer from dry mouth because of cancer treatments, there are things that you can eat that do not taste gross.
This is important:
It will improve your overall quality of life.
Cancer is hard enough without you having to sacrifice decent food.
SIP ON A SMOOTHIE
Smoothies are great for easing the symptoms of dry mouth because of how refreshing they are.
The best part about smoothies is how simple they are to make too and the number of options you have. For instance, if dairy hurts your stomach, use nut milk. If you hate nut milk, just use ice or yogurt.
Really the options are endless.
Try the following recipe to soothe your mouth:
BASIC FRUIT SMOOTHIE
1 cup of frozen strawberries
1 cup of mango orange juice
2 cups of ice
Add everything to a blender and mix until it is the consistency you want. Sip on the smoothie until your mouth feels better.
image via: Flat Icon
EAT AN EGG CASSEROLE, YES REALLY
It sucks that you gave up red meat.
I have good news:
Egg casseroles are a delicious substitute.
Try the following recipes:
EGG AND HAM CASSEROLE
- Preheat your over to 350 degrees F.
- Mix potatoes, cheese, and ham in a bowl.
- Place the mixture in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish that you have greased with butter or cooking spray.
- Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl.
- Bake it for an hour, remove from oven, and serve.
Source: The Wholesome Dish
DENVER EGG CASSEROLE
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Saute onion in butter, set aside.
- Whisk together eggs and cream. Mix in the rest of the ingredients, including the onion.
- Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Source: Spend With Pennies
image via: Flat Icon
WHAT YOU EAT MATTERS, TRY THESE!
You can eat soup for breakfast or dinner. They are nice and moist so they can help you with your dry mouth.
Try these three soup recipes:
The first one is my favorite soup and I am giving it to you from memory. The second is just as good.
SPINACH AND WHITE BEAN SOUP
- Saute garlic and onion in olive oil until soft.
- Add beans, tomato, chicken broth, and seasoning.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add spinach and cook for 20 minutes.
- Serve in bowls, sprinkle with cheese.
SPINACH AND BEEF SOUP
- Cook beef and garlic in a soup pot until beef is no longer pink.
- Drain beef
- Stir in tomatoes and seasonings, bring to a boil.
- Add pasta and return to a boil.
- Cook until pasta is tender
- Stir in spinach, until wilted
- Pour it in bowls and sprinkle with cheese
Source: Taste of Home
POTATO AND CORN SOUP
- Add potatoes and corn to crockpot.
- Stir in flour, toss to combine.
- Add chicken stock and spices.
- Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 or 4 hours.
- Stir in butter and heavy cream.
DRY MOUTH DOESN’T HAVE TO IRRITATE YOU FOREVER
There you have it:
Hopefully, you now have all of the information you need to avoid the horror story I shared above.
Nobody wants you repeatedly gagging on the telephone. Believe me. It wasn’t fun.
I didn’t even tell you the story about when I puked.
I spared you.
At the end of the day, I know how annoying dry mouth is. Not only that, but it can be really embarrassing.
The good news is:
You do not have to suffer.
All you have to do is make sure you see your doctor, then visit your dentist.
Ask both of them if they have suggestions for you and then do what they say.
Avoid the food that is going to irritate your mouth.
Yes, I know some of the food is delicious. No, it isn’t going to kill you to give it up.
I mean, you can keep eating it if you enjoy the sensation of sand in your mouth.
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
If you are battling cancer and that is the reason for your dry mouth, good luck. I hope you beat those mutating cells and win your fight.
While you are busy kicking butt, you can still enjoy your food! Try some of the recipes.
For everyone else, let us know if there is something that helps you fight your dry mouth in the comment section below!