Recently a friend asked me for suggestions in treating dry mouth which was caused by medications, not Sjogren's. I scrolled down through my side-bar on Reasonably Well to copy and send her the Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation Patient Education sheet on dry mouth and realized.........that it wasn't there!
Good grief. The dry mouth patient education sheet should have been the very FIRST one on my sidebar!
So. Here it is, only about three years and 1,396 posts (really!) later:
- Ask your family doctor to discontinue or provide substitutes for all medications that cause dry mouth.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals to stimulate saliva flow.
- Increase your intake of liquids (e.g. water, diet soda) during the day. Small sips work best.
- Minimize time in air-conditioned environments such as offices, supermarkets, airplanes, etc.
- Use a humidifier at bedtime (target humidity 40-50%) during the fall and winter months when the air is dry to increase nighttime moisture and decrease discomfort.
- Stop cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking to lessen dryness and your risk for other health problems.
- Chew sugar-free gum or suck on hard diabetic or sugar-free candies, fruit pits or lemon rinds to activate reflexes that will increase saliva. Look for products containing xylitol, a sweetner that may help prevent dental decay.
- Try artificial salivas. Use 2-3 squirts in the mouth every hour while awake and at nighttime as needed. Do not spit out any preparation that is safe to swallow to help it last longer.
- Avoid mouthwashes, fluoride rinses or products containing alcohol or witch hazel that can aggravate oral dryness or burning.
- Apply vitamin E oil (use liquid or punch hole in capsules) or moisturing gels to dry or sore parts of the mouth or tongue. Use 2-3x/day after meals, at bedtime, when talking for long periods, exercising, or any other time your mouth needs long-lasting relief.
Contact the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation to obtain a copy of its Product Directory, available free of charge to all members.
For more information on Sjogren's syndrome, visit the SSF Web site at www.sjogrens.org, call 1-800-475-6473, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation, 6707 Democracy Blvd, Suite 325, Bethesda, MD 20817.