Cure my dry mouth.
November 19, 2010 1:57 PM   Subscribe

What must I do to cure my dry mouth?

I'm 25, and until I was about 21 I never had dry mouth. Some mornings I would wake up with a little drool on my pillow, but since my dry mouth began that has never happened. (I'm not saying that I want it to happen, but it's worth noting.) I now wake every morning with a dry mouth, and my mouth is relatively dry all day.

It definitely wasn't alcohol that started it, and even if I go a month without a drop of alcohol it changes nothing.
I think, though I'm not certain, that my dry mouth started after my first ever penicillin prescription.

I've tried a million things already, only one has ever made a difference. I switched from a multi-vitamin with iron to one without iron; that change brought relief from canker sores though, not the dry mouth.

I'll list things I have ruled out by experience: toothpaste, mouth wash, vitamins, medicines/drugs, alcohol, pop, dehydration, sugar, and some others.

This has plagued me for years, and I'm sick of it. The real downside is the intermittent bad breath which was never a problem before the dry mouth started. I think diet is the only thing that might help, as I've tried every hygiene option. (By the way, my teeth and gums are in excellent health, so says my dentist.)

Please help.
posted by dvrcthewrld to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Do you have allergies? If your nose is stuffy during the night, that could lead to you breathing through your mouth while sleeping and dry mouth. Other possible culprits: vitamins or supplements (vitamin C and chromium dry out my mouth something fierce), allergy medicines, sleep apnea, it could be anything. Have you tried keeping a food (and medication diary) and ruling things out one by one?
posted by LuckySeven~ at 2:10 PM on November 19, 2010

in the old people/diabetes section of pharmacies/grocery stores you'll usually find dry mouth lozenges. it won't find the cause, but it will help the symptom.
posted by nadawi at 2:16 PM on November 19, 2010

Response by poster: LuckySeven~

I have absolutely no known allergies, not even slight ones. The sleep thing is possible, I guess.
posted by dvrcthewrld at 2:20 PM on November 19, 2010

Biotene is a good mouthwash (they also have toothpaste) for people with dry mouths.

When I have a dry mouth I like to eat sour candy because it makes me salivate. Any sour candy will do.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:35 PM on November 19, 2010

I know you said you ruled out toothpaste and mouthwash, but have you specifically tried Biotene to see if it actually helps?
posted by scody at 2:35 PM on November 19, 2010

posted by scody at 2:36 PM on November 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Yes, I've tried Biotene and others. And I gave them months to work. When I try something, I give it an honest try.
posted by dvrcthewrld at 2:42 PM on November 19, 2010

Do you have dry eyes too?
posted by purpleclover at 2:48 PM on November 19, 2010

Have you seen a rheumatologist? Dry mouth is a hallmark of Sjogren's syndrome.
posted by HotToddy at 2:50 PM on November 19, 2010

You can also find dry mouth toothpaste and mouthwash. Even if toothpaste isn't the cause per se, switching to a type for dry mouth might fix it. Biotene is the one I have seen/used and it's kindof expensive but works.

Strangely, I have had a similar but less severe [only really an issue at night] problem from a similar age... Switching toothpaste and mouthwash has mostly fixed it for me. When I use normal toothpaste, it's back, so my assumption is that toothpaste causes it, but possibly toothpaste doesn't cause it and is just capable of fixing it. If that makes sense.
posted by equivocator at 2:56 PM on November 19, 2010

Are you drinking enough water/liquids? Whenever my daily routine is interrupted and I dont get my normal amount of tea/water, I get dry mouth.
posted by aeighty at 3:05 PM on November 19, 2010

I asked a similar question a while back, without getting an answer that nailed it, though some helpful suggestions. The difference is, you say your mouth is dry all day, which I don't experience.

For what it's worth: since posting that question, for no particular reason, I stopped drinking milk and eating ice cream, and limit my dairy intake to yogurt (every day) and cheese (occasionally), which are both fermented dairy products. And my middle-of-the-night dryness is definitely diminished. That is, I still wake up at certain points in the night, but not because I'm parched.
posted by beagle at 6:00 PM on November 19, 2010

Could it be salty foods in your diet? Any time I eat something a little saltier than usual, I notice that effect for hours.

The possibility of Sjogren's syndrome (see HotToddy above) should be taken seriously. It can cause serious health problems beyond the discomforts of dry mouth and eyes.
posted by Corvid at 6:35 PM on November 19, 2010

I get dry mouth as a side effect of a medication. I've found chewing the Biotene Dry Mouth Gum to be very helpful. I also use the dry mouth toothpaste and mouthwash, but I'm not sure how much those are helping. The gum, however, has a pretty immediate and obvious effect.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:48 PM on November 19, 2010

It's not just salt, but actually certain types of processed foods that do this to me... I spent all of my teenage years with dry mouth and a foul taste in it. Once I started cooking for myself, it disappeared entirely. But I can bring it back really easily by eating some potato chips, a slim jim, or any highly processed foodstuff. And sometimes, by drinking wine. I get a persistent foul taste that sticks around for a half day or more regardless of what I eat or drink afterwards.

Combine that with the two asthma-like attacks I had before figuring out that they were being triggered by eating dried apricots (dangerous and delicious!), and I suspect I have a pretty clear case of sensitivity to certain sulfites and nitrites.

Have you made any dietary changes over this time frame? Perhaps 21 to 25 means you're buying meals instead of having them made for you? Just a thought from my own experience.
posted by deludingmyself at 8:42 PM on November 19, 2010

A dentist could help you diagnose this. Xerostomia is a common ailment and has a number of causes including, but not limited to: blocked salivary glands, allergies or allergic reactions, systemic diseases, diet or airway issues.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:39 PM on November 22, 2010

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