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Health Tip: Does Your Mouth Feel Dry?

Ways to wet your whistle

(HealthDay News) -- People get chronic dry mouth when the glands that make saliva are not working properly.

Possible causes include: side effects of some medicines; diseases that affect the salivary glands; radiation or chemotherapy; or nerve damage from head or neck injuries.

If you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or physician. In the meantime, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research offers these temporary remedies:

  • Sip water or sugarless drinks often.
  • Avoid drinks with mouth-drying caffeine, such as coffee, tea and some sodas.
  • Sip water or a sugarless drink during meals. This will make chewing and swallowing easier. It may also improve the taste of food.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow. Citrus, cinnamon, or mint-flavored candies are good choices.
  • Don't use tobacco or alcohol. They dry out the mouth.
  • Be aware that spicy or salty foods may cause pain in a dry mouth.
  • Use a humidifier at night.
Consumer News