Reviewed by
Dirna Grobbelaar, Oral Hygiene Advisor
Updated on January 17, 2024

Dry mouth means simply absent or reduced saliva. It can affect anyone and is more common in older people and women. It can be caused by certain diseases, including diabetes and HIV and Sjogren’s syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease and cancer treatment.

The most likely cause is medication. More than 400 prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines state dry mouth as a possible side-effect, including medication for allergies, asthma, colds, depression, epilepsy, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and urinary incontinence.

A lack of saliva makes swallowing and even talking difficult. In severe cases, dry mouth sufferers can become malnourished; lips can become dry and cracked. Saliva is the body’s way of keeping the mouth clean, so there are serious oral health implications for dry mouth sufferers. Plaque and bacteria build up more quickly without saliva to wash them away, making bad breath, gum disease and dental decay very likely.

SYMPTOMS OF DRY MOUTH

  • Thirst
  • Burning sensation on the tongue
  • Dry, cracked lips, especially the corners of the mouth.
  • Bad breath
  • Impaired taste

TREATMENT

Rehydrating the mouth is the number one priority. Drinking water will give temporary relief, and chewing gum can stimulate saliva flow. For longer term management, try new Sunstar GUM Hydral Moisturising Gel and Moisturising Spray.

They effectively lubricate oral tissues, soothe irritation, promote soft tissue repair and create a protective coating in the mouth, giving longer lasting relief. You can use them as often as needed and they are convenient to use at home and on-the-go. With a gentle spearmint flavour and no irritants (alcohol, parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate, glycerine or sugar), Hydral leaves the mouth feeling hydrated and fresh.

MANAGEMENT

“Extra special attention should be given to oral care routine, because of the high risk of dental caries and gum disease,” says Dirna Grobbelaar, Ivohealth’s oral hygiene expert. “Brush teeth properly at least twice a day, using a soft toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Clean in-between daily, using floss or any of Sunstar GUM’s excellent interdental tools. Then rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash, like Dentyl Dual Action.”

Grobbelaar recommends avoiding caffeinated or sugary foods and drinks. “Drink water frequently.” “Smoking is a big no-no for everyone, and even more so if you suffer from dry mouth. And the same goes for alcoholic drinks, as they also cause dehydration.”

Try sleeping in a room with a humidifier. Apply Sunstar GUM Hydral Moisturising Gel just before turning out the light to help alleviate dry mouth during the night.

Don’t ignore dry mouth symptoms. Rather consult your doctor for a diagnosis and schedule a check-up with your dental professional to help keep your mouth in good health.

5 Ways to Alleviate Dry Mouth

  • Consult your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan
  • Follow a meticulous daily oral care routine with regular dental check-ups
  • Use Sunstar GUM Hydral Moisturising Gel and Spray to alleviate symptoms and give long-lasting relief
  • Drink plenty of water, sipping frequently
  • Chew sugar-free gum for temporary relief

CAUSES OF DRY MOUTH

  • Drugs or medication
  • Salivary gland disease
  • Chronic diseases
  • Chemotherapy
  • Nerve Damage
  • Radiotherapy
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Eating disorders
  • Management of dry mouth

QUICK FACT

400 types of medications can cause dry mouth

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The information provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical advice or used as a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist, oral hygienist or another healthcare provider regarding your oral health or other medical conditions. Reliance on information provided on this website is solely at your own risk.

RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS

Thryve Mouth Salts 100g

R40,00
Thryve mouth salts helps neutralise acids in the throat and maintain a healthy pH balance, preventing unwanted bacteria from accumulating and causing infections. Controls and helps treat
  • Bad breath
  • Sore throats
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Bleeding and swollen gums
Mouth Health = Body Health
  • Natural antibacterial
  • Cleanses and removes plaque
  • Promotes fresh breath
  • Rebuilds gum health
  • Treats inflammation and gingivitis
  • Helps bring brightness back to your teeth – gently

GUM Hydral Spray 50ml

R167,00
If you suffer from dry mouth you’ll find Sunstar GUM Hydral Moisturising Spray super-convenient for on-the- go use to help alleviate dry mouth. Simply spray directly into the mouth as needed to hydrate, soothe and protect. GUM Hydral spray contains Betaine, Taurine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium citrate and PVP, to moisturise, protect,soothe and promote repair. Designed for sensitive oral tissue, Hydral does not contain alcohol, parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), glycerine, glucose, limonene or linalool. The low allergen spearmint flavour is the preferred choice of dry mouth sufferers.

GUM Hydral Gel 50ml

R158,00
Thirsting for relief from dry mouth? Sunstar GUM Hydral Moisturising Gel helps hydrate, soothe and protect. Made especially for sensitive mouths, Hydral is easy to apply and does not contain alcohol or common irritants, providing long lasting lubrication and relief. GUM Hydral contains Betaine, Taurine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium citrate and PVP, to moisturise, protect, soothe and promote repair. Designed for sensitive oral tissue, Hydral does not contain alcohol, parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), glycerine, glucose, limonene or linalool. The low allergen spearmint flavour is the preferred choice of dry mouth sufferers. Sunstar GUM Hydral Moisturising Gel is ideal to use before bed and can be applied as often as required during the day.

Dentyl Mouth Rinse Mint 500ml

R122,00
Dentyl Active is a distinctive alcohol-free mouthwash with an advanced two phase formula to fight plaque and freshen breath for up to 12 hours. Simply shake to activate, then swish and rinse. Dentyl Active will lift bacteria and plaque from teeth and gums. For visible proof, look in the sink! It’s the two phases that makes Dentyl Active so effective yet gentle. Aqua-based antibacterial phase one helps remove bacteria; phase two contains natural essential oils that help gently moisturise oral tissue. Because it’s alcohol-free, Dentyl Active doesn’t sting or dry out the mouth. It contains fluoride to support healthy teeth and gums and is clinically proven to help freshen breath for up to 12 hours.