Dry mouth (xerostomia)
On causes, remedies & treatments of inadequate natural production of saliva
The major importance of proper salivary flow has been discussed at Tooth remineralisation & demineralisation, saliva & pH: 5 major prerequisites for dental health and stopping & reversing tooth decay. The following lists possible reasons for a lack of salivary flow as well as natural remedies and treatment suggestions.
Causes of dry mouth
An obvious cause with an equally easy remedy.
- Alcohol and nicotine both "help" to dry out your mouth.
- Medications and supplements
may cause dryness of mouth. Eyedrops (prescribed for instance against allergies) and some or all painkillers as well as antihistamines, antidepressants and decongestants contain substances that hinder/impact salivary production.
- Chemotherapy or radiation treatment1 to the neck/head area, incl. dental x-rays5
- Medical conditions
Endocrine diseases such as diabetes - dry mouth issues in diabetics are commonly due to consistently high blood sugar levels.
Some diseases (such as certain [rather rare] auto-immune disorders) also seem to be associated with inadequate saliva flow.
- Acute stress
A strong feeling of fear can dry the mouth to the point that speaking becomes virtually impossible.
- Mouthwashes containing alcohol which "dry out" your salivary glands.
Dry mouth natural remedies and treatments
- Increase fluid intake (water, not diuretic drinks such as coffee).
- Use xylitol or chew xylitol gum.2
In addition to regularly rinsing with xylitol, a particularly simple and effective way of using xylitol is keeping a jar of water with some xylitol added by your bed and sipping at night upon waking with dry mouth. Not only will you combat the dry mouth feeling, but simultaneously help improve the health of your teeth and gums.
- Discontinue medicinal drugs (unless you think you depend on them), alcohol and nicotine.
- Practice oil or water pulling.3 Among many other benefits, it will also help stimulate "lazy" salivary glands into greater activity.
Loss of salivary gland function due to radiotherapy healed by dietary change
Wong Hon Sun, ND, was a "dead man" with weeks to live. He had been diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer which was treated with aggressive radiotherapy which among other things had caused his salivary glands to stop functioning. Given up by doctors, he embarked on a radical naturopathic self-treatment program. He eliminated all processed foods and medical drugs. He completely changed his diet to a raw food regime of fresh tropical fruits and sugar cane juice (plus liver and eggs in the beginning, later replaced with raw vegetables, nuts and seeds). He engaged in regular exercise outdoors, gradually increasing the effort. In this manner, not only did he heal his "terminal" cancer but his salivary glands returned to normal function as well (and so did a number of other things - he had previously suffered from sinusitis, gingivitis, hay fever, and more). The complete account of his self-healing can be read in his book "How I Overcame Inoperable Cancer" (with some more background to his story available on Books on Healing Cancer: Inspirational first-person accounts in book format).
1 For numerous other "side effects" of conventional cancer treatment, see Chronic Radiation Enteritis, Chronic Radiation Proctitis, Death from Malnutrition & Other Hazards: Potential Serious Side Effects of Mainstream Cancer Treatment By Radiation Therapy (Radiotherapy/X-Rays), Chemotherapy & Surgery and On Chemotherapy.
5 Dental x-rays also increase the risk of thyroid cancer.