Dr. Joel Butterworth speaking to a female patient

Recognize & Treat Dry Mouth | Fredericksburg Smile Center

How to Recognize and Treat Dry Mouth

The saliva in your mouth is necessary for chewing, swallowing, speaking, protecting oral tissue, and maintaining the proper level of acid in your mouth. If you experience dry mouth (also known as xerostomia) it can lead to oral health issues. Reduced saliva can increase your chances of developing dental caries (also known as cavities) as well as bacterial or fungal infections in your mouth.

What causes dry mouth?

What are the signs of dry mouth?

If you have trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting, or speaking and feel like you have a dry or sore throat, you could be experiencing dry mouth. Other signs include cracked lips, a dry tongue, mouth sores, or the feeling of your saliva being thick and sticky. Another sign and symptom of dry mouth is bad breath.

Dry mouth at night

If you experience dry mouth at night, there are a few things you can do before going to bed to help prevent dry mouth. You should make sure that you are hydrating properly throughout the day and before going to bed. You can also use a dry mouth mouthwash and avoid using a mouthwash that contains alcohol. A dry mouth mouthwash can be prescribed to you by your dentist. 

How can you relieve dry mouth?

If you feel like you are experiencing dry mouth, you should undergo a thorough dental exam to detect and identify any underlying causes. There are also some things you can do at home for temporary dry mouth relief.

Home remedies for dry mouth

A few strategies for relieving dry mouth include:

  • Sipping water
  • Using chapstick
  • Chewing sugar-free gum
  • Avoiding spicy or sugary foods, or
  • Eliminating tobacco and alcohol use 

Always make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss your teeth to cut down bacterial growth in your mouth. Proper oral hygiene can improve bad breath and delay tooth decay.

Dentists in Fredericksburg, VA & Ashland, VA

Schedule an appointment with your dental team to learn more about what you can do to relieve dry mouth and get started with treatment.


Published: June 12, 2023

Author: Dr. Joel Butterworth

Joel S. Butterworth, DDS is the dentist and owner of Fredericksburg Smile Center and Ashland Smile Center. Dr. Butterworth has specialized training and clinical experience in all fields of general dentistry as well as advanced training in anesthesia and pain control, TMJ disorders, dental oncology, and emergency medicine.