A dry mouth is rarely a sign of anything serious. There are things you can do to help ease it yourself, (see section below on things to help ease a dry mouth). You should see your GP if these don't work or you also have other symptoms.
Causes of a dry mouth
The main causes of a dry mouth are:
- dehydration – for example, from not drinking enough, sweating a lot or being ill
- medicines – check the leaflet or search for your medicine online to see if dry mouth is a side effect
- breathing through your mouth at night – this can happen if you have a blocked nose or you sleep with your mouth open
- cancer treatment (radiotherapy or chemotherapy)
How to help ease a dry mouth yourself
There are things you can do to help ease a dry mouth yourself. These include:
- drinking plenty of water – take regular sips during the day and keep some water by your bed at night
- sucking on ice cubes or ice lollies
- chewing sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free sweets
- using lip balm if your lips are also dry
- brushing your teeth twice a day and use alcohol-free mouthwash – you're more likely to get tooth decay if you have a dry mouth
- not drinking lots of alcohol, caffeine (such as tea and coffee) or fizzy drinks
- not having foods that are acidic (like lemons), spicy, salty or sugary
- not smoking
- don’t stop taking a prescribed medicine without getting medical advice first – even if you think it might be causing your symptoms
A pharmacist can help if you have a dry mouth
Ask a pharmacist about treatments you can buy to help keep your mouth moist.
These can include:
- tablets or lozenges
Not all products are suitable for everyone. Ask a pharmacist for advice about the best one for you.
If your dry mouth might be caused by a blocked nose, a pharmacist may suggest decongestants to unblock it.
When to see your GP
You should see your GP if:
- your mouth is still dry after trying home or pharmacy treatments for a few weeks
- you have difficulty chewing, swallowing or talking
- your mouth is painful, red or swollen
- you have sore white patches in your mouth
- you think a prescribed medicine might be causing your dry mouth
- you have other symptoms, like needing to pee a lot or dry eyes
They can check what the cause might be and recommend treatment for it.
More useful links
The information on this page has been adapted from original content from the NHS website.
For further information see terms and conditions.