Dry mouth occurs when there is not enough saliva in the mouth. It can be
caused by breathing through the mouth, or it may be a side effect of
medicine, radiation therapy to the head and neck, or dehydration. Here
are some ways to avoid and/or relieve dry mouth: What the Patient Can Do:
- Drink 8 to 12 cups of liquid a day, and take a water bottle
with you when you leave home.
- Use a straw to drink liquid.
- Take small bites and chew food completely.
- Eat soft, moist foods that are cool or at room temperature.
Try using a blender to puree fruits and vegetables, soft-cooked chicken
and ﬁsh, well-thinned cereals, popsicles and slushies. Avoid food that
sticks to the roof of your mouth.
- Moisten foods with broth, soup, sauces, gravy, creams, butter
- Suck on sour lemon drops, frozen grapes, popsicles or ice
chips. (Avoid chewing ice, as it can damage teeth.)
- Keep your mouth clean. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush, rinse
your mouth before and after meals with plain water or a mild mouth rinse
(made with one quart of water, one-half to one teaspoon of salt, and
one teaspoon of baking soda); and ﬂoss regularly. It is a good idea to
gently brush your tongue, as well.
- Avoid commercial mouthwashes, alcoholic and acidic beverages,
- Stay away from caffeine drinks such as coffee, tea, colas and
- Use a cool mist humidiﬁer to moisten room air, especially at
night. (Be sure to keep the humidiﬁer clean to avoid spreading bacteria
or mold in the air.)
|| Foods that
May Cause Distress |
|| Meats, poultry, and fish in sauces and gravies;
casseroles, soups and stews
|| Dry Meats, Poultry and fish without Sauces |
Cereals, Rice and Pasta
|| Bread, soft rolls, cooked and cold cereals, cereal
with milk, rice soaked in gravy, sauce, broth or milk
||Dry breads, hard rolls, pasta, rice, pretzels, chips, cereal
|| Canned and fresh fruits that have a lot of moisture,
such as oranges and peaches, vegetables in sauce
||Bananas, dried fruit, vegetables, unless in a sauce or with a
high moisture content |
Desserts and Misc.
|| Club soda, hot tea with lemon, fruit-aides, diluted
juices, sports drinks, commercial liquid nutrition supplements, homemade
milkshakes, ice cream, sherbet, pudding, butter, margarine, salad
dressing, sour cream, half and half
||Cookies, cake, pie, unless soaked in milk |