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From a sticky, uncomfortable palate, to trouble chewing and swallowing, you may experience a few different things if you suffer from a dry roof of mouth. In addition to these annoying effects, you’re more likely to suffer from plaque buildup and cavities as well. Try some home remedies to encourage saliva flow again, and tell your dentist if the roof of your mouth is still feeling parched.

How Dry Mouth Affects You

Good saliva production is essential for eating well and to prevent most dental problems, but when the roof of your mouth is dry, your salivary glands aren’t producing enough. The gums, tongue, teeth and the back and floor of the mouth may all feel dehydrated as a result.

Saliva doesn’t just improve the taste of food, according to Mayo Clinic; it also contains enzymes needed for proper digestion. This natural fluid provides a similar benefit when swallowing, and therefore dry mouth sufferers may not eat well because they don’t enjoy their food.

Saliva ultimately protects the mouth from harmful organisms and prevents its tissue (including your palate) from becoming irritated. If you have dry roof of mouth, suggests the American Dental Association (ADA), you might experience a burning sensation, oral yeast infection, more cavities, inflamed and infected gums, bad breath (also known as halitosis) or even ill-fitting dentures.

Home Remedies for Dry Mouth

Luckily, you can treat a mildly dry roof of mouth at home, and several over-the-counter (OTC) treatments may help:

  • Chew sugar-free gum
  • Suck on sugar-free candy
  • Take frequent sips of water
  • Swish with Colgate Total® Advanced Pro-Shield™ or a similar alcohol-free mouthrinse
  • Invest in an artificial saliva substitute

Vitamin and mineral supplements are just as helpful home remedies, but be careful with certain medications that have dehydrating side effects. B vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and B6 help strengthen the immune system to fight the increased amount of bacteria in dry mouths, whereas Vitamin C helps repair the mouth tissue damaged from saliva deprivation.

Telling Your Dentist

When you tell your dentist about your dry roof of mouth, bring up any medications you’re taking – some treatments can cause dry mouth as a result. You can reduce your risk of cavities despite other conditions by brushing two to three times a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and cleaning between your teeth once a day with a clean piece of dental floss.

Keep in mind your dentist may suggest additional fluoride treatments to strengthen and protect your tooth enamel, or prescribe a prescription-strength toothpaste specifically to alleviate uncomfortable dry mouth symptoms, if they’re taking a bigger toll on your oral health.

Helping in Small Ways

Altering certain daily habits can reduce the symptoms of dry mouth. Avoid drinking tea, coffee, alcohol or sodas in the interim – all of which can dry out your mouth – and consider this a reason to start on a path to quit smoking. To prevent irritation to the driest, most sensitive mouth tissues, don’t eat spicy or salty foods. At night, use a humidifier in your bedroom to moisten the air.

OTC products and natural remedies may be all you need to feel more comfortable when the roof of your mouth is dry. But you should still tell your dentist or physician in case it’s a sign of a more serious problem. Together, you can reduce the symptoms and improve your oral health.