Top tips - Managing a dry mouth for people with swallowing problems

A dry mouth can be an uncomfortable reality for a lot of patients with dysphagia - read our top tips on how best to manage it

Part of our Top Tips series for dysphagia management

Tips for managing a dry mouth

  • Always take fluids or non-alcoholic drinks with meals (thickened to the correct consistency)
  • Avoid anything that may worsen dryness, such as drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks, smoking cigarettes and breathing through the mouth
  • Sip fluids throughout the day. Keep fluids by your bedside
  • Replace saliva with salivary substitutes e.g. Glandosane, BioXtra Moisturising Gel
  • Avoid spicy, dry or hard crunchy foods such as biscuits
  • Minimise your intake of salty foods as they may cause pain in a dry mouth
  • Eat soft creamy foods such as casseroles and soups
  • Moisten foods with gravies, sauces, extra oil, margarine, butter, salad dressings, mayonnaise or yoghurt
  • Pineapple juice has enzymes that can help clean the mouth. Check with your Speech and Language Therapist that this texture is appropriate
  • Protect against dental caries/decay by brushing teeth and gums regularly
  • Avoid sticky foods such as toffee
  • Use fluoride toothpaste
  • Use a fluoride, alcohol free mouthwash
  • Have regular dental check-ups
  • If the air in your home feels dry, try using a humidifier or place a pot/bowl of water near the heat source to help moisten the air (the humidifier and pot of water should be cleaned on a regular basis)
  • Stimulate the production of saliva by chewing sugar-free gum or rubbing a cotton bud dipped in lemon juice under the tongue: Check with your Speech and Language Therapist that this is appropriate