What To Do When Medications Cause Dry Mouth
Many over-the-counter (OTC) and prescribed medications can directly cause dry mouth. This is a common issue for anyone at any age who is taking medications. If you’re wondering what medications cause dry mouth, there are literally hundreds of possible drugs that lead to your mouth producing less saliva and essentially drying out.
Think about the common drugs you take, like headache and cold remedies, muscle relaxers and diuretics, as well as drugs you might need to treat high blood pressure, anxiety, allergies or depression. There are hundreds of drugs, both OTC and doctor-prescribed, that can cause dry mouth.
And if you need to take both prescription and non-prescription drugs, your chances of experiencing dry mouth are almost certain. So what can you do to get rid of dry mouth from medication and relieve its symptoms? You’ll need to recognize when you’re experiencing dry mouth as a side effect from your medicine.
Know the signs of dry mouth due to medications
You may not realize a drug is causing dry mouth, especially if you just started taking it. Within an hour or so, you’ll be able to tell if it is affecting the amount of saliva your mouth normally produces.
Here are some of the typical symptoms of dry mouth:
- Sticky, dry feeling in your mouth
- Burning or tingling sensation on your tongue
- Dry feeling in your throat
- Trouble speaking, chewing or swallowing
- Feeling thirsty
- Bad breath
Dry mouth may seem more like an inconvenience or discomfort as a result of taking your medication. But if you have to be on a drug for an extended period of time, dry mouth can become a more serious complication. If you have chronic dry mouth, you can develop sores in your mouth, cracked lips, cavities, gum disease, tooth decay, and other health issues. An unhealthy mouth can be a breeding ground for more serious issues to fester and worsen.
You may slightly ease your dry mouth due to medications by turning to home remedies:
- Sip on water – dehydration will exacerbate dry mouth
- Chew sugar-free gum – xylitol helps with saliva production
- Suck on ice chips
- Brush and floss – dry mouth leads to bad breath
These offer immediate relief, but that may only last for a few minutes. Generally, these home remedies will not provide any long term improvement for your dry mouth. You can talk to your doctor about changing your prescription, but there may not be a replacement drug or it may have similar side effects. Your dentist can suggest using a mouth lubricant that mimics saliva for when you start having any dry mouth symptoms. Over-the-counter solutions like dry mouth lozenges, spray or mouthwash can also provide temporary relief.
Prevent dry mouth and bad breath
When your mouth produces less saliva, it leads to another side effect. Bacteria that normally occurs in your mouth will be feeding on protein lingering in your gums and teeth. The result of this is sulfur gas which causes your bad breath. The longer you have dry mouth, the worse it is for your breath and anyone around you who experiences it. If you’ve struggled with dry mouth for a long period of time, it’s likely you aren’t even aware of your breath odor! Some over-the-counter dry mouth mouthwash solutions will also address the issue of bad breath that goes along with having a dry mouth.
Read the labels of all the drugs you’re taking to see if dry mouth due to medications is a side effect.