Dry Mouth

Treatment for Dry Mouth

Treatment for Dry Mouth

Dry mouth treatment will depend on what is causing the problem. If you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or physician. He or she can help to determine what is causing your dry mouth. If your dry mouth is caused by medicine, your physician might change your medicine or adjust the dosage.

If your salivary glands are not working right but can still produce some saliva, your dentist or physician might give you a medicine that helps the glands work better. Your dentist or physician might also suggest that you use artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet.

Do's and Don'ts


  • Do drink water or sugarless drinks often. That will make chewing and swallowing easier when eating.
  • Do chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow.
  • Do use a humidifier at night to promote moisture in the air while you sleep.


  • Don't consume drinks with caffeine such as coffee, tea, and some sodas. Caffeine can dry out the mouth.
  • Don't use tobacco or alcohol. They dry out the mouth.

Gene Therapy Research for Salivary Gland Dysfunction

Scientists at NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) are exploring the potential use of gene therapy to treat salivary gland dysfunction. The idea is to transfer additional or replacement genes into the salivary glands of people with Sjögren's syndrome and cancer patients whose salivary glands were damaged during radiation treatment. The hope is that these genes will increase the production of saliva and eliminate the chronic parched sensation that bothers people with dry mouth conditions.

NIDCR recently completed a clinical study, a research study in humans, on gene therapy for radiation-damaged salivary glands. The study showed that gene therapy can be safely performed in salivary glands and that it has the potential to help head and neck cancer survivors with dry mouth. Read NIDCR’s news release to learn more about the study’s findings. Based on the promising results of this trial, similar clinical trials are planned in the near future.

Research on Sjögren’s Syndrome and Other Diseases Affecting Salivary Glands

NIDCR is also conducting clinical trials to study new approaches for improving salivary flow in patients with Sjogren’s syndrome. Such studies include testing the effectiveness of a monoclonal antibody as well as a corticosteroid to see whether either of these treatments helps improve salivary flow. Other studies are focused on learning how diseases such as diabetes, auto inflammatory diseases, and granulomatous diseases cause salivary gland dysfunction. Such studies could one day lead to better ways of preventing and treating salivary gland conditions.

To stay abreast of any new studies on gene therapy and salivary gland function, visit ClinicalTrials.gov. ClinicalTrials.gov lists all federally and many privately funded clinical trials in the U.S. and around the world; the web site is updated frequently.