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Natural Foods for Dry Mouth

author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
Natural Foods for Dry Mouth
Dry mouth. Photo Credit: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, can cause serious problems that affect the enjoyment of food and the condition of the mouth. Without saliva, food and bacteria linger in the mouth, accelerating tooth decay. In addition, lack of saliva alters the taste of food and prevents the start of digestion. There are numerous causes of a dry mount including medication, cancer therapy, and Jorgen’s Syndrome, according to academic papers published on the University of Chicago at Illinois website In addition to medication, treatment also includes altering the diet with natural foods.

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Drink water.
Drink water. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

The American Cancer Society recommends drinking 8 to 10 cups of liquids a day when suffering from a dry mouth. It is especially important to drink liquids during meal times. The chosen liquids should be sugar free, given the propensity for tooth decay with dry mouth. Water is the preferred beverage, according to the University of Illinois at Chicago, but sugar free juices, caffeine free diet soda, sports drinks, club soda, and decaffeinated hot tea with lemon are also acceptable. Folks with a dry mouth may have less of a desire to eat due to the taste changes, and the American Cancer Society suggests nutritional supplements or milkshakes to help meet needs while keeping the mouth moist.

Soft Foods, Moist Foods

Popsicles. Photo Credit: CharlieAJA/iStock/Getty Images

The American Cancer Society says to eat soft foods with xerostomia. It also suggests that foods be eaten at room temperature. Examples of soft natural foods for people with a dry mouth include tender meats, chicken, and fish, smooth peanut butter, cream soups, strained soups, cottage cheese, yogurt, canned fruits, soft cooked/blended vegetables, mashed potatoes, soft cooked pasta, cooked cereals, ice cream, pudding, popsicles, smoothies and slushies. The American Cancer Society also suggests using gravies, sauces, and broth to add moisture to foods to ease swallowing.

Foods That Stimulate Saliva

Sugar free gum.
Sugar free gum. Photo Credit: hanhanpeggy/iStock/Getty Images

According to Sjorgen’s Syndrome Foundation, sugar free candies, sugar free gum, diabetic candies, fruit pits of the cherry or olive and lemon rinds can help stimulate saliva. They recommend foods sweetened with xylitol, which has been shown to help prevent tooth decay. The American Cancer Society also suggests lemon drops to stimulate saliva.

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