The Best and Worst Foods and Drinks for Dry Mouth

dry mouth

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a common condition that affects many people. It occurs when there is not enough saliva production in the mouth, making it uncomfortable and difficult to speak, eat, and swallow. If you suffer from dry mouth, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Fortunately, there are things you can do to alleviate the symptoms, including adjusting your diet.

Certain foods and drinks can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms, while others can alleviate them. The best and worst foods and drinks for dry mouth can vary depending on the individual. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you make good choices when planning your meals. Knowing what to eat and what to avoid can make a huge difference in your level of comfort when dealing with dry mouth.

One of the most common and uncomfortable symptoms of dry mouth is a constant feeling of parchedness and thirst. Fortunately, there are foods and drinks that can help alleviate the discomfort. Here are some foods that can help relieve dry mouth:

Hydrating Foods

Consuming foods with high water content is key to combating dry mouth. Opt for fruits and vegetables with high water content such as watermelon, cucumbers, citrus fruits, carrots, and strawberries. These foods can help hydrate your mouth and body, keeping you feel hydrated throughout the day.

Sugar-Free Gum and Mints

Chewing sugar-free gum and sucking on sugar-free mints can help increase saliva production and relieve dry mouth. Saliva plays a crucial role in lubricating the mouth and helping digest food. However, be sure to choose sugar-free options as sugary products may lead to tooth decay.

Soft and Moist Foods

Eating soft and moister foods can help stimulate saliva production and offer relief from dry mouth. Some good options include soups, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, and yogurt. In addition, adding sauces, gravies, and dressings to foods can also help moisten dry foods for an easier eating experience.

Herbal Tea

Drinking herbal teas, particularly those that contain marshmallow root, slippery elm, chamomile, or licorice, can help soothe the mouth and throat. These teas contain natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help lubricate the mouth, easing the discomfort associated with dry mouth.

Foods High in Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining healthy saliva production and preventing dry mouth. Some foods that are high in vitamin B12 include salmon, tuna, beef, milk, and yogurt. Incorporating more of these foods into your diet may help alleviate dry mouth symptoms.

Incorporating these foods into your diet can help alleviate symptoms of dry mouth and improve your overall oral health. Remember to also drink plenty of water throughout the day and avoid consuming alcohol, caffeine, and smoking as they can further worsen dry mouth symptoms.

If you have dry mouth, it’s important to be mindful of what you eat and drink. Some foods can make dry mouth worse, which can lead to discomfort, mouth sores, and other issues. In this section, we’ll cover some of the foods to avoid if you have dry mouth.

  1. Salty Foods: Salty foods can make dry mouth worse because they cause you to feel even more thirsty. In addition, they can irritate your already sensitive oral tissues, making them sore and uncomfortable. Be mindful of your salt intake and avoid overly salty foods.
  2. Sugary Foods: Sugary foods can be harmful to your teeth when you have dry mouth because saliva helps to rinse away bacteria and neutralize acids in your mouth. Without enough saliva, sugary foods can stick to your teeth and cause decay. In addition, sugary foods can increase your thirst and make your mouth feel even drier.
  3. Dry Foods: Foods that are dry, such as toast or crackers, can be difficult to chew and swallow when you have dry mouth. They can also absorb any remaining moisture in your mouth, which can make your mouth even drier. Try to opt for foods with more moisture, such as soups or stews.
  4. Hard and Crunchy Foods: Hard and crunchy foods like chips, hard candy, or nuts can be difficult to eat when you have dry mouth. They can also irritate your oral tissues, making them sore and uncomfortable. It’s best to avoid these types of foods and opt for softer options instead.
  5. Alcohol: Alcohol is notorious for dehydrating the body, including your mouth. It reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth, which can make dry mouth worse. In addition, alcohol can irritate your oral tissues and increase your risk of mouth sores.

By avoiding these foods and drinks, you can help manage the symptoms of dry mouth and improve your overall oral health. However, if you’re unsure about what to eat or have any concerns, it’s always best to consult with your dentist or healthcare provider.

If you suffer from dry mouth, incorporating more fluids into your diet is key to keeping your mouth hydrated. However, not all liquids are created equal. Here are some drinks that can help alleviate dry mouth symptoms:

Drinks That Can Hydrate a Dry Mouth

1. Water

It’s not surprising that water tops the list of drinks that can hydrate a dry mouth. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help keep your mouth moist and prevent the buildup of bacteria that can cause bad breath.

2. Herbal Tea

Herbal teas like chamomile, mint, and ginger can be soothing and hydrating for dry mouth sufferers. Many of these teas also have natural anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and discomfort.

3. Coconut Water

Coconut water is a natural source of electrolytes and can be a great way to hydrate your body and moisten your mouth. Be mindful of the sugar content in some brands, however, as excessive sugar intake can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms.

4. Milk

Milk is a great source of calcium and vitamin D, and can also help relieve dry mouth symptoms. Opt for low-fat or fat-free milk to avoid excessive calorie intake.

5. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can help stimulate saliva production and moisten a dry mouth. However, be sure to dilute it with water and avoid excessive consumption, as the acidity of lemon juice can potentially damage tooth enamel.

Remember to always consult with your doctor or dentist if you experience persistent dry mouth. In addition to incorporating these drinks into your diet, they may be able to recommend additional treatments or strategies to help alleviate your symptoms.

Drinks to Avoid with Dry Mouth

Staying hydrated is crucial when you have dry mouth, but not all drinks are created equal. Some drinks can actually make dry mouth worse, so it’s important to choose your beverages wisely. Here are some drinks to avoid if you have dry mouth:

1. Alcohol

Alcohol can be extremely dehydrating, which is the last thing you want when you’re already struggling with dry mouth. In fact, alcohol is one of the worst things you can drink if you have dry mouth. It not only dehydrates you but also reduces saliva production, making your mouth even drier.

2. Coffee and Tea

Coffee and tea are known to be diuretics, which means they increase urination and can ultimately lead to dehydration. Additionally, the caffeine in these drinks can also reduce saliva production in some people, making dry mouth worse. If you do choose to drink coffee or tea, make sure to drink enough water to counteract their dehydrating effects.

3. Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks like soda and fruit juice can be harmful to your teeth and gums, and they can also cause dry mouth. The sugar in these drinks can feed harmful bacteria in your mouth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Additionally, many sugary drinks are acidic, which can damage your tooth enamel and exacerbate dry mouth symptoms.

4. Citrus Juices

Although citrus juices like orange juice and grapefruit juice are high in vitamin C and other nutrients, they can be extremely acidic. The acid in these juices can irritate your mouth and make dry mouth symptoms worse. If you do choose to drink citrus juice, try to drink it with a meal to minimize its acidic effects.

By avoiding these drinks and opting for water and other hydrating beverages, you can help alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth and improve your overall oral health.

When it comes to managing dry mouth, choosing the right foods and drinks can make a significant difference in reducing discomfort and improving oral health. As mentioned earlier, sugary items should be avoided as they can lead to tooth decay and exacerbate dry mouth symptoms. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious sugar-free options available that are not only enjoyable but also beneficial for managing dry mouth.

One of the best options for combating dry mouth is water – it’s sugar-free, calorie-free, and helps to hydrate your mouth and body. In addition to water, there are a variety of other beverages that can help alleviate dry mouth, such as:

  • Sugar-free (unsweetened) teas and herbal infusions, which can be enjoyed hot or cold.
  • Sugar-free juices, such as Cranberry or Grapefruit juice, which can provide flavor without the added sugars.
  • Non-dairy milk alternatives, such as soy or almond milk.

When it comes to snacks, choosing foods with high water content is key. This can include:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables like watermelon, cucumber, celery, oranges, and grapefruit.
  • Sugar-free yogurt, puddings, and gelatins, which can be a great way to add some variety to your diet while providing hydration and flavor.

Additionally, incorporating healthy fats and proteins, such as avocado, nuts, and lean meats, can help to promote saliva production and reduce dry mouth symptoms.

In summary, choosing sugar-free options that promote hydration and provide essential nutrients is essential when it comes to managing dry mouth. By incorporating water, teas, non-dairy milk alternatives, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats and proteins into your diet, you can help to alleviate symptoms and improve your oral health.

Alcoholic Beverages and Dry Mouth

Alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, a common cause of dry mouth. When you drink alcohol, it decreases your body’s production of an antidiuretic hormone, which regulates your body’s water balance. As a result, your kidneys produce more urine, making it easier to become dehydrated.

Moreover, most alcoholic beverages – including beer, wine, and spirits – contain tannins and acids that can dry out your mouth further. These compounds interfere with the production of saliva in the glands that produce it.

Some alcoholic beverages are worse than others when it comes to causing dry mouth. Here’s a breakdown of some of the best and worst drinks for people with dry mouth:

Best Drinks for Dry Mouth

  1. Water: Staying hydrated is key to preventing dry mouth, and water is the best way to do that.
  2. Non-alcoholic beer and wine: While they still contain tannins and acids, they don’t have the dehydrating effects of alcohol.
  3. Coconut water: Rich in electrolytes and natural sugars, coconut water can help replenish fluids and minerals lost through dehydration.

Worst Drinks for Dry Mouth

  1. Red wine: The tannins in red wine can be particularly drying to the mouth, exacerbating dry mouth symptoms.
  2. Spirits: Liquors like vodka, gin, and whiskey are highly concentrated and can be rough on the mouth. They also often contain mixers high in sugar, which can increase the risk of tooth decay.
  3. Beer: Although beer can be hydrating, it’s also alcoholic and contains tannins, which can cause dry mouth.

If you choose to drink alcohol, it’s important to do so in moderation. Remember to drink plenty of water alongside alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated, and avoid sugary mixers whenever possible.

Citrus Fruits and Dry Mouth

If you experience dry mouth, you might want to think twice before grabbing a citrus fruit. Although citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C and other healthy nutrients, they are highly acidic and can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms.

Acidic foods and beverages can irritate the mouth and cause discomfort for anyone, but especially for those with dry mouth. The acid can wear away the protective enamel on teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities and decay. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are known to be highly acidic and can make dry mouth worse.

In fact, consuming too much citrus can make saliva production slow down, leading to even drier mouth. Saliva helps to wash away food particles and neutralize acids in the mouth, so the less saliva you produce, the more you’re at risk for bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems.

If you can’t resist eating citrus fruits, try to consume them in moderation or pair them with other foods that can help neutralize the acid. You can also try drinking water or chewing sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva production and wash away the acid.

It’s also important to note that citrus isn’t the only culprit when it comes to acidic foods and dry mouth. Other acidic foods and drinks like tomatoes, pickles, coffee, and soda can also exacerbate dry mouth symptoms. So, if you’re struggling with dry mouth, it’s best to limit your intake of these foods and drinks altogether.

Below is a table outlining the acidity levels for some common citrus fruits:

Citrus Fruit pH Level
Lemon 2.00-2.60
Lime 1.80-2.80
Orange 3.00-4.00
Grapefruit 3.00-3.75

Remember, choosing the right foods and drinks can make a big impact on your oral health and comfort when you suffer from dry mouth. While you don’t have to avoid citrus fruits altogether, it’s important to consume them in moderation and take steps to protect your teeth and gums from the acid they contain.

Salty and Spicy Foods and Dry Mouth

Salty and spicy foods can be particularly problematic for those with dry mouth. Both types of foods are known to dehydrate the body, which can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms. Salty foods, in particular, can be very drying because they cause the body to release more urine, which depletes fluids from the body. When you eat salty foods and drink water to quench your thirst, your body can end up excreting the water you are drinking, leading to further dehydration.

Spicy foods, on the other hand, can cause irritation and inflammation in the mouth, which can worsen dry mouth symptoms. Additionally, many spicy foods are also high in sodium, which can lead to dehydration.

However, this does not mean that you have to completely avoid all salty and spicy foods. Here are a few tips to help you manage dry mouth symptoms when enjoying these types of foods:

  • Drink water before and during your meal to help keep your mouth hydrated.
  • Opt for mild or low-sodium versions of your favorite spicy and salty foods.
  • Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to help stimulate saliva production before and after eating spicy or salty foods.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as they can further dehydrate the body.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating to help remove any lingering spices or salt.

By following these tips, you can enjoy your favorite salty and spicy foods without worsening your dry mouth symptoms. Remember to always listen to your body and make adjustments as necessary.

When dining out with dry mouth, it can be challenging to find food and drinks that won’t worsen your symptoms. However, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can still enjoy a delicious meal without discomfort. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

Tips for Dining Out with Dry Mouth

  1. Choose foods that are high in moisture. Soups, stews, and broths are excellent options since they can help moisten the mouth. Steamed vegetables, salads with high-water content (like cucumbers or watermelon), and fruits with natural juices (such as grapes or oranges) are also good choices.
  2. Avoid spicy or acidic foods. These can make dry mouth symptoms worse and irritate the mouth. Opt for milder foods instead.
  3. Ask for extra sauce or dressing. Adding sauces or dressings to your meal can help moisten the mouth and make the food easier to swallow.
  4. Drink water or other non-sugary beverages throughout the meal. Sipping on water or unsweetened tea can help keep the mouth moist. Avoid sugary drinks, alcohol, and caffeine as these can dehydrate the body even more.
  5. Use sugar-free gum or lozenges. These can help stimulate saliva production and relieve dry mouth symptoms during and after the meal.
  6. Take your time. Eating slowly and chewing thoroughly can make it easier to swallow and reduce discomfort.
  7. Bring your own water bottle. If you’re going to a restaurant that doesn’t offer free refills or if you prefer a certain type of water, consider bringing your own water bottle.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy a meal out without having to worry about worsening your dry mouth symptoms. Additionally, make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of fluids and incorporate foods that are high in water content.


Having dry mouth can be uncomfortable and even painful at times. However, there are foods and drinks that you can consume to alleviate your symptoms. It’s important to stay hydrated and avoid certain foods and drinks that can exacerbate your dry mouth.

To recap, some of the best foods and drinks for dry mouth include:

  • Water
  • Sugar-free gum and mints
  • Moist foods like soups and stews
  • Fruits and vegetables with high water content
  • Unsweetened tea

On the other hand, it’s best to avoid or limit the intake of the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Sugary or acidic foods and drinks
  • Dry, hard, or spicy foods

Remember, everyone’s body is different, so it’s important to experiment with different foods and drinks to see what works best for you. If you’re still experiencing symptoms of dry mouth, consider seeing a healthcare professional for further evaluation and treatment.

In conclusion, by making some small adjustments to your diet, you can manage your dry mouth symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

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