Do you have a dry or sore mouth?

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A dry or sore mouth can be caused by medication or treatment, breathing through your mouth when you sleep and when the salivary glands in your mouth don’t produce enough saliva. Some of the following suggestions may help:

  • Make sure you drink plenty of fluids to keep you hydrated.
  • Have frequent drinks and sip these throughout the day, especially with meals – food will get moist and will therefore be much easier to chew and swallow.
  • Try having softer meals and avoid sticky, dry or rough-textured foods such as chocolate, pastry, toast, or raw vegetables.
  • Keep your food moist by adding sauces or gravies.
  • Drinking nourishing fluids can help if you find eating difficult. Milky drinks, smoothies and creamy soups are nutritious.
  • Fizzy drinks may help your mouth feel fresher.
  • Sucking ice lollies or ice cubes can help to moisten your mouth and relieve soreness. Ice cream or milky puddings can also be soothing.
  • Sucking boiled sweets or chewing gum can help stimulate saliva production.
  • Tinned pineapple cubes, pineapple juice or pieces of cucumber, apple or tomato may make your mouth feel fresher *
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Oral hygiene is important. You can clean your tongue using a bicarbonate of soda solution. Use a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda dissolved in a pint (570ml) of warm water. Clean your tongue with a soft tooth brush or foam stick dipped in the solution. Speak to your treatment team for more advice on mouth care.
  • If you wear dentures, leave them out between mealtimes to prevent them rubbing against your gums.
  • Remember to tell your Doctor or Nurse about your symptoms as they may be able to recommend a mouth spray, gel or mouthwash for you.

* Advice for if you also have a sore mouth:

  • Sharp flavours such as lemon may help your mouth produce more saliva, however, avoid sharp flavours if you are suffering with a sore mouth – try blackcurrant or rosehip syrup, peach juice or peach nectar instead.
  • If you have a sore mouth avoid acidic, spicy and salty foods such as vinegar, citrus fruits, curries or crisps, as these may sting your mouth.
  • Cold foods and drinks may be more soothing, or try having foods at room temperature if very hot or cold foods irritate your mouth.
  • Try drinking fluids through a straw. This may also help to minimise any reactions to an unpleasant smell or taste of foods and drink.