6 Tips To Relieve Dry Mouth From Stress

6 Tips To Relieve Dry Mouth From Stress

With prolonged stress, there is a good chance that you will suffer from physical complaints such as a dry mouth and throat due to stress.

This will force you to drink enough water to prevent dry mouth and bad breath.

Discover in this article what causes a dry mouth due to feelings of stress and tension complaints and 6 effective tips to prevent and remedy this.

Purpose of this article: If you often have a dry mouth as a result of stress, it is no fun. That’s why I’m going to tell you everything you need to get rid of a dry mouth and throat caused by stress. Because there’s nothing worse than having a dry mouth that you can’t do anything about.

Why do you get a dry mouth and throat when you’re stressed?

There are several reasons why you get a dry mouth and throat when you are under prolonged stress.

Let’s take a look at why exactly you can suffer from a dry mouth and a dry throat.

A lack of saliva

The first thing you might think of when you think about a dry mouth and throat is a lack of saliva.

Man holding his throat due to sore throat and dry mouth from stress

And that is indeed one of the reasons why you can get a dry mouth and a dry throat.

You may have never thought about it, but saliva has several functions:

  • It keeps your mouth moist and comfortable.
  • It helps you chew, taste, and swallow.
  • It fights germs in your mouth and prevents bad breath.
  • It fights germs in your mouth and prevents bad breath.

Saliva is produced by your salivary glands. These are located in the mouth and in the tissue around the mouth. Saliva enters the mouth through the salivary ducts.

The salivary glands are controlled by the autonomic nervous system.

Prolonged stress disrupts the proper functioning of the autonomic nervous system so that your body no longer works as it should.

And this can also affect the muscles and nerves in and around your salivary glands. If these stop working as they should, less saliva is produced, which can make your mouth and throat dry.

Woman holding her hands to her throat due to a dry mouth due to stress

Breathe through your mouth

To smell, Mother Nature has given us a special organ: our nose. But this organ isn’t just designed for smelling. Your nose also allows you to breathe safely and efficiently.

When you breathe through your nose, foreign particles such as dust, allergens, and pollen are filtered through your nasal hairs. This prevents them from entering your lungs.

Two other very important functions of your nose are to humidify the air you breathe and regulate the temperature of this air. This makes it easier for your lungs to use this inhaled air.

Man who breathes through his mouth in his sleep

When you breathe through your nose, your nose also releases nitric oxide. This substance is a vasodilator, meaning it helps widen blood vessels. This improves the oxygen circulation in your body.

Under the influence of stress, however, you start to breathe in the wrong way, namely through your mouth.

Negative consequences of breathing through your mouth

The video below explains the negative consequences of breathing through your mouth:

There are no hairs in your mouth so that foreign substances cannot be filtered.

The inhaled air is also not moistened in your mouth and is not brought to the right temperature. You’ve probably noticed that when you breathe through your mouth on a cold winter’s day, you get a cloud of cold air in your lungs.

Breathing through your mouth also means no nitric oxide is released. This can cause the oxygen circulation in your body to go wrong and that can ensure that certain organs are not sufficiently nourished.

Woman breathing through her mouth

The composition of your saliva

According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine , saliva composition is affected by stress. This phenomenon resulted in a dry mouth in most subjects.

With short-term stress, more saliva protein immunoglobulin is produced. This substance helps the body’s immune system.

With prolonged stress, however, less of this protein is produced. This ensures fewer antibodies in your mouth and increases the risk of infections in the buccal mucosa, palate and tongue, which can make your mouth feel drier.


Another major cause of dry mouth and throat is the use of certain medications.

Medication in the form of many pills

For prolonged stress and anxiety, tranquilizers or benzodiazepines are often prescribed. These drugs have many unpleasant and even dangerous side effects. One of the less dangerous – but annoying – side effects is dry mouth.

What does stress do to your mouth?

Why stress can give you a dry mouth has already been discussed above. But stress can also cause a lot of other problems in your mouth.

teeth grinding

The dental name for teeth grinding is bruxism. This condition is mainly the result of stress.

You may have noticed yourself that when you are under stress you try to get rid of this nervous tension by grinding your teeth.

Man grinding his teeth

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to your skull at the level of your temples. This joint is responsible for moving your jaw up and down and side to side when you speak, eat, or yawn.

The more often you grind your teeth due to stress, the more this joint is put under stress. This can lead to pain, clicking, stiffness, and swelling of the temporomandibular joint.

Your jaw joint can even be completely locked as a result of which you can (temporarily) no longer open or close your mouth.

Sores in your mouth

A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry found that emotional stress is one of the leading causes of mouth sores.

These can occur in the form of canker sores. Canker sores are small gray-white spots with a red border that can form on the inside of your cheeks, your lips, your gums, your palate, and your tongue. Have you ever had canker sores then you probably know they can be painful?

Man with sores in his mouth hurting and holding his hand to his cheek

Cold sores are the second type of mouth ulcer. These are caused by the herpes simplex virus. They usually occur on or around your lips. A cold sore outbreak usually occurs when you are under stress.

What does stress do to your throat?

A dry throat is a nasty side effect of chronic stress, but stress can also cause other throat conditions.

It is mainly the stress hormones that are responsible for many throat problems.

These stress hormones cause your muscles to tense, including the muscles in your throat.

Man holding his hand to his throat and looking up through the sore throat

A lump in your throat

A lump in the throat is also often referred to as the globus sensation.

You probably know that annoying feeling like something is stuck in your throat. Many people experience this feeling when they are sad. But chronic stress can also contribute to this feeling. Research has shown that as many as 96% of people with globus sensation experience a worsening of symptoms during stressful periods.

That lump in your throat can even make you feel like you can’t breathe, which can even lead to hyperventilation.

Dysphagia (swallowing problems)

Dysphagia is the scientific name for difficulty swallowing.

Have you ever experienced that when you have to give a presentation you have to swallow before you can speak? The stress causes all the muscles responsible for swallowing to tense.

Woman with a glass of water in her hand who has difficulty swallowing

With prolonged stress, these muscles are constantly tense, which can lead to chronic swallowing problems.

Voice problems

Are you also someone who constantly coughs and often suffers from a hoarse voice? These problems can also be caused by prolonged stress.

On top of your windpipe is your larynx with your vocal cords in it. When you breathe they are wide open. When you want to talk, they contract, creating a crack. This creates a pressure difference, your vocal cords vibrate and sound is created.

Different muscles push the vocal cords open and closed. Normally this happens in an undulating motion.

Woman having trouble with her voice and holding her hand to her throat

These muscles also tense under the influence of stress hormones. This is why you often cough when you are under prolonged stress and your voice sometimes sounds hoarse.

Tips to reduce a dry mouth and a dry throat due to stress

Dry mouth can be very annoying, but it can also cause other problems.

You get cavities in your teeth more quickly, you are more sensitive to fungal infections in your mouth and your gums can become inflamed.

A dry mouth is very annoying for yourself, but also for others. The drier your mouth, the worse your breath will smell.

Dentist who whitens teeth

There are some remedies to reduce dry mouth and dry throat.

Tip #1: Drink enough water

Prevention is better than cure. That’s why keeping your body hydrated is important if you often experience dry mouth due to stress.

The first step is to make sure you drink enough water.

Try to drink at least 8 to 12 glasses of water daily and a little more if it is warm.

Always keep a bottle of water handy so that you can quickly take a sip of water if you notice that your mouth and throat feel dry.

Woman holding out a glass of water to the camera

Tip #2: Breath through your nose

Concentrate on breathing through your nose instead of your mouth.

Occasional mouth breathing due to a temporary illness, such as a cold, is not a cause for concern.

However, chronic mouth breathing due to stress can be a signal that a person needs additional medical intervention or retraining to breathe through the nose more easily.

Tip #3: Chewing gum or hard candies

Chewing gum or candies can help with a dry mouth and throat. These stimulate the production of saliva. Choose sugar-free gum or candies.

Woman blowing a bubble from her chewing gum

Tip #4: Avoid alcohol, caffeine, soda, and fruit juice

A glass of soda or fruit juice can be very refreshing and temporarily relieve the feeling of dry mouth.

However, in the long run, this is not a good idea. Soft drinks and fruit juice contain a lot of sugar and in the long run sugar dries out your mouth again. In addition, sugars feed the fungi on your tongue. These concerns exacerbate foul-smelling breath.

Caffeine and alcohol on the other hand have a diuretic effect and to prevent a dry mouth you need just more moisture.

In any case, it is always better to avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks when you are under stress. These also play a very negative role in headaches caused by stress.

Five bottles with different colors of drink

Mouthwash is a great way to fight bad breath. Very often, however, mouthwash contains alcohol, which in turn has a negative influence on dry mouth.

If you do choose to use mouthwash, check the composition carefully. There are also mouthwashes especially for dry mouth.

Tip #5: Quit smoking

Smoking not only has a negative impact on your general health, but it also dries out your mouth and throat.

Smoking and a dry mouth is a dangerous combination. Smoking makes your mouth less able to repair itself. Therefore, avoid these complications while you still can.


Tip #6: Use a humidifier

Use a humidifier at night, especially in winter. No, that’s not one of those air fresheners you hang in the toilet.

Humidity acts as a natural moisturizer that can relieve dryness. For this reason, humidifiers are often used to relieve:

  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Dry skin
  • Nosebleeds
  • Chapped lips
  • Dry cough

The air you breathe is already a bit moister so that when you do breathe through your mouth, it does not dry out so quickly.

Humidifier that injects moisture into the air

Address the cause of your dry mouth

You now know what you can do against a dry mouth and a dry throat due to stress. But these tips only remedy these complaints temporarily.

The most important thing you can do if you often experience dry mouth from stress is to address the underlying cause of that dry feeling. And that’s stress!

If you want to be permanently rid of a dry mouth and a dry throat, you will have to take more drastic measures and do your best to live a stress-free life.

This is important not only to avoid annoying symptoms such as dry mouth and throat but also to ensure your general physical and mental health.

Woman smiling broadly

Prolonged stress can wear you out over time and have extreme effects on your general health.

PS Do you also suffer from a dry mouth due to stress? Do you also notice that this affects your health? Leave a comment below.


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