Managing swallowing problems due to dry mouth
People who have COPD often experience dry mouth. Dry mouth can be related to oxygen use (via a mask or nasal prongs), use of a CPAP machine, mouth breathing or medications.
Having a dry mouth is uncomfortable, can increase the risk of dental problems and can cause swallowing problems. To reduce dry mouth symptoms:
- Sip fluids frequently throughout the day.
- Always rinse and gargle after taking your medication or inhalers.
- Use artificial saliva products (for example, Biotene® or Oralube®), available at your local pharmacy, or other oral lubricants (for example, grape seed oil flavoured with peppermint essence).
- Suck sugar free lollies or chew sugar-free gum.
- Avoid medicated lozenges or alcohol-based mouthwashes.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods and avoid smoking.
- Regularly brush your teeth and gums (or clean your dentures) to reduce bacteria build up in your mouth.
- Have regular dental check-ups.
- Talk to your GP about reviewing the medications you are taking.