Tips for Dealing With Dry Mouth When You Have LEMS

Emily Malcolm, PhD avatar

by Emily Malcolm, PhD |

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LEMS, dry mouth

Dry mouth is a common symptom of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) — a rare autoimmune disease marked by muscle weakness that starts in the lower limbs.

The disease can affect the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, which is involved in saliva production, among other things.

If you have dry mouth, discuss available treatments with your physician.

Here are some tips that may also help you:

Stay hydrated

Take small sips of water or sugar-free drinks throughout the day to keep your mouth moist. Some patients may prefer sucking on ice chips throughout the day.

Chew sugar-free gum

Chewing gum or sucking on candy can help stimulate saliva production. However, stick to sugar-free gums and candies as dry mouth can make your teeth and gums more prone to infections and sugar can exacerbate these problems.

Also be aware that some people are more sensitive to xylitol (an artificial sweetener), which can cause diarrhea or gas if consumed in large amounts.

Consider over-the-counter saliva substitutes

Saliva substitutes are over-the-counter sprays that can help the mouth stay moist. They come in different brands, some of which may work better than others. Ask your physician for a recommendation.

Breathe through your nose

Try to make it a habit of breathing through your nose instead of your mouth to ensure your mouth stays moist.

Use a humidifier in your home and office

A humidifier can help your mouth and air passages stay moist when you breathe and speak.

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco

Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, which can dry out and irritate your mouth, worsening the symptoms of dry mouth.

Avoid over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants

Antihistamines and decongestants can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms so minimize their use as much as you can.

Brush with fluoride toothpaste

Saliva is important in maintaining the health of your gums and teeth. Brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss. Ask your dentist if you need a prescription fluoride or medicated toothpaste to reduce the risk of infection and tooth decay.


Last updated: Jan. 14, 2020


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