A recent discussion on the perennial problem of dry mouth took place this week on our private Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/HNCSupport.Aotearoa/

I made my usual suggestions of Xylimelts and Oral 7 and people came up with more ideas and sources. It can be hard to get products at a reasonable price in New Zealand. A water bottle is fine but water alone doesn’t fix a dry mouth for long and means multiple trips to the toilet, especially at night when you need your sleep.

Xylimelts can be expensive and have to be ordered from overseas. (Some of our members have found cheaper sources, fortunately as you can see here. This is via Amazon. Not sure if the purchaser is in NZ. They are little Xylitol discs which adhere to the gum and release sticky sweet moisture into your mouth for hours. Xylitol is good for the teeth so there’s a double benefit You can buy them in bulk straight from Oracort, the manufacturers.

Oral 7 products moisturize the mouth and create a healthy oral environment. I find their gel useful as well as the mouthwash in a little spray bottle. Their toothpaste is lovely but I think we need to use Neutrafluor 5000 toothpaste too. I carry Oral 7 and a drink bottle wherever I go and alternate their toothpaste and Neutrafluor.  It’s affordable at the Chemist Warehouse.

Spry gum is chewing gum containing Xylitol, the alternative sweetener which as said before, is good for your teeth. Chewing something, anything, stimulates saliva production. Easy to buy in lots of places.


Pilocarpine is a drug used for dry mouth and eyes. There are mixed benefits and side effects from what I’ve heard. It would pay to ask about it if you are in serious trouble with dry mouth.

One of our members uses an ingenious solution for dry mouth at night. We often sleep with our mouths hanging open and dribbling slightly, thus losing moisture. I know I do. His solution was to line his mouth with a moisturizer and tape his mouth 2/3 shut with surgical tape.

I have found that fellow patients sometimes have better tips for dry mouth than doctors. You have to experience it to know how annoying and frustrating it is. It would be interesting to hear of any tips other patients have or any information from health care workers.