Picture yourself getting ready to speak in public and suddenly you notice the dreaded dry mouth dilemma. This is an all too common symptom associated with fear of public speaking, so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you.

The goal is to keep yourself well-hydrated. Here are important tips to keep in mind the next time this happens to you:

1. Stress makes a dry mouth worse. When we get nervous certain stress hormones that affect salivation are liberated in the bloodstream. If chronic dry mouth is a problem for you and your doctor has given you a clean bill of health, it’s probably stress related. Sure, relaxation techniques can help, but the most effective, long-lasting way to deal with stress is to gain awareness of the unconscious psychological attitudes that are causing the stress in the first place.

2. Add a little lemon juice to your water. The tartness stimulates the flow of saliva. And remember to drink at least 8 (or more!) glasses of water a day. Keep sipping that water throughout the day.  Air conditioning and heating systems are dehydrating and you may need even more water than you think!

3. Try chewing some gum. Gum stimulates saliva flow. Choose sugarless gum to prevent tooth decay. Just remember to take it out of your mouth before you speak!

4.  Avoid salty foods. Even though you may not add additional salt to your food, there is a lot of hidden sodium in the average American diet, especially in fast foods, Chinese foods, cold cuts and processed foods. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables.

5. Certain medications produce dry mouth. Consult with your physician or pharmacist to see what alternatives exist.

Chronic dry mouth can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease, so make sure you get regular check ups.

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