I’ve seen new gums available on the market with green tea and advertising targeted to people with dry mouth. Will this help with Sjögren’s dry mouth or should they be avoided?
Chewing of gum, sucking of lozenges or other solid objects (such as cherry pits, buttons, or even small stones as the Indians did when riding horseback through deserts or plains for days on end) can mechanically stimulate saliva production. We have recently shown that drinking 4 cups of green tea per day for a 1- to 3- month period can not only clinically increase saliva production to a small exetent but can significantly decrease the viscosity of the saliva, making it less ropey. Another method of stimulating saliva is to gently massage the cheek area with a mug of warm liquid in the direction from the ear lobe to the front of the cheek.
We also have made a comparison of the effectiveness of green tea chewing gum in comparison to regular chewing gum to stimulate saliva production. However, there were quality control issues with the green tea gum in that some of the pieces within the package would crumble into an unpalatable powder-like mixture yet other pieces in the same package were quite pleasant. As a result we have no evidence to support the notion that chewing green tea chewing gum is any more effective in saliva production than chewing regular chewing gum. Gum sweetened with xylitol or licorice-root would be preferred to those sweetened with sugar, aspartame, or other artificial sweeteners.