Q: I have severely dry mouth and severely dry eyes and am looking for products that can help, thank you!

A: Before discussing treatments it is important to understand that there is usually a cause for dry mouth and dry eyes. Those are unnatural conditions, especially when they persist over time. It is important to search for the cause(s) and eliminate them if possible. If the cause cannot be eliminated, safe treatments must be sought.

The first place I’d look is in any medicines or supplements you may be using on a regular basis. Many drugs are directly associated with dryness. Investigate each drug for the possible association but don’t stop any prescribed medication without checking with your doctor.

Next, consider allergies – to food, clothing, detergents, cosmetics, and so on. Everything can be a cause of allergy. To check the possibility, use an elimination process. Make a list of everything and stop one them at a time for ten days. Determine if the dryness is the same, then do the same with the next item on your list. I suggest keeping a written record of this process.

When possible causes are ruled out, the search begins for treatments. Eye drops work – but avoid ones that also contain preservatives of any kind. Practically speaking, ALL eyedrops that come in a multi-use bottle contain a preservative. Truly preservative-free eyedrops come in unit-of-use containers. Each dropper contains just enough for one or two applications. They are simple solutions of cellulose in saline that help relieve and soothe dry eyes. Any popular brand is fine. I’ve successfully used the Genteel brand for years without a single problem.

Dry mouth can be relieved somewhat by using products that contain xylitol – lozenges, candies, gums, and mouthwashes.