Dry mouth


Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, occurs when the salivary glands in the mouth fail to produce an adequate amount of saliva, leading to a lack of moisture in the oral cavity. This condition can be attributed to various factors, including aging, side effects of medications, or radiation therapy for cancer. Less commonly, dry mouth may result from an underlying medical condition directly affecting the salivary glands. Additionally, temporary episodes of dry mouth can occur when one is thirsty or experiencing anxiety.

For some individuals, dry mouth may be merely bothersome, while for others, it can significantly impact overall health as well as oral health, including the condition of their teeth and gums. Moreover, dry mouth may affect eating habits and overall enjoyment of food.

Effective treatment for dry mouth depends on the underlying cause.


You may experience all or most of these symptoms if your salivary flow is inadequate:

  • Bad breath
  • A sense of stickiness or dry mouth
  • Viscous and stringy saliva.
  • Dry nose
  • Extreme thirst
  • A dry or sorethroat and hoarse voice
  • Dry or grooved tongue
  • A modified taste perception
  • Issues in putting on dentures
  • A lipstick lodged in teeth
  • Having difficulty swallowing, speaking, or chewing

Severe symptoms could consist of:

  • Skin and eyes dryness
  • Decayed tooth
  • Skin rash
  • Rash on skin
  • Joint pain

Saliva plays a crucial role in preventing tooth decay by removing sugar and food particles from the mouth, as well as neutralizing and reducing the harmful effects of bacteria. When there is an insufficient amount of saliva, it can lead to difficulties in tasting, chewing, and swallowing food, and may even impact the digestion process.

If you consistently experience symptoms of dry mouth, it is advisable to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.


When the mouth’s salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to keep the mouth moist, dry mouth results. These glands may occasionally dysfunction because of:

  • Aging. As individuals age, dry mouth complaints are common in older adults. Dry mouth can be brought on by malnutrition, long-term health issues, and modifications in the way the body processes medications.
  • Medicines. Numerous over-the-counter and prescription medications are among the hundreds of medications that might induce dry mouth. Antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants, painkillers, and medications for anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure are among the medications that are more likely to result in side effects.
  • Nerve damage. Dry mouth may be the result of an injury or surgery that damages the nerves in the head and neck region.
  • Cancer therapy. Chemotherapy, a type of cancer treatment medication, can alter the nature and quantity of saliva produced. This might only last temporarily, and after the treatment is over, normal salivary flow will resume. Salivary gland damage from radiation therapy to the head and neck can significantly reduce saliva output. Depending on the location and radiation dose, this could last for a short while or a long time.
  • Snoring and mouth breathing. Dry mouth might result from breathing with your mouth open and snoring.
  • Tobacco and alcohol use. More symptoms of dry mouth might result from smoking, chewing tobacco, and alcohol consumption.
  • Using drugs, whether legal or illicit, that might be marketed on the streets. Using methamphetamine can harm teeth and cause severe dry mouth. Use of marijuana may also result in dry mouth.
  • Other health conditions. Certain medical disorders like diabetes, stroke, oral yeast infections, and Alzheimer’s disease can all contribute to dry mouth. Alternatively autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/ Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) may be the cause of dry mouth.

Risk factors

There is a greater chance of dry mouth in those who:

  • Are undergoing cancer treatment.
  • Suffer from medical illnesses such as diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, or HIV/AIDS.
  • Take medications that identify dry mouth as a potential adverse effect.
  • Have damage to the nerves in the head and neck region
  • Consume candy or foods high in sugar or acid
  • Utilize drugs from the streets
  • Smoke tobacco
  • Drink alcohol.