Xerostomia or Dry Mouth is a condition where your mouth does not make enough saliva.

If the salivary glands do not make enough saliva then the mouth feels dry and uncomfortable.

Saliva controls bacteria and prevents infection. It also helps in moistening and swallowing food.

Xerostomia is usually a side effect of some therapy and medication.

Is your mouth feeling extremely dry lately? You may have xerostomia.

This is an extensive article on Dry Mouth, learn about the symptoms, treatment and remedies of this condition.

man with dry mouth symptoms

Dry Mouth Symptoms

If you have a Dry Mouth your mouth will have less saliva.

Hence, it will dry out and make your mouth sticky void of any moisture.

This eventually means you will yearn for water and frequently feel thirsty.

Your breath may also stink leading to halitosis.

Your saliva becomes stringy and thick even if it is in less quantity.

The throat becomes sore and extremely dry, you will notice some hoarseness as well.

There can be a burning sensation in the mouth occasionally which is especially felt in the tongue.

The tongue will also become dry, red and raw and you will notice a different sense of taste in your mouth.

This is accompanied by difficulty in speaking, swallowing and chewing as the tongue is dry and will not function properly.

This means that people with dentures will especially find it difficult to wear them and prevent them from slipping.

Alongside you can also get sores inside your mouth occasionally.

Not only that but you may also notice cracked lips and sore or cracked skin at the mouth corners once in a while.

If you notice these symptoms then it is highly likely that you have this condition and your salivary glands are producing less saliva than usual.

But why is it happening?

Let’s find out below.

woman taking medicines causing dry mouth

Causes

The salivary glands in the mouth are responsible to secrete saliva and keep your mouth moist and wet.

However, salivary glands may stop secreting enough saliva due to several reasons.

These include:

  • Medicines

It is highly likely that dry mouth is a side effect of certain routine medications.

Even over-the-counter medications can lead to xerostomia.

Some of the medicines like anti-depressants, pain relievers, medicines that treat anxiety, high blood pressure and muscle relaxants are the kind of medicines that can lead to a dry mouth.

Though, it can also be a side effect of prescription drugs for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and asthma.

  • Old Age

Your mouth can become drier as you age and its contributing factor is also medication.

However, other factors such as chronic health problems, improper nutrition and the body’s inability to process medicines adequately also lead to xerostomia.

  • Smoking and Alcohol

Any tobacco product can cause dry mouth including smoking. So even if you chew on tobacco or beetle nuts or smoke you are at risk of getting this condition.

Drinking alcohol as well can increase and lead to the symptoms of dry symptoms.

  • Radiation and Chemotherapy

Cancer is a terrible disease but its therapy can also lead to certain other issues in the body such as the dry mouth.

If you get radiation therapy for the head and neck area, then it may damage the salivary glands.

As a result, the saliva production will stop and you will see a drastic drop in your saliva.

However, this can be temporary if your radiation dose is not high but in some cases, it can also be permanent depending on your treatment area.

Chemotherapy treatment and drugs can decrease saliva production as well as the nature of the saliva.

However, this can also be temporary and as the treatment concludes your saliva levels can get back to normal.

  • Health problems

This condition is not only a side effect of medicines but can also stem as a side effect of the medical health problem itself.

Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, HIV Aids,  diabetes, stroke and autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren’s syndrome lead to a dry mouth.

Moreover, if you have any nerve injury or nerve damage, it can result in less production of saliva.

  • Drugs

We are not talking about medicines but recreational drugs.

Methamphetamine and marijuana can lead to damage inside the mouth plus teeth and dry mouth.

Hence, if you take recreational drugs then you may be susceptible to this condition.

  • Sleeping position

If you sleep with your mouth open or snore then you are also likely to have a dry mouth at night and bad breath when you wake up.

  • Dehydration

If you are frequently dehydrated and are undergoing conditions such as fever, diarrhea and burns in the mouth then you are prone to this condition.

These are the reasons why you may get a dry mouth however, these can also lead to severe complications.

Complications-Why Do You Need to Cure it?

If you do not treat your condition on time then it can further lead to a few problems.

Untreated xerostomia eventually causes cavities, gingivitis and plaque.

It will also interfere with your ability to swallow, eat and chew.

Moreover, you may develop mouth sores, as well as cracked sides of the mouth and lips.

Some people may also get a yeast infection and thrush if the xerostomia persists.

All of this will affect your ability to eat well and you may have poor nutrition while you have this condition.

Hence, you will have to treat it either with remedies or medical treatment.

dentist treating patient

Dry Mouth Treatment

Your doctor will assess your condition and medications which are most likely to cause the dry mouth.

They may also ask you to get imaging scans to determine the amount of saliva your salivary glands are producing.

Moreover, your doctor will devise the treatment according to the cause of the condition.

If medicines are causing it, then they may make a few changes to your routine medicines and either reduce the dosage or prescribe a different medicine.

Mouth rinses, moisturizers and artificial saliva can help moisten your mouth.

Some over-the-counter and prescription mouthwashes are especially for curing Dry Mouth and they can help lubricate the mouth.

These alongside fluoride trays also help to protect your mouth from tooth decay.

You can wear these trays overnight that will provide your teeth with fluoride and stop the buildup of cavities.

Additionally, they may suggest taking a medicine that will stimulate saliva production in your mouth.

However, it is also much easier to control Dry Mouth by using some home remedies to treat it.

More on this below.

pouring water in a glass

Dry Mouth Remedies

If you have this condition, you may have difficulty chewing, eating and swallowing.

Therefore you should drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and keep your mouth moist.

This will aid your mouth to chew and swallow as your mouth will remain wet.

Accompany food with water so that you swallow easily and you can also drink sugar-free drinks.

Sugar-free chewing gum contains xylitol which helps prevent cavities but it also helps keep your mouth moist with saliva.

Hence, chew sugar free gum or sucking a sugar-free candy will ensure that your mouth never stays dry longer.

Moreover, you may like to practice breathing through your nose.

Breathing through the mouth causes your mouth to become dry.

Moreover, if you snore and keep your mouth open at night you will have a dry mouth in the morning.

Hence, to prevent dry mouth while sleeping you should keep your mouth shut and breathe through your nose.

Though snoring may be the reason why you breathe through your mouth hence, seek professional help and treatment to get rid of snoring while sleeping.

You should also get some mouth rinses and mouthwashes that help to treat this condition.

Fluoride toothpaste and rinses can also help keep the cavities and decay away while you try to protect your mouth from drying.

Furthermore, you may want to breathe through your mouth because of a lack of moisture in the room.

You can solve this by using an air humidifier in your room while you sleep to maintain moisture in air that does not force you to open your mouth to breathe.

Additionally, you should also moisturize your lips by using a lip mask or a lip balm and keep it moist enough so that your lips do not crack because of the condition.

Eating certain foods such as carrots or celery may also help reduce xerostomia.

avoid smoking

Things To Avoid

You have your list of to-do’s but there is also one of the don’ts.

You should avoid wearing dentures at night if you suffer from xerostomia.

Moreover, as tobacco and alcohol can increase dry mouth, avoid smoking, drinking, chewing on tobacco products as they will cause irritation.

You should also not choose a mouth wash or mouth rinse that contains alcohol.

Additionally, caffeine can also irritate the mouth, hence try to not drink coffee and tea when you are trying to cure this condition through remedies.

You should also avoid spicy foods as well as sugary foods and candy as they can increase irritation and the chance of cavities and tooth decay, which you are already prone to if you have a dry mouth.

Hence, avoid any spicy, salty and sugary candies to not worsen your condition.

Antihistamines and decongestants also worsen dry mouth so you should avoid taking them.

dry mouth in a woman

Overview

Regular visits to the dentist and keeping your mouth moist can help you overcome Dry Mouth.

Dry Mouth is uncomfortable and also embarrassing though it is completely curable.

Hence, implement these remedies and visit your dentist to treat your dry mouth properly medically.