Uncovering the Truth About Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a common condition that affects many people. It occurs when your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. This can lead to a variety of discomforts and health issues. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for dry mouth can help you manage this condition



Here’s everything you need to know.


Causes of Dry Mouth


Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  1. Medications: Many prescription and over-the-counter medications list dry mouth as a side effect. This includes antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, diuretics, and medications for high blood pressure and depression.
  2. Aging: As people age, they often produce less saliva. Additionally, older adults are more likely to be on medications that can cause dry mouth.
  3. Medical Conditions: Certain health conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, and stroke can affect saliva production.
  4. Cancer Therapy: Chemotherapy drugs can change the nature and amount of saliva produced. Radiation therapy, especially when directed at the head and neck, can damage salivary glands.
  5. Nerve Damage: Injury or surgery that causes nerve damage in the head or neck can result in dry mouth.
  6. Lifestyle Factors: Smoking or chewing tobacco, and consuming alcohol can affect saliva production and contribute to dry mouth.


Symptoms of Dry Mouth


Dry mouth can present with various symptoms, including:


  • A dry or sticky feeling in the mouth and throat
  • Frequent thirst
  • Sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth
  • Cracked lips
  • A dry, rough tongue
  • A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and tongue
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • Hoarseness or dry nasal passages
  • Bad breath


Treatment Options for Dry Mouth

Managing dry mouth involves addressing the underlying cause and taking steps to relieve symptoms. Here are some effective treatment options:


  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist. Sipping water regularly can help alleviate dryness.
  2. Use Saliva Substitutes: Over-the-counter saliva substitutes and mouth moisturisers can provide temporary relief. Products like Biotene and Oasis are specifically designed to mimic saliva.
  3. Chew Sugar-Free Gum or Suck on Sugar-Free Lozenges: Chewing gum or sucking on lozenges stimulates saliva production. Opt for sugar-free options to protect your teeth from decay.
  4. Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can dehydrate your body and worsen dry mouth symptoms. Limit your intake of these substances.
  5. Quit Smoking: Smoking or using tobacco products can reduce saliva production. Quitting can improve your overall oral health and alleviate dry mouth.
  6. Use a Humidifier: Adding moisture to the air with a humidifier can help keep your mouth and throat from feeling dry, especially while you sleep.
  7. Adjust Your Medications: If your medications are causing dry mouth, talk to your doctor. They may be able to adjust your dosage or prescribe an alternative medication.
  8. Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash to avoid further drying out your mouth.
  9. Eat Moist Foods: Incorporate more liquid-based foods like soups and stews into your diet. Avoid dry and salty foods that can exacerbate dryness.
  10. Visit us Regularly: Regular dental check-ups are crucial for managing dry mouth. We can offer treatments to protect your teeth and gums from the effects of dry mouth.


We understand the challenges that dry mouth can bring. If you’re experiencing symptoms, book in for a consultation today for a comprehensive evaluation and personalised treatment plan to help manage and alleviate your discomfort.

Jun, 12, 2024