6 Common Causes of Dry Mouth

Senior African American Woman Smiles at the CameraDry mouth can make it difficult to eat or talk, and may even cause nausea. It can also take a toll on your oral health. Excessive dry mouth can put you at increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay as saliva normally helps fight bacteria and keep your mouth healthy.

If you’re one of the many people who struggle with this condition, understanding the common causes can help you learn how to solve it.

Here are six of the most common reasons people experience dry mouth:

1. Dehydration

A common cause of dry mouth is simply dehydration. Staying hydrated is not only good for your oral health but also for your overall physical health. Make a habit of drinking at least 64 fluid ounces a day – that’s about the same amount of liquid you’d find in a two-liter bottle.

2. Smoking Tobacco

Smoking cigarettes and other products often leads to dry mouth. This is because the tobacco slows down how quickly your mouth produces saliva, which can aggravate the condition.

3. Side Effect

If you use certain medications or receive certain medical treatments, you may also experience dry mouth as a side effect. Common medications used to treat conditions such as anxiety, depression, colds, acne or diarrhea can cause it. In addition, some medical treatments such as chemotherapy or other forms of radiation treatment can also cause dry mouth.

If you suspect a medication is the cause of your condition, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about changing your prescription to help you manage your dry mouth.

4. Infection or disease

If you’re fighting an infection or suffering from a particular disease, you may experience dry mouth. These conditions include:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Diabetes
  • Strokes
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Anemia

5. Nerve damage

If you’ve suffered nerve damage after an injury or surgery, then you may have difficulty producing saliva in your mouth, ultimately leading to a chronic dry mouth.

6. Mouth Breathing

Breathing with your mouth open can also lead to a dry mouth. That’s because your body is best suited for inhaling through your nose, which naturally filters the air. Breathing through your mouth may cause your saliva to evaporate.

What Can I Do About Dry Mouth?

If you suspect that any of these issues are causing your dry mouth, consider making some lifestyle changes to reverse the effects. Drink more water, stop smoking, or ask your doctor about alternative medications.

If you continue experiencing dry mouth, you can also schedule an appointment with your dentist, who may be able determine the cause and help you find a solution.

About the Author

Russel Roderick, DDS

The information on this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Tooth Wisdom® and Oral Health America do not recommend or endorse any specific dentists, products, procedures, opinions, or other information mentioned. See full Terms & Conditions.

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