Are you experiencing persistent dryness in your mouth? 

If so, then it's time to pay attention! Xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth, is not just an uncomfortable sensation but can also lead to serious oral health issues. 

Dry Mouth Xerostomia Reasons Diagnosis And Treatment

From medications to dehydration and even certain lifestyle habits – there are numerous reasons behind this condition. 

In this blog post, we will explore the various causes of xerostomia and how you can combat it effectively.

What is Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)?

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, occurs when you do not produce enough saliva (spit). Saliva is necessary for good oral health. 

Tooth decay can be caused by a lack of saliva. Dry mouth symptoms include pain, sore throat, and difficulty swallowing. Steps to stimulate saliva production are part of the treatment for dry mouth.

Reasons for Dry Mouth

There are many potential reasons for dry mouth, which can make it a difficult condition to identify and treat.

Here are some of the most common reasons for dry mouth:

When the salivary glands generate less saliva, this results in dry mouth. The following are the most common causes of dry mouth:

1. Medications:

  • Radiation therapy, particularly for cancers of the head and neck.
  • Hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs can impair your body's saliva production. If you read the label on your prescription, you might notice "dry mouth" listed as a side effect.

2. Dehydration:

  • Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough water. For example, if you are unwell, do not drink enough water, or sweat excessively, you may become dehydrated.

3. Mouth Breathing: 

  • If you have a stuffy nose (nasal congestion), you may breathe through your mouth at night.

4. Medical Problems: 

  • Diabetes, Alzheimer's illness, stroke, and Sjogren's syndrome can all cause dry mouth. 
  • Sjogren's syndrome (SHOW-grins) is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks the moisture-producing glands. It typically affects women who have gone through menopause.
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Diagnosis and Tests for Xerostomia

A full history of habits, medical history, and medication usage is required for the diagnosis of xerostomia, followed by a thorough clinical examination.

The affected person's history may indicate the diagnostic cause.

A mouth mirror is used for clinical assessment. The mirror sticking to the inner membrane is a common symptom of xerostomia found during inspection.

To assess the severity of hyposalivation, salivary flow rates can be assessed both stimulated and unstimulated.

If your doctor senses an anomaly in your salivary glands or ducts, he may do a sialography to see what is wrong. 

An x-ray is taken after a radio-opaque ink is injected into the duct of the afflicted salivary gland. Blood CP, random blood sugar testing, urinalysis, and other appropriate assays and imaging techniques may be used.

Treatment for dry mouth will vary depending on the underlying cause.

If xerostomia is caused by medication side effects, changing medications may help. Sjogren's syndrome is treated with medications to help increase saliva production and relieve symptoms.

Other treatments for xerostomia include using artificial saliva substitutes, chewing gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production, and good oral hygiene habits.

Consequences of Ignoring Your Xerostomia

When you have xerostomia, it means your mouth is abnormally dry. 

This can lead to several consequences if ignored, including:

  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing
  • Increased risk of cavities and gum disease
  • Bad breath
  • A change in taste
  • Cracked lips
  • Discomfort while eating

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to see your dentist or doctor to find out the underlying cause.

Xerostomia can be a side effect of certain medications, a symptom of an underlying medical condition, or simply a result of dehydration. 

There are treatments available to help relieve the symptoms of xerostomia, so don't ignore this problem.

Treatments for Xerostomia

1. Discontinue any Drugs that Cause Dry Mouth. 

If your doctor suspects that medicine is to blame, he or she may alter your dosage or switch you to a different medication that does not cause dry mouth.

2. Make Recommendations for Mouth Moisturisers.

These can include prescription or over-the-counter mouth rinses, artificial saliva, or mouth moisturisers. 

Mouthwashes developed for dry mouth, particularly those containing xylitol, can be effective, such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or Act Dry Mouth Mouthwash, which also provide tooth decay protection.

3. Prescribe a Saliva-Stimulating Drug. 

To boost saliva production, your doctor may prescribe pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac).

4. Keep your Teeth Safe. 

Your dentist may fit you with fluoride trays, which you fill with fluoride and wear over your teeth at night to prevent cavities. To control cavities, your dentist may also prescribe using a chlorhexidine rinse once a week.

Tips on Managing Xerostomia at Home

If you are among the millions of Americans who experience xerostomia, or dry mouth, you know that the condition can be more than a nuisance. 

Dry mouth can cause difficulty speaking and swallowing, an altered sense of taste, and an increased risk for cavities and other oral infections. 

While there is no cure for xerostomia, there are treatments that can help to manage the symptoms. 

Here are some tips for managing xerostomia at home:

  • Drink water or sugar-free drinks throughout the day to keep your mouth moist, and drink water throughout meals to help with chewing and swallowing.
  • Suck on sugar-free hard candies or chew sugar-free gum. Xylitol-containing products may also help prevent cavities
  • However, xylitol, which is commonly present in sugar-free gum and sugar-free candies, might induce flatulence or diarrhoea in some people if ingested in high amounts.
  • Try xylitol-containing saliva substitutes like Mouth Kote or Oasis Moisturising Mouth Spray, or carboxymethylcellulose (kahr-bok-see-meth-ul-SEL-u-lohs) or hydroxyethyl cellulose (hi-drok-see-ETH-ul SEL-u-lohs) like Biotene OralBalance Moisturising Gel.
  • Breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. If your snoring forces you to breathe through your mouth at night, you should get help.
  • A room humidifier will add moisture to the air at night.
  • Moisturise your lips to relieve dry or cracked skin.
  • Avoid products that may aggravate your symptoms. These are some examples:
  • Caffeine and alcohol are both stimulants. These products can cause irritation and dryness. Avoid using mouthwash containing alcohol.
  • It's all tobacco. Stop smoking or chewing tobacco since it might dry and irritate your mouth.
  • Antihistamines and decongestants are available without a prescription. These can aggravate your dry mouth.
  • Foods and candies that are high in sugar or acid. This increases the likelihood of tooth decay. Avoid hot or salty foods as well, as these might cause irritation.


A dry mouth can be uncomfortable and detrimental to your oral health, but understanding the reasons behind it can help you take control of your xerostomia symptoms. 

The best way to manage dry mouth is to stay hydrated and identify any underlying conditions that may be causing it. 

If the problem persists, contact your dentist for a professional assessment so they can provide tailored solutions for restoring the health and comfort of your mouth.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the reasons for dry mouth?

There are several reasons why someone may experience dry mouth, including dehydration, certain medications, medical conditions such as diabetes and Sjogren's syndrome, radiation therapy, nerve damage, and tobacco or alcohol use.

How to prevent dry mouth while sleeping?

To prevent dry mouth while sleeping, try drinking water before bed and using a humidifier in the bedroom. 

You can also try sleeping on your side instead of your back to prevent saliva from pooling at the back of the mouth.

How to prevent a dry mouth when speaking?

To prevent dry mouth when speaking, try sipping water frequently, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy to stimulate saliva production.

Why is my mouth getting dry?

There are many reasons why your mouth may be getting dry, including dehydration, medication side effects, medical conditions, and nerve damage. 

It's important to identify the underlying cause to determine the best treatment approach.

How to treat dry mouth?

The treatment for dry mouth depends on the underlying cause. 

Drinking plenty of water, using saliva substitutes, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and treating underlying medical conditions can all help alleviate symptoms of dry mouth. 

In some cases, medications may also be prescribed to increase saliva production.

Do allergies cause dry mouth?

Yes, allergies can cause dry mouth. Certain allergy medications, such as antihistamines, can have drying effects on the mouth and other mucous membranes.

Does high BP cause dry mouth?

High blood pressure (hypertension) itself is not a known cause of dry mouth. 

However, medications used to treat high blood pressure, such as diuretics, can cause dry mouth as a side effect.

Does omeprazole cause dry mouth?

Yes, omeprazole, which is used to treat acid reflux and stomach ulcers, can cause dry mouth as a side effect.

Does ranitidine cause dry mouth?

Yes, ranitidine, which is used to treat acid reflux and stomach ulcers, can cause dry mouth as a side effect.