Common Causes of Dry Mouth


Dry mouth is a common complaint of patients visiting the dentist, and it can be a particularly perplexing problem especially when you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. It is possible that you may have a dry mouth condition (xerostomia), which is a condition that affects about 1 in 10 people. This means that your salivary glands are unable to produce enough saliva to keep your mouth moist, clean and well lubricated. Your dry mouth could also be caused by a number of other reasons, so it’s best to visit your dentist for a thorough check-up so that the cause can be identified. In this blog post, Sparkling Dental will be sharing some insight into dry mouth and the role of saliva.


What is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth is a sign that there may be an underlying issue causing your salivary glands to become impaired. You will know if you have dry mouth, as your mouth will feel dry and your lips and tongue may crack due to the lack of lubrication. You may also notice:

  • Thick, stringy saliva
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Tooth decay
  • Tingling sensation in the mouth
  • Having difficulty eating/swallowing


Common Causes of Dry Mouth

Salivary secretion decreases naturally with age, which is why around 25% of elderly people experience dry mouth. However, in younger people the cause may be related to reasons such as:

  • Dehydration – dry mouth caused by dehydrating will only be temporary, and after consuming a sufficient amount of water you should start to notice saliva production return.
  • Side Effects of Medication – some medications can cause dry mouth. If you take anxiety medication, antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, painkillers or muscle relaxants you should be aware of the potential side effects and discuss your concerns with your doctor.
  • Medical conditions – there is a link between dry mouth and a range of medical conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s and kidney failure.
  • Tobacco Use – chewing and smoking tobacco can reduce the flow of saliva, resulting in persistent dry mouth.
  • Excessive Caffeine Consumption – coffee and caffeinated soft drinks can also cause dry mouth when consumed in large quantities.
  • Injury – if you have recently injured yourself, you may have damaged a cranial nerve. These nerves play a role in regulating the function of salivary glands.
  • Cancer Treatment – if you are receiving treatment for cancer in the form of chemotherapy, this can cause dry mouth for the duration of treatment.
  • Mouth Breathing – this is a common condition affecting people of all ages.


The Role of Saliva in the Mouth

A persistent dry mouth is cause for concern. Having a healthy flow of saliva is important as it benefits your overall oral health and general wellbeing. Saliva helps in the following ways:

  • Helps to clear away food/debris stuck between teeth
  • Reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease by neutralising acids
  • Assists in making it easier to chew, taste and swallow
  • Contains enzymes which aid healthy digestion
  • Contains antibacterial compounds to ward off infection
  • Moistens the mouth to maintain comfort


Suffering from Dry Mouth? Seek Treatment at Sparkling Dental Today

Whether you believe you may be suffering from dry mouth syndrome or are concerned something else may be the cause, it’s important to visit your dentist to obtain a professional opinion and seek advice on appropriate treatment.

Some possible treatment options could include artificial saliva substitutes, changing your medication, treating underlying health issues, making lifestyle changes or in some cases surgery to restore function to the salivary glands.

To arrange an appointment please call now on 02 9953 0088, or make a booking online.