Dry Mouth

Dry Mouth: Overview

Saliva is needed in order to moisten our mouths, help digest food, swallow, clean our mouths and control growths of bacteria and fungus in the mouth.

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Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Sores inside the mouth
  • Sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth
  • Cracked lips
  • Dry throat
  • Sore throat
  • Burning or tingling of the tongue and/or mouth
  • A dry/red/raw tongue
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty tasting
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Dry nasal passages

Treatment and Prevention

Consider taking the following steps:

  • Investigate and try to eliminate underlying medical conditions
  • Try to replace or reduce medications that may be causing dry mouth
  • Use an oral rinse to restore mouth moisture
  • Use a medication that stimulates saliva production
  • Suck on candies or chew gum (preferably sugar-free
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Protect your teeth through proper brushing and regular dentist visits
  • Breath through your nose, not your mouth
  • Avoid dry air, use a vaporizer to add moisture the air
  • Use an artificial saliva substitute.

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Dry Mouth:

Symptoms - Food - Beverages

Symptoms - Head - Mouth/Oral


Conditions that suggest Dry Mouth:

Dental / Oral

Periodontal Disease - Gingivitis

Saliva helps fight the bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay.



Yeast / Candida Infection

Oral thrush thrives more easily in a dry mouth.

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Risk factors for Dry Mouth:


Cigarette Smoke Damage

Smoking or chewing tobacco can reduce saliva production.


Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's patients may have a diminished thirst signal so they don't feel thirsty and drink water when they are dehydrated.  In addition, dry mouth is very common among seniors and those with Alzheimer's may not tell anyone that they are thirsty due to reduced mental functioning.






The body will conserve fluid in various ways when we are dehydrated and one of these is a reduction in saliva production, which results in a drier mouth.

Drug Side-Effect

Chemotherapy Side-Effects

Radiation can damage the salivary glands and reduce the amount of saliva produced.

(Prescription) Drug Side-Effects

Hundreds of drugs list dry mouth as a possible side-effect.  Antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants are among the drugs that can cause dry mouth.  Those taking two different medications are up to 40% more likely to suffer from dry mouth.





Organ Health

Supplements, Medications, Drugs

Methamphetamine use

'Meth Mouth' is involves an excessively dry mouth ('cotton mouth'); cavities; decaying or rotting teeth; brittle or loose teeth; tooth cracking and breakage; and eventual tooth loss.

Dry Mouth suggests the following may be present:


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Weak or unproven link: may be a sign or symptom of; may increase risk of
Weak or unproven link:
may be a sign or symptom of; may increase risk of
Strong or generally accepted link: often suggests; often increases risk of
Strong or generally accepted link:
often suggests; often increases risk of
Definite or direct link: is a sign or symptom of; increases risk of
Definite or direct link:
is a sign or symptom of; increases risk of
Definitely or absolutely counter-indicates: strongly contraindicates
Definitely or absolutely counter-indicates:
strongly contraindicates
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