Dry Mouth? Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

by Totally Dental Dentist

Does your mouth constantly feel as dry as a desert? Just know you aren’t alone, in fact, dry mouth also referred to as Xerostomia is a common complaint among patients. So what’s the culprit behind this pesky problem? Your salivary glands…

The salivary glands produce saliva, which is important to your oral health. Saliva prevents tooth decay and fungal infections from developing.So, when the glands aren’t working as they should, it puts your oral health at risk. To learn about the causes of dry mouth, the symptoms and treatment options continue reading. 

The Importance of Saliva

You may be wondering why your saliva is so vital to your oral health. For starters, your saliva washes away lingering food particles in your mouth. Since your mouth is full of bacteria, they produce harmful acids. Your saliva helps to neutralize these acids which are known to cause enamel erosion. 

To protect tooth enamel and prevent gum disease, your six major salivary glands and hundreds of minor glands must work hard every day. Your salivary glands produce an average of 2 to 4 pints per day. Most of your saliva production occurs throughout the day and very little occurs during the night. 

So what happens when your salivary glands don’t produce a sufficient amount of saliva?  Your mouth won’t be moist or protected and it can begin to feel dry and gummy. When you eat, you may experience difficulties and your taste buds will seem off. If you are suffering from dry mouth, your dentist in Calgary can review your medical history. He or she will also ask you to list any medications you are taking, to rule out potential causes. 

Causes of Dry Mouth 

Your dry mouth could be caused by a variety of factors, the following are some examples:


If your doctor has prescribed you medication, or if you are taking over-the-counter medication it can contribute to dry mouth. This includes medications such as: 

• Antidepressants

• Antihistamines

• Antiemetics

• Antihypertensives

• Antiparkinson

• Antispasmodics

• Antipsychotics

Note, there are hundreds of medications that list dry mouth as a side effect, which is why you should discuss any concerns you have with your physician or dentist. 

Cancer Treatments

Radiation to the head, neck, or mouth area can cause dry mouth in cancer patients. The radiation can cause the salivary glands to produce less saliva or can affect the saliva flow. Damage to the salivary glands might continue after the treatment is completed and can be permanent. 


As you age, you may be faced with the problem of dry mouth, the following are a few contributing factors: 

• Medication: most seniors begin their day by taking more than one type of medication. As the body changes over time, it's ability to process medication is affected.

• Health issues: a patient’s medical history can affect their salivary glands.

• Diet: unhealthy eating or poor nutrition also affects the salivary glands.

Other Health Conditions

Patients who are battling, specific health conditions such as HIV/Aids, Alzheimer's and diabetes are more susceptible to developing a dry mouth. 

Additional Contributors 

• Tobacco use

• Alcohol

• Drug use 

• Nerve damage


If you have chronic dry mouth, then you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

• Difficulty chewing, tasting, swallowing and speaking

• Burning in the mouth

• Sticky feeling in the mouth

• Dry tongue/throat

• Mouth sores or lesions

• Persistent bad breath


If you are experiencing dry mouth, it is important that you voice your concerns to your dentist. He or she can evaluate your oral health and provide you with a treatment plan to manage your symptoms. 

Moisturizing sprays, oral rinses, gels or fluoride toothpaste may be effective options.

About Totally Dental Junior   Dentist

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Joined APSense since, April 8th, 2019, From Calgary, Canada.

Created on Apr 9th 2019 01:34. Viewed 100 times.


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