Oral conditions

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, also known as "dry mouth" or "xerostomia", is a condition characterized by dryness of the oral mucosa due to reduced or absent salivary flow. It can cause, especially in severe cases, difficulties in swallowing solid food and articulating speech.

The causes of this disorder are diverse, among them:

  • The emotional factors.
  • Taking certain medications (e.g., antihistamines or diuretics). (for example, antihistamines or diuretics).
  • The presence of specific pathologies such as sialoadenitis, inflammation of the salivary glands, generally due to a bacterial infection in the excretory ducts.
  • The Sjögren's syndrome.
  • The diabetes.
  • The hyperthyroidism.
  • And even the trauma that can cause lesions in the salivary glands.

Dry mouth is a common problem fairly common problem that, although at first glance may seem little more than a nuisance, can actually prevent you from tasting what you eat and can negatively affect the health of your teeth.

The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia.

Dry mouth is the sensation feeling that there is not enough saliva in the mouth, and we all experience it and we all suffer from it from time to time, for example, when:

  • You are nervous.
  • In a bad mood.
  • Very stressed.

However, having a dry mouth most of the time can be especially annoying and cause health problems. cause health problems, sometimessometimes even serious.

This disorder occurs when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva, often due to dehydration. dehydrationbut also in cases of:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Use of certain medications
  • Stuffy nose
  • Diabetes
  • Radiotherapy treatments
  • Sjögren's syndrome.

If saliva production is reduced or interrupted, dry mouth can cause problems. Saliva limits the proliferation of bacteria and facilitates the removal of food particles, it also serves to improve the sense of taste and facilitates swallowing. In addition, the enzymes contained in saliva are essential for digestion.

The treatment of dry mouth depends on the cause of the problem. In cases produced as a side effect of the medication taken, the symptoms remit completely by changing the dose or the medication.


Dry mouth has several causes causesamong them

  • Medicines. More than 400 medications can cause dry mouth dry mouth as a side effect. Medications frequently associated with its occurrence are:
  • Antidepressants and anxiolytics
  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Antihypertensive drugs, including diuretics
  • Antidiarrheals
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Medications for urinary incontinence
  • Medications for Parkinson's disease.
  • Stuffy nose. The mouth breathing while sleeping can lead to reduced oral lubrication. Snoring may also contribute to the problem.
  • The chemotherapy. It can alter the composition and amount of saliva produced, causing dry mouth.
  • The radiotherapy. Radiation therapy to the head and neck can damage the salivary glands. damage the salivary glandscausing a significant decrease in saliva production.
  • Nerve injuries. An injury or surgery that causes damage to the head and neck nerves. damage to the nerves of the head and neck can also cause may also cause xerostomia.
  • Other pathologies. Dry mouth can be caused by certain diseases (or treatments), such as Sjögren's syndromesyndrome , HIV HIV and diabetes.

Risk Factors

The aging is not in itself a direct cause of dry mouth, but older people are often more prone to dry mouth because tend to be more prone to it because:

  • More often take medications that can cause dry mouth
  • Are at increased risk for health problems, which can lead to dry mouth (such as type 2 diabetes).
  • They have a reduced sense of thirst and may be dehydrated.

The use of tobacco can also worsen symptoms, regardless of the person's age.


In addition to the perception of dryness in the mouth, people suffering from this problem may also present problems of:

  • Burning sensation in the mouth.
  • Thick and viscous saliva.
  • Alteration of the sense of taste (dysgeusia) and perception of bitter mouth.
  • Reddened and smooth tongue, with loss of filiform papillae.
  • Difficulty in speaking for a prolonged period of time.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Cracked and chapped lips.
  • Halitosis.
  • Mouth ulcers.
  • Dental caries.
  • Periodontitis.
  • Fungal infections of the oral cavity (by Candida albicans).

Individuals with dry mouth, especially as a result of Sjögren's syndrome, are more likely to develop gastroesophageal reflux. more likely to develop gastroesophageal reflux, which manifests as retrosternal which manifests as retrosternal burning.

The inflammation of the major salivary glands is also characteristic is also characteristic in these patients, manifested by swelling associated with local pain.


The treatment of this disorder begins with a correct diagnosis: Once the cause of dry mouth is identified cause of dry mouth is identified, an attempt is made to eliminate(if it is a resolvable condition). If this is not possibleIf this is not possible, the goal of therapy becomes to alleviate the symptoms..

In the case of taking drugs whose side effects include dryness of the mucous membranes, it may be advisable to re-evaluate the advisable to re-evaluate therapy and reduce the dosage or substitute the drug, but always under always under medical supervision.

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It's very important Ensure continuous oral hygiene to reduce the risk of infectious complications and the development of cavities. 

It is recommended to drinking water frequently to keep the oral cavity to keep the oral cavity as hydrated as possible. It is also possible to take preparations that act as saliva substitutes: these products try to mimic the normal functions of saliva and haveThese products try to mimic the normal functions of saliva and have lubricating and moisturizing properties.

In more severe cases of xerostomia, drugs such as pilocarpine may be used. pilocarpine or cevimeline.

People suffering from this disorder may find certain measures that can help alleviate their symptoms useful:

  • Drink water frequently to keep the oral cavity hydrated.
  • Chewing gum sugarless gum, which helps stimulate saliva production.
  • Try breathe through your nose and not through the mouth.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco.
  • Avoid the use of over-the-counter medications that may aggravate the problem, such as nasal decongestants or antihistamines. nasal decongestants or antihistamines..
  • Humidify the environment.
  • Avoid consuming foods excessively salty or spicy foods.

Is it possible to prevent dry mouth?

Actually there is no way to prevent dry mouth, only the side effects of it.only the side effects of it.

In this regard, it is essential to to detect, diagnose and treat dry mouth as early as possible to avoid the devastating consequences of chronic dry mouth on dental and general health.

What is the prognosis for dry mouth?

The prognosis depends on the underlying cause of the dry mouth.. Treatment should focus on eliminating the cause whenever possibleas in the case of dehydration, anemia and stress.

Use simple techniques to stimulate saliva, replenish it and protect the teeth and surrounding tissues, and thus a good prognosis can be expected to avoid dry mouth side effects.and thus a good prognosis can be expected to avoid the side effects of dry mouth.

More information and references

Help guide

Guide to dry mouth and canker sores


Frequently Asked Questions

There are several causes of dry mouth.. Ehese include emotional factors, the ingestion of certain medications (e.g. antihistamines or diuretics), the presence of specific diseases such as sialoadenitissialoadenitis, Sjögren's syndrome, diabetes, or o hyperthyroidism emong others.

Next, it is important to moisturize the mouth using a good Mouthwash that can lubricate the oral cavity, in addition to the use of medications that can actively stimulate the salivary glands, restoring their natural balance.

Avoid spicy or salty foods that may damage the mouth if you already suffer from dry mouth. Chew eventually chewing gum or sugarless candy can help stimulate saliva production..

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