Dry Mouth Causes, Symptoms and Treatment on MedicineNet.com

Dry Mouth Causes, Symptoms and Treatment on MedicineNet.com.

  • What causes dry mouth?
  • What are the symptoms of dry mouth?
  • Why is dry mouth a problem?
  • How is dry mouth treated?
  • We all need saliva to moisten and cleanse our mouths and digest food. Saliva also prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth. When we don’t produce enough saliva, our mouth gets dry and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for dry mouth

    What causes dry mouth?


    There are several causes of dry mouth. These include:

    What are the symptoms of dry mouth?


    Common symptoms of dry mouth include:

    • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
    • Frequent thirst
    • Sores in the mouth; sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth; cracked lips
    • A dry feeling in the throat
    • A burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and especially on the tongue
    • A dry, red, raw tongue
    • Problems speaking or difficulty tasting, chewing and swallowing
    • Hoarseness, dry nasal passages, sore throat
    • Bad breath
    • Why is dry mouth a problem?
    •  Besides causing the aggravating symptoms mentioned above, dry mouth also increases a person’s risk of gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay, and mouth infections, such as thrush.

      Dry mouth can also make it difficult to wear dentures.

      How is dry mouth treated?


      If you think your dry mouth is caused by certain medications you are taking, talk to your doctor. He or she may adjust the dose you are taking or switch you to a different drug that doesn’t cause dry mouth.

      In addition, an oral rinse to restore mouth moisture may be prescribed. If that doesn’t help, a medication that stimulates saliva production, called Salagen, may be prescribed.

      Other steps you can take that may help improve saliva flow include

      • Sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum
      • Drinking plenty of water to help keep your mouth moist
      • Protecting your teeth by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, using a fluoride rinse, and visiting your dentist regularly
      • Breathing through your nose, not your mouth, as much as possible
      • Using a room vaporizer to add moisture to the bedroom air
      • Using an over-the-counter artificial saliva substitute.

      Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dentistry.

      Reviewed by Jay H. Rosoff, DDS on March 1, 2007

      Edited by Charlotte E. Grayson Mathis, MD, on May 1, 2005.

      Portions of this page © The Cleveland Clinic 2000-2005

    One Response to “Dry Mouth Causes, Symptoms and Treatment on MedicineNet.com”

    1. Alpharetta Dentist Says:

      Great description on dry mouth. Thirst is really the most common factor–it’s important to drink water on a continuous, daily basis, and not just for the thirst but as you mentioned, for the mouth as well.

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