Causes of Dry Mouth
Dry Mouth Causes

Dry mouth or xerostomia makes the insides of your mouth painful and dry. The dryness can be felt up to the throat. It is actually a very uncomfortable feeling. This is caused by the lower production of saliva which is the natural lubricant of the mouth. Cracking of lips, tender gums and mouth infections are the common disease accompanied by this abnormal condition. You will also find it hard to speak and masticate food if you are suffering from this condition. Dry mouth affects 10% of the world population in their 30’s which are mostly women and 25% of older adults.

What do you mean by xerostomia?

Xerostomia is the medical term for dry mouth, in layman’s term. It can be mild or severe. Dry mouth is a symptom, not the disease; so that means there is an underlying issue which has caused the dry mouth. Xerostomia is caused by many factors from diseases to drug use. Analyzing your lifestyle can determine the root of this condition. Now, if you get dry mouth once in a while due to something you ate or because you are under stress, that is not xerostomia. Xerostomia is something that you may have most of the time.

Why is saliva important to you?

Saliva has a lot of benefits to give to you. It moisturizes the mouth. It contains neutralizing agents to counteract the acidity of the reflux into the mouth. It helps to prevent infections in the mouth. It also enhances the tongue’s ability to taste. It aids in digesting food. It helps prevent cavities. So saliva is the most important component to prevent dry mouth or xerostomia. One of the symptoms that patients report from this is burning sensation of the tongue.

What causes dry mouth?

There are several things that can cause dry mouth. Some are caused by drugs, others are complications of other health problems. To know more about dry mouth, here are the most common things that can trigger it:

  • Medications. There are literally hundreds of drugs being prescribed by your doctor or even the over the counter drugs which have dry mouth as its side effect. Examples of these are hypertension medication, diuretics, beta-blockers, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant and antihistamines, muscle relaxants, epilepsy medications and even cold and flu medications.
  • Diabetes. This is a disease that can cause dry mouth in about one-third of the population with diabetes.
  • Stress and depression and anxiety. These conditions have shown to cause dry mouth and what is worse is that the medication used for these conditions actually cause dry mouth as well. So best will be to try to decrease your anxiety and stress with natural remedies like meditation, breathing and exercise.
  • Auto-immune diseases. There are several auto-immune diseases or systemic diseases that cause xerostomia and they are:  Lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS/HIV, scleroderma, diabetes, anemia, Alzheimer’s disease, hypothyroidism, parkinson’s disease, and cystic fibrosis.
  • Radiation and Chemotherapy. These treatments used for cancer especially head and neck can reduced the production of saliva tremendously. They damage the salivary glands which in turn can’t produce enough saliva.
  • Smoking. People who smoke cigarettes or cigars or chew tobacco generally have dry mouth because there is a chemical in tobacco which hinders the salivary glands to produce saliva.
  • Dehydration. Not drinking enough liquids, especially water and conditions like high fever, diarrhea, vomiting can cause dehydration (excessive loss of body water) and dry mouth.

Keeping your mouth hydrated is a one of the keys to good oral health and preventing xerstomia. Keep an eye on your medicines and emotions and you will keep your mouth healthy and well lubricated.

By: Ladan Zinati

Click here to find out what to do to treat your dry mouth 


  1. Cory
    June 24, 2013

    It’s good to learn about what causes dry mouth. This article is very relevant to me and helped me out a lot. Thanks!

    • admin
      June 26, 2013

      Hi Cory. I am glad that I was able to help.

  2. Sidra Sindu
    July 7, 2013

    Thanks for such a worthy information! I must drink a lot water. Can you tell me how much water should I drink daily? I drink about 10-14 glass of water. Is it enough? Thanks. :)

    • admin
      July 8, 2013

      Usually 8-10 glasses of water is enough per day.

  3. Omar Faruque
    July 7, 2013

    Many of us always suffer from this oral trouble and we actually unknown about the causes about this oral trouble. Your article helps us to find out the actual reason behind the dry mouth and the way of getting cured. Thanks for your valuable article.

    • admin
      July 8, 2013

      Omar, you are welcome. I am glad to be of help.

  4. Anmol agarwal
    July 10, 2013

    This article provides worthy of valuable information about dry mouth and its causes.Its such a useful article which also gives information of how to cure the problem of dry mouth.

    • admin
      July 10, 2013

      Anmol, thank you.

  5. Ian Babitz
    July 10, 2013

    Wow…I had no idea the myriad of dry mouth causes lol. I’ve been semi-plagued by it probably since my adolescence. I had no idea the depression could even have an effect. A great read! Thanks!

    • admin
      July 17, 2013

      You are welcome, Ian.

  6. Lena Alderman
    July 12, 2013

    Sometimes my mouth feels dry and my lips skin is peeling off, is that normal? How to take care of it?

    • admin
      July 17, 2013

      You might be dehydrated. Are you drinking enough water during the day? If you are, then you have to look at some other cause for this problem. Go through my article and if necessary see your doctor.

  7. Ethan
    July 13, 2013

    This article is very helpful because I always have a dry mouth. I have anxiety and this may be the cause (as noted in your article) – I may need to reconsider my medication if that makes the dry mouth worse!

    • admin
      July 17, 2013

      Yes,Ethan. Check with your doctor about your medication.

  8. kelly carreon
    July 14, 2013

    I really had no idea that diabetes had a link with dry mouth. i suffer from this daily and I now realize that controlling my diabetes (along with fluids) will help reduce my dry mouth symptoms. excellent breakdown. thank you

    • admin
      July 17, 2013

      You are very welcome Kelly. I am glad to have given you what you are looking for.

  9. Lila Gaire
    July 15, 2013

    Very useful article for me as I am suffering from this problem since few weeks. Most likely cause for me is Stress; depression and anxiety. I need to follow the instructions now.

  10. wallace milburn
    July 20, 2013

    Im so happy i found this article because lately my mouth was extremely dry and i couldn’t find out why, and then reading this article I actually didn’t know that stress and anxiety causes dry mouth. (Recently I have been stressed out over my job)
    So now i know ways to overcome dry mouth.

    • admin
      July 23, 2013

      Wallace, I am so happy to be of help to you to find out why you have been having dry mouth lately and what you need to do about it.

  11. Robynne Legault
    July 21, 2013

    I have suffered from dry mouth consistently for the last few years. This article was very informative and helpful to me.

    • admin
      July 23, 2013

      Robynne, I am glad my article was helpful to you and you were able to use it.

  12. Amy Loddo
    August 1, 2013

    I have been suffering from dry mouth for about a year now but have not been to a dentist becuase I do not have dental insurance. I have always tried to drink plently of water througout the day because it is beneficial for the skin and my doctor had told me it was not something serious to worry about. I did not realize that my medications could be causing the dry mouth and that it could lead to cavities.

    • admin
      August 7, 2013

      Amy, talk to your doctor about your meds.

  13. Dry Mouth: Causes, Symptoms And Cure St. James Dental Group
    August 2, 2013

    […] Click here to learn causes of dry mouth […]

  14. caitlin
    August 8, 2013

    Very interesting article with a great deal of information. I learned a lot from it as I was unaware that there can be so many different causes of dry mouth.

    • admin
      August 11, 2013

      Caitlin, I am glad to be of help.

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    […] Xerostomia is the clinical condition for dry mouth, in layperson's condition. This could be anywhere in between mild as well as severe. Dry mouth is a sign, not the disease; to ensure that implies there is a hidden issue which has resulted in the dry mouth. There are several elements that result in the dry mouth. This can range between several diseases to drug use. Dry mouth affects 10 % of the populace in their 30's as well as this is more viewed in women compared to guys. Likewise this affects 25 % of the older populace. Dry mouth could be extremely irritating as well as this could really be really agonizing. Within this article I will talk about the reasons for dry mouth as well as I will talk about what you can possibly do to tackle this in the following article.  […]

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