What Are the Causes and Symptoms of Dry Mouth Syndrome?

Saliva is a naturally occurring substance in the mouth that is crucial for getting rid of food debris and bacteria. As a cleansing agent, it averts buildup of fungi and bacteria in the mouth, which contributes to a lot of dental issues, including cavities and plaque.

If your mouth is not making enough saliva, it can get tricky. Your mouth will feel dry and uncomfortable. Bacteria will also start to accumulate, increasing the risk of tooth cavities or decay.

Drying of the mouth is called xerostomia, but this condition is colloquially termed dry mouth syndrome. Its common causes include the following:

  • As a side effect to certain medications, diseases or medical treatments
  • Nerve damage
  • Dehydration
  • Removal of salivary glands
  • Tobacco


The usual symptoms of dry mouth syndrome include frequent thirst, mouth sores, dry feeling in the mouth or throat, redness of the tongue, tingling sensation in the mouth, bad breath, hoarseness and difficulty when speaking, chewing or swallowing.

As a side effect of certain drugs, these medications include decongestants and antihistamines as well as meds for depression or anxiety, asthma or allergies, diarrhea, urinary incontinence, nausea and psychotic disorders.

Dry mouth syndrome is also an accompanying condition to certain health disorders like HIV or AIDS, diabetes, anemia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, mumps, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis.

Fever, vomiting, blood loss and excessive sweating can lead to dehydration, which, in turn, may result in dry mouth syndrome.

If left untreated or not addressed, dry mouth syndrome can pose a contributing risk of developing tooth decay, mouth infection and gingivitis. This condition can also make it difficult to wear dentures.


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