Dry Mouth: What Causes It & How To Treat It

Do wake up with dry mouth? Aside from being uncomfortable, this could also negatively affect your dental health. Common symptoms include a dry, sticky feeling in the mouth, difficulty speaking or swallowing, bad breath, or dry and sore mouth.  

What is Dry Mouth?

According to the Mayo Clinic, dry mouth [aka as xerostomia (zeer-o-STOE-me-uh)], refers to a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth fail to create enough saliva to moisten your mouth. Dry mouth is often due to the side effect of certain medications or aging issues or because of radiation therapy for cancer. Less often, dry mouth may be caused by a condition that directly affects the salivary glands.

What Leads to Dry Mouth? 

Several different scenarios cause dry mouth. Unfortunately, some causes signal additional medical issues. For instance, certain medications, aging, dehydration (which sometimes results from regular use of antihistamines), nerve damage (which may or may not result from radiation cancer treatment). Less commonly, dry mouth may result from any condition which affects the salivary glands. Finally, dry mouth can result from HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, anemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and mumps.

Is Dry Mouth Problematic? 

Saliva is important to your dental health as it helps to prevent tooth decay by washing away food. It also aids in your ability to eat and swallow and digest food. If you are not producing enough saliva, you may experience increased plaque, tooth decay, and gum disease. Other common complications include cracked lips, mouth sores, or a yeast infection in the mouth, otherwise known as thrush.  

Dry Mouth Symptoms

  • A dry, rough tongue
  • An infection in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Burning feeling in the mouth
  • Cracked lips
  • Dry feeling in the throat
  • Mouth sores
  • Sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting, or speaking

How to Treat Dry Mouth  

Several different treatment options offer you, your primary care provider, and your dentist with tools. If your doctor believes your medication is the cause, they may adjust your dosage or change medication. They may also prescribe an oral rinse. Your dentist may provide treatment to help protect your teeth from decay and cavities such as fluoride trays. 

Routine Dental Hygiene

In addition to medical intervention, it is important to continue brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing every day, using fluoride toothpaste, and having routine cleanings with your dentist to check for signs of decay. If you have concerns about your oral health or find you are experiencing dry mouth, call your dentist today to schedule an appointment.  

About Dr. Fred Wong of Blue Ocean Dentistry in Glendora

Dr. Fred Wong and the staff at Blue Ocean Dentistry use the latest available dental treatments, equipment, and materials – all of which make a marked difference in our patients’ experiences. We are committed to helping our patients achieve optimal dental health. We creatively combine dental science and artistry — which can literally redesign your smile. Since even a subtle change in your smile will help you to project self-confidence and high self-esteem, we love helping you feel good about yourself. We deliver the finest dental care at the most reasonable cost and accept most dental insurance plans as well as CareCredit. For more about the dental treatment plans we offer or to schedule an appointment, call today (626) 852-6999.