Dry Mouth

Dry Mouth Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Dry mouth, or xerostomia (zeer-o-STOE-me-uh), describes any condition in which your mouth is abnormally dry. Most often, dry mouth is the result of a decrease in saliva produced by the glands in your mouth (salivary glands), and it’s regularly a side effect of medication. Less frequently, dry mouth may be triggered by a condition that directly affects the salivary glands.

What Is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth is a common issue. It can vary from being merely an annoyance to something that has a significant impact on your basic health and the health of your teeth, along with your appetite and enjoyment of food.

Saliva helps avoid tooth decay by neutralizing acids produced by bacteria, restricting bacterial growth and washing away food particles. Saliva also boosts your capability to taste and makes it easier to swallow. In addition, enzymes in saliva aid in food digestion.

Treatment for dry mouth depends upon the cause.

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

If you’re not producing enough saliva, you may see these symptoms and signs all or the majority of the time:

  • Dryness in your mouth or throat
  • Saliva that appears thick and stringy
  • Bad breath
  • Trouble chewing, speaking and swallowing
  • An altered taste
  • Issues wearing dentures
  • More regular dental caries
  • Gum irritation and gum disease

In addition, dry mouth may lead to lipstick sticking to the teeth.

When to see a doctor

If you’ve discovered persistent dry mouth symptoms and signs, make a visit with your family doctor or your dental expert.

Causes of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth has many causes:

  • Medications. Hundreds of medications, consisting of numerous non-prescription drugs, produce dry mouth as a side effect. Among the most likely types to cause problems are a few of the substance abuse to treat depression, nerve pain (neuropathy) and anxiety, in addition to some antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications.
  • Aging. The aging process doesn’t necessarily cause dry mouth. However, older people are more likely to take medications that might cause dry mouth, and they’re more likely to have other health conditions that can cause dry mouth.
  • Cancer therapy. Chemotherapy drugs can alter the nature of saliva and the quantity produced. This might be temporary, with regular salivary flow returning after treatment has actually been finished. Radiation treatments to your head and neck can harm salivary glands, triggering a marked decline in saliva production. This can be temporary or permanent, depending on the radiation dose and area dealt with.
  • Nerve damage. An injury or surgery that causes nerve damage to your head and neck area can result in dry mouth.
  • Other health conditions. Dry mouth can be a consequence of certain health conditions, including the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS. Stroke and Alzheimer’s disease might cause an understanding of dry mouth, although the salivary glands are functioning generally. Snoring and breathing with your mouth open likewise can add to dry mouth.
  • Tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes or chewing tobacco can increase dry mouth symptoms.
  • Methamphetamine use. Methamphetamine use can cause severe dry mouth and damage to teeth, a condition also called “meth mouth.”

Symptoms and Causes Dry Mouth at Night

Symptoms of persistent dry mouth in the evening can include:

  • thick or stringy saliva
  • foul breath
  • changes in your taste
  • issues while using dentures
  • trouble chewing or swallowing
  • aching throat
  • grooved tongue

If there isn’t adequate saliva, there can be a boost in plaque in the mouth as well as thrush and mouth sores.

Dry mouth at night can be very common, particularly in people over the age of 65. This is because, as we get older, saliva production ramps down by as much as 40 percent.

If you see the problem only at night, the cause might be a nasal obstruction that requires you to breathe through your mouth only.

Numerous medications can likewise trigger dry mouth or make the issue even worse. In fact, it’s estimated that as numerous as 60 percent of routinely prescribed medications can have a dry-mouth adverse effects. This consists of:

  • blood pressure drugs
  • antihistamines
  • antidepressants
  • anti-anxiety drugs
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Other causes can consist of:

  • diabetes
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation
  • nerve damage
  • leisure substance abuse

If you are experiencing dry mouth at night, it’s worth mentioning to your physician. Together, you can talk through your lifestyle choices and any adverse effects of medications you’re taking.

What About Dry Mouth When Waking Up?

Various factors can cause dry mouth when you wake up in the morning. A few of these aspects might cause a constant dry mouth, while other factors might dry your mouth momentarily. Here are main reasons that you may get up with a dry mouth.

Mouth breathing

Your sleeping routines might be the reason that you get up with a dry mouth. You might experience a dry mouth if you sleep with your mouth open. This can happen since of routine, obstructed nasal passages, or another health condition.

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may cause mouth breathing and dry mouth.

One study found that among more than 1,000 adults, 16.4 percent of those who snored and 31.4 percent of those with obstructive sleep apnea experienced dry mouth when awakening. This compares to simply 3.2 percent of those without these conditions reporting dry mouth.


Medications are a significant cause of dry mouth. Hundreds of them may cause dry mouth, including those taken for:

  • sinus conditions
  • hypertension
  • mental health conditions, like anxiety or anxiety
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • sleep conditions
  • queasiness and throwing up
  • diarrhea

You’re also more at risk for dry mouth if you take multiple medications at a time. You might live with chronic dry mouth since you can’t stop taking specific medications that handle serious health conditions.

It’s important to talk to your medical professional about methods you can ease dry mouth and still follow your medication program. It may be possible for you to move when you take your medications to ease getting up with a dry mouth.

Your medical professional might likewise have the ability to identify and prescribe another medication that doesn’t trigger dry mouth.


You may experience dry mouth more frequently as you age. You might be among the 30 percent of adults 65 and older or the 40 percent of adults 80 and older with this condition.

Aging itself may not be the reason for dry mouth. You may experience dry mouth as you age due to the fact that of medications you take to handle other health conditions.

You may likewise have other conditions that cause dry mouth. Some of these conditions are noted here, like diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.


There are numerous reasons why you may experience dry mouth if you have diabetes. You may experience it if you’re dehydrated or if you have consistent levels of high blood sugar level. Dry mouth might likewise take place from medications you consider diabetes.

To minimize the risk of dry mouth, make sure you have your diabetes under control. Talk with your doctor about the medications you require to see if you can change any of them to lessen your dry mouth.

Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease can hinder your capability to hydrate yourself or to communicate to somebody else that you need to consume. This can result in dehydration and cause dry mouth in the early morning.

Dry mouth can likewise be accompanied by lightheadedness, an increased heart rate, and delirium. Dehydration in people with Alzheimer’s disease might trigger more journeys to the emergency clinic and admissions into the health center.

Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration. If you look after someone with Alzheimer’s disease, motivate them to drink water throughout the day. Be conscious that changes in weather condition or indoor environment might increase the amount of water you must drink.

Sjögren’s syndrome

Sjögren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that affects your connective tissue and the glands near your mouth and eyes. A main symptom of this condition is dry mouth. The condition happens mainly in women who have actually experienced menopause.

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There’s no method to cure this autoimmune condition. Your physician will work with you to handle your symptoms. You may have other autoimmune conditions with Sjögren’s syndrome, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Cancer treatment

Treatment for head and neck cancers might likewise cause dry mouth. Radiation directed at your head and neck can trigger long-term damage to your salivary glands, causing long-term dry mouth.

Chemotherapy might likewise trigger dry mouth momentarily. It might happen instantly while going through cancer treatments, or the condition may establish months or years afterward.

Tobacco and alcohol

You might experience dry mouth following alcohol consumption or tobacco usage

Alcohol is acidic and can be dehydrating, resulting in dry mouth and even issues with your teeth. You might even experience dry mouth from using mouthwashes with alcohol in them.

Tobacco can alter your salivary flow rate. It can likewise impact your oral health.

A 2010 research study of 200 individuals, 100 cigarette smokers and 100 nonsmokers, showed that 39 percent of smokers experienced dry mouth compared to 12 percent of nonsmokers. The smokers were likewise more at threat for cavities, gum disease, and loose teeth.

Drug usage

Some drugs can cause dry mouth. These drugs affect the saliva flow in your mouth, much like tobacco. Euphoria, heroin, and methamphetamine can cause dry mouth.

Substance abuse can likewise impact your oral health and your capability to practice good oral hygiene. Methamphetamine is extremely acidic and can right away impact your oral health, causing rapid dental caries.

Dry Mouth Complications

If you do not have enough saliva and establish dry mouth, this can result in:

  • Increased plaque, dental caries and gum disease
  • Mouth sores
  • Fungal infection in your mouth
  • Covered tongue
  • Sores or split skin at the corners of your mouth
  • Split lips
  • Poor nutrition from having issues with chewing and swallowing

Is Dry Mouth a Sign of Diabetes?

Xerostomia is among the most common symptoms of diabetes. Dry mouth is a typical symptom in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Not everybody with diabetes will experience it, though. You can also have dry mouth if you don’t have diabetes. However, for the correct diagnosis, you should consult a qualified doctor.

Treatment for Dry Mouth

Your treatment depends on the reason for your dry mouth. Your doctor or dental professional might:

  • Change medications that cause dry mouth. If your doctor thinks medication to be the cause, she or he might adjust your dosage or change you to another medication that does not cause a dry mouth.
  • Recommend items to moisturize your mouth. These can consist of prescription or non-prescription mouth rinses, synthetic saliva or moisturizers to lube your mouth.

If you have severe dry mouth, your doctor or dental professional might:

  • Use a medication that stimulates saliva. Your doctor may think about recommending pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac) to promote saliva production.
  • Protect your teeth. To prevent cavities, your dental expert might fit you for fluoride trays, which you fill with fluoride and use over your teeth for a few minutes during the night. Your dentist might also advise weekly use of a chlorhexidine rinse to manage cavities.

Home Remedies for Dry Mouth

You may have the ability to enhance your symptoms of dry mouth at home. Some home solutions consist of:

  • avoiding food and beverages with a lot of sugar, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners
  • drinking a lot of water
  • flossing after every meal
  • eating high-fiber vegetables and fruits
  • using toothpicks to scrape excess plaque off your teeth
  • utilizing alcohol-free mouthwash
  • chewing gum
  • brushing your teeth at least two times a day with fluoride tooth paste
  • drawing on mints which contain xylitol, which refreshes the breath

You’ll need to determine the underlying cause to treat dry mouth. If your blood sugar is causing dry mouth, managing your blood glucose levels should help enhance your symptoms. If you believe a medication you’re taking is the cause, talk to your physician. They might have the ability to recommend a different medication or adjust your dose.

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You ought to likewise routinely visit your dental professional. Routine cleansing can improve your oral health, which may also have a positive influence on dry mouth.

Reducing blood glucose levels can have a big influence on enhancing dry mouth. You can reduce blood sugar level through the following way of life practices:

  • taking in low-sugar foods and beverages
  • consuming high-fiber foods
  • consuming a diet high in healthy fats and proteins
  • take medications as prescribed
  • monitor your glucose frequently

Researchers are also investigating new ways of dealing with diabetes. The recent study discovered that oral moisturizing jelly minimized symptoms of dry mouth in 100+ older adults who were experiencing dry mouth. More research study is essential, but this initial study’s findings are promising.

How Is Dry Mouth at Night Treated?

Any medical treatments depend upon the underlying reason for the dry mouth, so treatment for nighttime dry mouth can differ from individual to individual.

If your dry mouth during the night is due to medications you are taking, and home remedies aren’t helping, your medical professional may want to change your medications or adjust dose.

Your doctor or dental expert might prescribe certain medications that help your body produce saliva, or in certain cases, fit you with fluoride trays to wear at night to help prevent cavities.

They might likewise advise particular over the counter options you can utilize (offered to acquire online):

  • alcohol-free mouthwash.
  • dry mouth tooth paste.
  • synthetic saliva.
  • saliva-stimulating lozenges.

If your dry mouth is due to a nasal issue like a badly deviated septum that triggers you to sleep with your mouth open in order to breathe, your physician might suggest surgery. A septoplasty is a commonly performed procedure to fix a deviated septum. Symptoms related to nasal obstruction from the deviated septum normally resolve afterward.

Is Dry Mouth Dangerous?

In addition to the fact that dry mouth is one of the symptoms of more serious diseases, it also directly entails some negative consequences for the person.

Here are some threats of dry mouth that you must really understand.

  • Bad breath. And that’s because when your mouth is dry you have less saliva, you have less oxygen, you have no method to treat the aerobic bacteria which trigger foul breath.
  • Dental caries. Saliva has minerals in it which assist to re-mineralized your teeth. Without saliva – or when you have a dry mouth – you’re vulnerable to have tooth decay.
  • Gum disease. Again, there’s anti-bacterial properties in saliva. Without saliva, gum disease takes place.
  • Teeth loss. As soon as you have widespread dental caries and gum disease, you have tooth loss – that’s number 4 on the list.
  • Speaking problems. When your mouth is dry, you have the failure to speak appropriately. Your tongue does not move appropriately over your teeth and you can’t speak correctly.
  • Can’t swallow food properly. You can not swallow your food effectively. The bolus of food – that’s a technical term for the amount of food that you’re chewing at the time – is not damp enough to swallow and older people have the inability to swallow their food.
  • And finally, that mix really shows a boost of depression, especially in older individuals who have a combination of much of those symptoms.

Prognosis for Nighttime Dry Mouth

Dry mouth at night can be bothersome and uneasy, it can also be hazardous to your oral health. Numerous cases of dry mouth can be treated with lifestyle and medication changes. Less regularly, it might be triggered by a deviated septum and need more extensive treatment.

It’s important to deal with the cause of your dry mouth so you can keep your oral health.


  • About 10 percent of the basic population and 25 per cent of older people have dry mouth syndrome, which is the absence of adequate saliva.
  • A dry mouth is a sign of an underlying problem, instead of a disease in itself.
  • Treatment includes saliva alternatives, dietary changes and good oral health.
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