What Causes Dry Mouth?
There are several causes of dry mouth, also called xerostomia. These include:
Side effect of certain medications. Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and nonprescription drugs, including drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, and colds (antihistamines and decongestants), obesity, acne, epilepsy, hypertension (diuretics), diarrhea, nausea, psychotic disorders, urinary incontinence, asthma (certain bronchodilators), and Parkinson’s disease. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of muscle relaxants and sedatives.
Side effect of certain diseases and infections. Dry mouth can be a side effect of medical conditions, including Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, anemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and mumps.
Side effect of certain medical treatments. Damage to the salivary glands, the glands that produce saliva, for example, from radiation to the head and neck and chemotherapy treatments for cancer, can reduce the amount of saliva produced.
Nerve damage. Dry mouth can be a result of nerve damage to the head and neck area from an injury or surgery.
Dehydration. Conditions that lead to dehydration, such as fever, excessive sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, blood loss, and burns can cause dry mouth.
Surgical removal of the salivary glands.
Lifestyle.Smoking or chewing tobacco can affect saliva production and aggravate dry mouth. Continuously breathing with your mouth open can also contribute to the problem.
What Are the Symptoms of Dry Mouth?
Common symptoms of dry mouth include:
A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
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