What are the Causes of Dry Mouth?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Dryness in the mouth occurs when something interferes with the proper function of the salivary glands. There are a number of different reasons why the glands may not be working properly. Here are the most common causes of dry mouth and what you can do to correct the situation.

When an individual is nearing a state of dehydration, dry mouth will be one of the warning signs. The individual may be nearing heat exhaustion or possibly even a heat stroke. To correct the problem, it is important to get out of the sun and begin to replace lost fluids using water or some type of fortified sports drink. Avoid drinks containing caffeine, as these are much less effective with the process of rehydration.

Another of the more common causes of dry mouth has to do with medication. There are a number of prescription medicines that will cause the saliva glands to curtail the production of saliva. Correcting medication side effects of this nature is sometimes a simple task. Notify your physician of the problem. There is a good chance he or she can either provide something to counteract the effect or switch you to another medication altogether.


Disease is another of the several causes of dry mouth. People who live with diabetes, Parkinson’s Disease, or HIV/AIDS are more susceptible to dry mouth than others. Again, the problem should be reported to the attending physician to determine if there is a way to stimulate saliva production.

A number of infections can bring about dry mouth. Usually, treating the infection with antibiotics or other appropriate measures will help alleviate the dryness and restore the saliva glands to an equitable level of production.

Some treatments and therapies are among the causes of dry mouth. Radiation therapy may negatively impact the function of the saliva glands if they are subjected to the radiation. Some of the drugs used in chemotherapy can actually make the saliva thicker, which will create the sense of the mouth being coated with a dry substance. Often, the effects are temporary and will disappear once the therapy is completed.

One of the causes of dry mouth that is sometimes more difficult to address is nerve damage. When there is trauma to the head or neck that disrupts the function of the nerves in the area, the salivary glands may not receive the message to produce saliva. Depending on the extent of the damage, the condition may be more or less permanent and require that the individual take steps to keep the mouth hydrated by other means.



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