What are the Most Common Dry Mouth Causes?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 23 December 2018
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There are many different dry mouth causes, but the most common are generally related to side effects from different medications. A lot of medications have the potential to cause dry mouth, and a large number of these drugs are very common, including several non-prescription drugs that people buy on a regular basis. Drugs with dry mouth as a side effect include everything from antihistamines to certain pain relievers and even anti-depressants. Other common causes of dry mouth include certain diseases, lifestyle-related issues, and dehydration. Seniors have a greater chance of suffering from dry mouth, partly because they are more likely to take a lot of different medications.

A lot of different diseases and other medical conditions can potentially be dry mouth causes. Some of these include diabetes, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, and anemia. There are also many conditions affecting the nervous system that have the potential to cause dry mouth. These would include things like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Nervous system-related dry mouth symptoms can also result from an injury that damages nerves in the head or neck area.


Smoking and using smokeless tobacco are both common dry mouth causes. Using these products can potentially damage a person’s salivary glands. When people stop smoking or using other tobacco products, normal functionality of the salivary glands will generally return. Simple dehydration from taking in enough water is another behavior-related cause. This is especially common when people perform physical exercise in high-heat situations without consuming enough liquid.

In certain situations, dry mouth causes other symptoms beyond basic physical discomfort. People can sometimes experience painful sores on their tongues, inner-cheeks or gums. Sometimes dry mouth causes bad breath as well, and some people may eventually have trouble tasting foods or swallowing.

The are many different kinds of treatment for dry mouth, and sometimes they can vary depending on which dry mouth causes a person is dealing with. Often when the cause is a side effect of medication, patients may change medicines, but sometimes this isn’t possible. Dry mouth is usually not considered a serious side effect, and sometimes doctors will be reluctant to change prescriptions if dry mouth is the only problem. If the dry mouth problems are serious enough, there are certain drugs that can help increase the production of saliva, but many patients rely on simple home remedies. Some of the more common home-based treatments for dry mouth include eating hard candy, chewing gum, and drinking extra fluid.



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