What Is Dry Mouth?

Dry Mouth

Many people are affected by dry mouth. The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia.

Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. This can result in an uncomfortable feeling in the mouth. Dryness, thirsty-ness, sticky saliva, burning, bad breath and challenges swallowing are all symptoms of dry mouth. 

Dry mouth can affect people of any age. It can be caused by certain health conditions such as diabetes, stokes, Sjogren’s syndrome (an autoimmune disease), HIV/AIDS and more. Dry mouth also occurs after radiation and chemotherapy treatment to the head and neck after cancer. 

 It is also commonly seen in older adults as a result of those individuals often consuming more prescription medications. Dry mouth is a side effect of many medications. The list of medications that can cause dry mouth is long but can include mental health medications, heart medications, pain killers, puffers, decongestants and more. 

How to cope with dry mouth:

  • Keep your body hydrated
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking tobacco and marijuana
  • Suck/chew on sugar free mints or gum
  • Maintain good oral health
  • Saliva replacements and mouth rinses that are good for dry mouth can be purchased in the drugstore. 

Dry mouth complications:

  • Dry mouth can lead to increased plaque on the teeth
  • Those with dry mouth are at higher risk of cavities. Especially, on the root surfaces where gum recession has occurred. 

We would be happy to discuss your dry mouth in more depth in clinic. We can recommend products that may help alleviate your discomfort and help to prevent cavities. 



Dry Mouth (Also known as Xerostomia). British Columbia Dental Association. <https://www.bcdental.org/YourDentalHealth/YourDentalHealth.aspx?id=10250> Accessed: July 15th, 2019.

Dry Mouth. Mayo Clinic. <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/symptoms-causes/syc-20356048> Accessed: July 16th, 2019.

Dry Mouth. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. <https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/dry-mouth?_ga=2.91438226.90974290.1563322098-1759705461.1550104988> Accessed: July 15th, 2019