An Overview of Xerostomia (Dry Mouth): Its Causes and Treatment

An Overview of Xerostomia (Dry Mouth): Its Causes and Treatment

We all know that saliva keeps the mouth clean by loosening and washing away sticky food particles. It also acts as a lubricant to protect the soft tissues in your throat and mouth from sores and infection. Dry mouth or xerostomia occurs when your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. This can lead to inflammation and mouth sores.

Dry Mouth Symptoms

Major symptoms associated with dry mouth are:

  • An unusual sticky feeling in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Cracked lips 
  • Trouble swallowing or chewing
  • Thicker saliva
  • A bad taste in the mouth and difficulty tasting food
  • Decreased appetite
  • Mouth sores
  • Dry nasal passages
  • A sore tongue
  • Hoarse voice

Dry Mouth Causes

Several causes can lead to dry mouth. Some of them are:

  • Breathing through your mouth
  • Certain health conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, depression, bipolar disorder, thyroid disease, and dehydration
  • Aging 
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Blocked salivary ducts
  • Trauma or injury to nerves in the mouth
  • Smoking and using tobacco products
  • Certain medications used to treat depression and bipolar disorder, high blood pressure, and Parkinson's disease
  • Dry mouth can also be a side effect of certain medical procedures such as chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, and radiation therapy

Treatment for Dry Mouth

Treatment for dry mouth consists of managing your symptoms by employing preventive strategies, reducing discomfort, and taking medications.

Here are some home remedies that can prove to be very effective while dealing with dry mouth.

  • Sip water regularly or suck on ice chips throughout the day. It will help in keeping your mouth moist and prevent it from getting too dry.
  • Hard candies, chewing gum, and lozenges are found to entice saliva production. However, while choosing these, make sure to go for the sugar-free variants to limit your sugar intake and avoid the risk of developing cavities.
  • You can also use salves and lip balms to soothe dry and cracked lips if you have developed these due to dry mouth. 
  • Make sure to avoid salty and dry foods and acidic juices, as they can irritate your mouth, lips, and throat.

Here are some lifestyle change recommendations that will help you prevent dry mouth.

  • Ensure good oral hygiene if you want to prevent any dental problems, including dry mouth. Keep in mind that nothing is as effective as regular flossing, brushing, and rinsing your mouth. 
  • Avoid caffeine, smoking, and alcohol if you have dry mouth. Also, make sure you use only alcohol-free mouthwashes as alcohol can aggravate the symptoms of dry mouth.
  • Using a humidifier can also be beneficial if you notice your symptoms are worse in the morning.

If you are looking for a dentist in Ames who can help you with your xerostomia, contact Campus Town Dental. We will be happy to help you.


Campustown Dental

Campustown Dental, located in Ames, Iowa is a family dental care center committed to restoring and enhancing the healthy smile of you and your family. Our highly skilled dental team is dedicated to delivering the most comprehensive and affordable dental care accessible in the most comfortable surroundings.

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