Why Is My Mouth So Dry?

Why Is My Mouth So Dry?

Xerostomia, otherwise know as dry mouth, is a leading risk factor for tooth decay.  Although it doesn’t cause cavities, it can definitely allow the decay process to progress much faster. Learn more about a few leading causes of dry mouth:


Our bodies are made of 55 to 60% of water so it is important to stay hydrated! Good quality saliva is critical for keeping a healthy smile because it contains proteins and minerals that coat and protect the teeth against acids. These acids are found in many of the food and drink items we consume but are also created when germs in our mouth break down sugar. If you don’t drink enough water, your salivary flow begins to decrease and over time and your teeth will suffer.


There are hundreds of prescription medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. Antihistamines, blood pressure medications and antidepressants are the most common and also the most prevalent. We aren’t suggesting that you stop taking your life-saving medications, but consider speaking with your doctor if dry mouth has become a problem for you. Your doctor may be able to switch you to a similar medication that doesn’t yield the same side effects.

Cancer Treatments

Radiation and Chemotherapy are often used to fight off cancer sites effectively but high doses of each could reduce the salivary glands’ ability to produce saliva effectively. Radiation on and around the neck and face often causes inflammation of the salivary glands. Many patients continue to have dry mouth years after treatment, and in worse case scenarios damage the salivary glands permanently. Chemotherapy usually involves several types of medication that cause dry mouth, but fortunately in most cases; these side effects are temporary more often than not.

Father Time

As we age, our body’s systems just don’t work like the well oiled machines they once were. Age related dry mouth, although most commonly associated with medicines, can simply come on when the mucous membranes aren’t efficient. When the mouth is dry, root surfaces and margins of dental work that usually stay protected with moisture are now very susceptible to plaque attacks.

Chronic dry mouth affects about 20% of the general population and almost half of this percentage includes the elderly.  Although saliva substitutes and saliva stimulants are available, there are many cases that could benefit from nutritional counseling, fluoride products, and more frequent visits with our office to closely monitor areas as risk for decay.  If you are experiencing dry mouth, make it a priority to keep your teeth as clean as possible and contact us for further recommendations.  Call us today or make an appointment so we can help your smile shine on for years to come!