Can radiation cause dry mouth?

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Yes, if the radiation is given to the head and neck area. It depends upon the amount of radiation given and the location to the radiation.

In the last 10 or more years significant strides have been made to reduce the amount of radiation that is given to the salivary glands during radiation treatment.
 
Dry mouth can be a side effect of radiation treatment for head and neck cancers. If you feel like your mouth is always dry, ask your dentist to examine your teeth for signs of decay. You can also ask your physician to test for any underlying disease or conditions that may be causing your dry mouth.  
Dry mouth is a common side effect of radiation treatment. Your mouth relies on certain glands to produce saliva, which keeps your mouth well lubricated. Radiation therapy can damage salivary glands, leaving your mouth feeling dry and parched. You may also develop cracked lips, sores, or other mouth problems. While undergoing radiation treatment, try to sip water and sugarless beverages as much as possible. Sucking on ice chips can also help. Avoid alcohol as well as coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine, which can cause your mouth and body to become dehydrated.

Yes, radiation therapy can cause dry mouth (xerostomia). In many cases, the radiation therapy actually damages the saliva glands. When this happens, medications that promote saliva production will not help. Talk to your doctor if you are suffering dry mouth as a result of your radiation therapy.

Continue Learning about Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.