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Who is most at risk for dry mouth?

There are many causes for dry mouth, including side effects from common over-the-counter and prescription medications. Dry mouth is a potential side effect of 400 medications. It can also be caused by radiation treatment for head and neck cancers. In some cases, dry mouth results from salivary gland disease, emotional stress or Sjögren’s Syndrome (an autoimmune disease). Snoring or breathing through your mouth may also result in a dry mouth.

Everyone’s mouth can be dry sometimes. If you feel like your mouth is always dry, it may be time to seek treatment. A dentist will check your teeth for signs of decay that can result from decreased salivary flow. A physician will test for any underlying disease or conditions that may be causing your dry mouth.
People who are taking certain medications are most at risk for dry mouth, or xerostomia. Many different medications, from chemotherapy to over-the-counter antihistamines can cause dry mouth. Additionally, your risk for chronic dry mouth increases as you age.
The risk for dry mouth is increased by some 400 medicines that reduce the amount of saliva that your mouth makes. These include many common prescriptions, including medications for high blood pressure and depression.

Many medical conditions can also cause dry mouth, including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and Sjogren’s, a disease that affects the immune system. People undergoing radiation or chemotherapy to treat cancer may get dry mouth as a side effect. An injury to the head or neck can also damage nerves that tell your salivary glands to make saliva.

Saliva plays an important role in preventing tooth decay and keeping your mouth healthy. Tell you dentist or doctor if you are having dry mouth on a regular basis. If medication is causing the problem, you may be able to switch prescriptions. Your dentist can also recommend other treatment options.

Continue Learning about Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

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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.