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What is the relationship between dry mouth and health problems?

People who develop chronic dry mouth often have other health conditions caused by immune system problems. Also called xerostomia, chronic dry mouth occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly destroys glands that produce saliva, which lubricates the mouth. If you have any of the following immune diseases, there's a chance you may develop chronic dry mouth:

  • polymyositis
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • scleroderma
  • systemic lupus erythematosus

Tell your doctor if you have persistent dry mouth.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

You wouldn't think that something besides tooth loss would forecast old age, but the lack of saliva is also quite telling. There are lots of serious conditions that list dry mouth (xerostomia) as a prime symptom such as Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that affects glands that lubricate, including salivary glands. Although dry mouth is not a normal consequence of aging, it can forewarn that another condition is underway. Dry mouth is also a symptom of menopause, diabetes, thyroid disease, Parkinson's disease, and sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder that causes breathing to stop and start a few times a night.

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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.