Dry Mouth: Symptoms, Causes and Tips

Dry mouth is also called xerostomia. On average, a person can produce about 500 to 600 milliliters of saliva per day. There may also be people whose saliva production exceeds one liter per day.

Dry mouth can feel uncomfortable and painful, especially when swallowing. The symptoms of a dry mouth are easy to treat, but often the cause is outside your mouth. Therefore, a visit to the doctor may be necessary.


There is a dry mouth due to reduced saliva production, so saliva production of less than about 150 milliliters per day. A lack of saliva can cause the following symptoms:

  • Halitosis (bad breath);
  • Food residue retention;
  • Unpleasant taste;
  • Difficulty swallowing, speaking and eating;
  • Burning sensation in the mouth;
  • Loss of taste during eating and drinking;
  • Dry or sticky feeling;
  • Dry lips and throat or mouth ulcers.

Due to a very shortage of saliva, the risk of developing caries and periodontal diseases is greatly increased. Fungal infections may also be more common in people with xerostomia.


A dry mouth can have various causes. Common causes are:

  • Due to aging;
  • Asthma and tightness;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Stress;
  • General dehydration and infection of the salivary glands;
  • Operations on the head or neck;
  • Heart and vascular disease;
  • Anxiety;
  • Salivary gland disease;
  • Prescribed medicines;
  • Cancer treatments such as radiotherapy;
  • Chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, HIV / AIDS, Addison’s disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease;
  • Nerve damage;
  • Breathing through your mouth;
  • Smoking tobacco;
  • Raised blood pressure;
  • Alcoholic cirrhosis.

Talk with your doctor before stopping any medications that may be causing dry mouth.

People whose saliva production cannot be stimulated or cannot be sufficiently stimulated are advised by a dentist or dental hygienist. For example, they will receive appropriate fluoride advice and may be prescribed saliva substitutes.

With oral hygiene instruction, the risk of caries, periodontal diseases and halitosis can be reduced to a large extent. Make an appointment with your dental hygienist for further instruction.

Dry mouth with dentures

Usually, dentures in a dry mouth do not stay firmly in place. In others, a thickened layer of saliva develops between the dentures and the oral mucosa. The dentures then stick to the palate, as it were. This will pry the dentures and create sore spots.


Try to stick to seven eating and drinking moments a day. In addition, I also have tips for people with dry mouth:

  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Avoid sugary products; these are cariogenic and cause feelings of thirst.
  • Eat soothing juicy foods, such as cucumber and tomato.
  • Chewing sugar-free xylitol chewing gum stimulates saliva production, resulting in an increased buffering effect.
  • Eat soft and liquid foods that are lukewarm or cold. Hard and / or hot foods can be painful on the sensitive mucous membranes.
  • Both alcoholic drinks and smoking dry out the mouth and make you more susceptible to gingivitis and oral cancer.
  • Avoid highly spicy foods; this quickly irritates the mucous membranes.
  • Suck regularly on menthol-containing sugar-free lozenges.
  • Use a mouthwash without alcohol. (Read the label and check that alcohol is not on the list of ingredients.)
  • Try using a humidifier at night to humidify the air in your room.
Source Healthline Mayo Clinic
You might also like