What Causes Dry Mouth? Symptoms, Consequences, Treatment & Prevention

What Causes Dry Mouth? Symptoms, Consequences, Treatment & Prevention

Dry mouth is also medically called ‘Xerostomia’. It is the condition when a person does not have an ample amount of saliva to keep the mouth wet. Saliva plays a major role in maintaining and balancing your oral health.

A dry mouth may first appear to be slightly frustrating but can do great harm to your teeth. It’s painful too. 


  • Stress, extreme panic attack, or depression 
  • Smoking or drinking frequently 
  • Have an autoimmune disorder or Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Damage on the nerve because of head or neck injury
  • Radiation 
  • Chemotherapy
  • Sleep apnea 
  • Dehydration
  • Aging
  • Diseases, for example, Periodontitis, Diabetes, Parkinson’s, or HIV
  • Certain drugs 

Why should you never ignore its symptoms?

  • The function of saliva is to keep your mouth clean and fight against bacteria. It also minimizes the acids that cause tooth decay.
  • So if you get a dry mouth at night, you’re only building a room for housing bacteria inside your mouth. You’ll remain asleep for several hours, and for the whole night you may not even wake up to drink water. Because of the lack of saliva, your teeth will ultimately become exposed to cavities and bacterial infection as well.
  • A dry mouth produces foul breath which can make you feel embarrassed. 
  • When there is a lack of saliva, it turns the skin in and around your mouth dry and even tight. Your lips may also crack. You may develop sores at the corners of your mouth too. It may be difficult for you to properly swallow and talk.
  • A dry mouth can cause irritation to your taste buds too. You may experience a salty, metallic, or other taste in your mouth. Your tongue may get rough and dry too.
  • Saliva also plays a significant role to ease your digestion process. It breaks down food particles into simpler forms. 
  • You may even be troubled with your digestive system due to a deficiency of saliva. More specifically, when you swallow your food, you may suffer from issues, as they will not be broken down in a proper manner.
  • You can get red spots inside your mouth. A dry mouth can also cause ulcers.
  • When the bacterial content inside your mouth grows, there is a high chance of dental infection. So when the food reaches your stomach, that food carries bacteria. And this can also cause food poisoning.
  • The glands present in front of your ears also known as parotids may grow swollen.
  • Please note that a dry mouth can also be a warning sign of severe oral cancer. 
  • Dentures become quite painful to handle. Dry mouth and dentures never go together. When your mouth is dry, the dentures can result in sores.

When Should I See My Dentist?

If you find that your dry mouth at night is actually chronic or only occurred when you started taking a new medication, then you need to consult your dentist without further delay. Your dentist may change your dosage or may advise you to switch to another medicine.

Your dentist may also give you drugs in order to boost the function of your salivary glands.

Seek dental help instantly if you have got a dry mouth and are suffering from other severe symptoms such as difficulty in swallowing, breathing, or have a high fever


  • Go for dental checkups on a regular basis
  • Brush and floss daily
  • Purchase an antibacterial mouth-rinse to clean your mouth after every meal
  • Stay hydrated always
  • Chew sugar-free gums to boost saliva production
  • Buy a humidifier to add more moisture to the air

Get the Help you need!

You can get in touch with Signature Smiles if you want to receive the best oral exams in Encino, CA. Our dentist in Encino works hard to provide our patients the best treatment for any of their dental issues along with great comfort. We are just a call away.