woman pointing to mouth

Dry Mouth

Constant dry mouth is uncomfortable. It can cause bad breath, affect your sense of taste, and make chewing and swallowing more difficult.

Because saliva plays an important role in digestion and helps to keep teeth clean, dry mouth can have a major impact on your overall health.

So if my mouth gets dry, is it serious?

woman pointing to mouth

Occasional Dry Mouth Is Normal, But Persistent Symptoms May Be Serious

Discomfort

Persistent dry mouth can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including cracked lips, a sore throat, and a feeling of stickiness. Decreased saliva can also lead to frequent thirst and mouth sores.

Difficulty Speaking, Chewing, or Swallowing

Without sufficient saliva, normal daily activities can be more difficult. You may struggle to speak due to a hoarse voice or need to drink water frequently in order to swallow. Many individuals with dry mouth also have a decreased sense of taste.

Bad Breath

One of the roles of saliva is keeping your teeth clean by neutralizing bacteria. With dry mouth, bacteria spreads rapidly, leading to persistent bad breath.

Certain Lifestyle Factors Can Increase Your Risk for Dry Mouth

Smoking and chewing tobacco can affect the amount of saliva you produce and exacerbate dry mouth. Regularly breathing with your mouth open can also contribute to dry mouth symptoms. Individuals with seasonal allergies or other conditions that limit their ability to breathe through their nose may suffer with frequent dry mouth as well.

So what is causing my dry mouth?

Dry Mouth Most Often Appears as a Side Effect of Other Issues

Medications

Dry mouth is a common side effect of hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter medications, including antidepressants, antihistamines, and pain relievers. Some cancer therapies can also affect saliva.

Medical Conditions

Decreased salivation is also associated with health conditions. Nerve damage in the head or neck can affect salivary glands. Dry mouth can also result from diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain autoimmune disorders.

Snoring

Nighttime snoring or mouth breathing can also cause dry mouth symptoms. Often, patients with sleep apnea will experience issues with morning dry mouth as well.

"Medications are one of the most common causes of dry mouth. Long-term relief from your dry mouth may mean stopping or changing your medication or its dosage, or addressing underlying health issues." Thomas J. Salinas, DDS

Lifestyle Changes Can Limit the Effects of Dry Mouth

Avoid Products That Can Worsen Dry Mouth

Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol can all contribute to dry mouth. Limiting your caffeine intake, stopping tobacco use, and avoiding mouthwash with alcohol can all help prevent dry mouth.

Breathe through Your Nose

Learning to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth can also help minimize your issues with dry mouth. Your dentist may have tips for changing your habits.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing gum or sucking on sugar-free candies can help stimulate the flow of saliva. You can also try sipping water throughout the day to keep your mouth moist.

Schedule an Exam with Your Dentist

Discussing your symptoms and medical history with your dentist is the best way to determine if your dry mouth is serious. They can review the medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, and examine your mouth for signs of serious issues.

A dental exam

Your dentist will perform a visual exam to look for signs of dry mouth.

In some cases, you may need additional testing to determine the cause of your dry mouth and the best treatment option. These tests may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Imaging scans of your salivary glands
  • Measurements of how much saliva you produce
  • A biopsy

If your doctor suspects sleep apnea or snoring as the cause of your dry mouth, they may recommend a sleep study as well.

The Right Treatment for You Depends on the Cause

Prescription Changes

If your dry mouth is a side effect of a certain medication, your doctor may recommend switching to a different prescription or changing your dose.

Mouthwashes or Moisturizers

There are a variety of products available to lubricate the inside of your mouth. Your dentist may recommend a prescription or over-the-counter mouthwash designed for dry mouth, artificial saliva, or a moisturizer.

Medication

Certain prescription medications, such as pilocarpine and cevimeline, can help stimulate saliva production.

Mouthguards

If snoring or sleep apnea is at the root of your dry mouth, your dentist may fit you with a custom mouthguard to help you breathe through your nose throughout the night.

Talk to Your Doctor about a Solution

Saliva is crucial to maintaining the health of your teeth and your overall wellbeing. However, there are a variety of simple lifestyle changes you can make to limit the symptoms of dry mouth and protect your oral health. If you are concerned about dry mouth, schedule an appointment with a dentist today to find out how to protect your smile.

Dr. Malki

Malki Dental

Dr. Stephen Malki is a dentist who believes a smile is one of the most important means of expression. His prestigious distinctions in his field include:

  • Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantologists (ABOI)
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID)
  • Diplomate of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI)
  • Master of the Misch International Implant Institute
  • Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry

To book your consultation, please send us a message online or call us today at (201) 646-0800.

Contact Us Today

Dr. Stephen J. Malki is very gentle and caring. He makes you feel comfortable and does everything he can to ensure that you have a pleasant experience. As soon as you meet him you can see how much he cares for his patients.

Rate, Review & Explore

Social Accounts Sprite

River Edge Office

111 Kinderkamack Rd
River Edge, NJ 07661

Open Today 8:00am - 1:00pm

What is the best time for you?

Add additional time

Tell us a bit about yourself...

(201) 646-0800 Send a message