Dry Mouth (Xerostomia): Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies

Mar 8 • 3 minute read

Dry mouth, medically known as xerostomia, is a common condition that occurs when the salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva to keep the mouth adequately moist. While occasional dry mouth may be a temporary inconvenience, chronic xerostomia can lead to discomfort and potential oral health issues. In this blog post, we explore the causes, symptoms, and remedies for dry mouth, shedding light on this often-overlooked condition.

Understanding Dry Mouth

Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health by lubricating the mouth, aiding in digestion, and preventing bacterial overgrowth. When saliva production decreases, the mouth becomes dry and uncomfortable, making it difficult to speak, swallow, and chew properly. Chronic dry mouth can also increase the risk of dental decay, gum disease, and oral infections.

Causes of Dry Mouth

1. Medications: Numerous medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, and antihypertensive drugs, can cause dry mouth as a side effect.

2. Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as Sjögren's syndrome, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson's disease, can impair salivary gland function and contribute to xerostomia.

3. Lifestyle Factors: Habits such as smoking or chewing tobacco can exacerbate dry mouth symptoms by reducing saliva production and increasing oral dryness.

4. Dehydration: Inadequate fluid intake, particularly water, can lead to dehydration and dry mouth.

5. Nerve Damage: Damage to the nerves that control salivary gland function, often due to injury or surgery, can result in diminished saliva production.

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

1. Sticky or Dry Feeling in the Mouth: Individuals with dry mouth may experience a persistent sensation of dryness or stickiness in the mouth.

2. Difficulty Swallowing or Speaking: Reduced saliva production can make it challenging to swallow food or speak comfortably.

3. Frequent Thirst: Dry mouth often prompts increased thirst as the body attempts to compensate for the lack of moisture in the mouth.

4. Bad Breath: Insufficient saliva can lead to the buildup of bacteria in the mouth, resulting in persistent bad breath.

5. Sore Throat or Hoarseness: Dry mouth may contribute to throat irritation, soreness, or hoarseness due to inadequate lubrication.

Remedies for Dry Mouth

1. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps keep the mouth moist and alleviates dry mouth symptoms.

2. Chew Sugar-Free Gum or Suck on Sugar-Free Candy: Chewing gum or sucking on candy stimulates saliva production and provides temporary relief from dry mouth.

3. Use Saliva Substitutes: Over-the-counter saliva substitutes or mouthwashes designed for dry mouth can help lubricate the mouth and relieve discomfort.

4. Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco: Limiting or abstaining from alcohol and tobacco products can help reduce dry mouth symptoms and promote oral health.

5. Humidify the Air: Using a humidifier in your home, particularly at night, can help add moisture to the air and prevent dry mouth during sleep.


Dry mouth can significantly impact oral health and quality of life if left untreated. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and remedies for xerostomia, individuals can take proactive steps to manage their symptoms and minimize potential complications. If dry mouth persists despite lifestyle modifications or over-the-counter remedies, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional or dentist for further evaluation and personalized treatment recommendations.

Quenching Comfort: Addressing Dry Mouth with Dr. Anthony P. Parrella

Dry mouth can pose significant challenges to oral health and overall well-being, but you don't have to face it alone. With Dr. Anthony P. Parrella and his dedicated team by your side, you can navigate the discomfort of dry mouth and regain moisture and comfort in your oral environment.

Don't let dry mouth diminish your smile or dampen your spirits. Take the first step toward relief and revitalization by contacting Dr. Anthony P. Parrella at (617) 625-3022 or visiting our website. Together, we can embrace moisture and restore balance to your oral health and overall well-being.


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