What causes dry mouth? 21 possible conditions

Viewing 1 - 20 of 21 results

Dry mouth—known medically as xerostomia—is a condition that occurs when saliva glands in the mouth don’t work properly, causing a parched feeling in the mouth. Other symptoms include a rough tongue, mouth sores, and cracked lips.

Saliva is a necessary part of the digestion process, as well as a major defense mechanism that your body needs to maintain good dental health. Saliva protects the mouth against gum disease and tooth decay.  While not a serious medical condition, dry mouth can be a sign of a larger medical problem.

Causes of Dry Mouth

  • dehydration
  • pain relievers
  • stress
  • appetite suppressants
  • autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis or Sjögren's syndrome
  • botulism
  • chemotherapy
  • radiation therapy of the head and neck
  • blood pressure medication
  • antidepressants
  • urinary incontinence medications
  • tranquillizers
  • marijuana

Treatments for Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is usually a temporary and treatable condition. In most cases, it can be treated by doing on or more of the following:

  • sipping water often
  • sucking on ice cubes or sugarless candy
  • chewing sugarless gum
  • avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
  • avoiding salty or spicy foods
  • limiting sugar intake
  • using a humidifier in your bedroom overnight
  • taking over-the-counter saliva substitutes
Read More

See a list of possible causes in order from the most common to the least.

1

Hyperventilation

Hyperventilation happens when you suddenly start breathing very quickly. Exhaling more than you inhale causes low carbon dioxide levels, which leads to lightheadedness and tingling in the fingers.

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2

Dehydration

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Dehydration occurs when you lose more fluid than you drink. The most common cause of water loss from the body is excessive sweating. Headaches, dizziness, and decreased urination are symptoms.

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3

Marijuana Dependence

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Uncontrollable or overly frequent marijuana consumption may indicate abuse or addiction.

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4

Anxiety

What is anxiety? Anxiety often manifests itself as an apprehension about daily life. Learn the basics with this overview of the types of anxiety disorders.

Read more »

5

Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that affects the glands that help the body create moisture in the eyes and mouth. Women are most likely to be affected.

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6

Sarcoidosis

Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that causes granulomas, which are clumps of immune cells, to form in different organs. A skin rash is one symptom of sarcoidosis of the skin.

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7

Salivary Gland Infections

A salivary gland infection occurs when a bacterial or viral infection affects the salivary gland or duct. The infection can result from reduced saliva flow or the blockage or inflammation of a salivary duct. Th...

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8

Botulism

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

Botulism poisoning is caused by a toxin that is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. It's a rare but serious illness. It can be transmitted through food, contaminated soil, or through an open wound.

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9

Enlarged Adenoids

Adenoids are small tissues located at the back of the throat. They are similar to the tonsils, and located right above them. Both adenoids and tonsils are part of the immune system. Adenoids are present at birth, an...

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10

Diabetes Overview

Diabetes is a group of chronic metabolic diseases caused by defects in insulin production or function. Advanced diabetes may cause stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, and cramps.

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11

Type 2 Diabetes Overview

Type 2 diabetes, is a common chronic metabolic disease that leads to abnormally high levels of blood sugar in the blood. This blood sugar is also referred to as "glucose."

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12

Anemia

Anemia occurs when the number of healthy red blood cells (RBCs) in the body is too low. Red cells carry oxygen to all the body's tissues, so a low red blood cell count indicates that the amount of oxygen in the blood i...

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13

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease. People with type 1 have high levels of glucose in their blood. Glucose is a natural sugar that your body uses as a source of energy. It is obtained from food. Extra glucose i...

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14

Acute Stress Disorder

In the weeks after a traumatic event, you may develop an anxiety disorder called acute stress disorder (ASD). ASD typically occurs within one month of a traumatic event. It lasts at least two days and up to one month...

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15

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus

The immune system normally fights off dangerous infections and bacteria to keep the body healthy. An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system attacks its own body because it confuses it for something foreign...

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16

Dissection of the Aorta

This condition is considered a medical emergency. Urgent care may be required.

The aorta is a large artery that carries blood out of your heart. If you experience a dissection of the aorta, it means that blood has entered the wall of the artery, between the inner and middle layers. This can happe...

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17

Lichen Planus

Lichen planus is a common skin rash that is not contagious. Common symptoms may include lesions in the mouth which may be painful or cause a burning sensation.

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18

Rheumatoid Arthritis Overview

Learn about rheumatoid arthritis information, causes, symptoms and treatments. Explore our doctor-reviewed articles and read more now!

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19

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Damage to the liver from excessive drinking can lead to ALD. Years of alcohol abuse cause the liver to become inflamed and swollen. This damage can also cause scarring known as cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is the final stage o...

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20

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is a common form of chronic arthritis in children. It is a long-term autoimmune condition characterized by stiffness and swelling in the joints. Most cases of JRA are mild, but sever...

Read more »

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose.
Please consult a healthcare professional if you have health concerns.
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