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Xerostomia: What Conditions Lead To Dry Mouth?

Xerostomia: What Conditions Lead To Dry Mouth?
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Xerostomia

dry mouth


Xerostomia, better known as “dry mouth,” refers to a very dry feeling in the mouth, as if there is little to no saliva. It is a very common condition that is often caused by an underlying condition or lifestyle factor. While not dangerous to your health, if left untreated it can lead to dental conditions like gingivitis.

What Causes Xerostomia?

  • Stress
  • Sjogrens Syndrome
  • Celiac Disease
  • Certain medications
    • Anti-depressants
    • Decongestants
    • Anti-histamines
    • Acne medications
    • Bronchodilators
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Nerve damage
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Dehydration
  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Frequent mouth-breathing

Types of Xerostomia

There is only one type of xerostomia.

Xerostomia Symptoms

  • An itchy dry feeling in the mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • An itchy, dry feeling in the throat
  • A red, irritated tongue
  • Bad breath
  • Sore throat
  • Impaired taste
  • Trouble talking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness

xerostomia

Diagnosing Xerostomia

Your primary care physician or dentist can diagnose xerostomia through a physical examination and assessment of your symptoms. They may confirm the diagnosis with a sialometery test, which measures the amount of saliva you produce.

Treating Xerostomia

Treating xerostomia is dependent on treating the underlying cause. Once the underlying cause is resolved, the dry mouth is usually resolved as well. If the underlying cause cannot be resolved, there are medications that can alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth by increasing saliva production. Habits like sucking dry candy and drinking more water can also help relieve the symptoms of dry mouth.

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