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Xerostomia – 8 Common Causes of Dry Mouth

The medical name for dryness of the mouth is Xerostomia, and it can be an unpleasant and irritating condition to deal with. What causes dry mouth? We all suffer from occasional symptoms due to stress or dehydration, but if you are experiencing considerably longer and more extreme cases of dry mouth, seeking medical advice is highly recommended.

Here is a list of 8 common causes of Xerostomia:


It is possible to be born with a condition that is most frequently associated with dry mouth. Ectodermal dysplasia is an example. This is a condition in which there is an absence of teeth, hair and sweat glands, and not surprisingly, the secretions from the salivary glands (the glands that produce saliva) can also be severely reduced or absent.


Dryness of the mouth is also associated with some diseases that are acquired during life. The rheumatic diseases and the auto-immune diseases are examples.


Temporary dryness of the mouth may be caused by infection or blockage of the salivary glands.


Drugs of many different varieties can modify or halt the production of saliva. Medications for neurologic diseases such as Parkinsonism are examples of such drugs. Drugs that increase urination, such as those that are used to control high blood pressure, may result in decreased saliva secretion as a result of a reduction in blood volume.


Doses of therapeutic radiation (a radiation dose sufficient to destroy a cancer) that includes the saliva glands can so damage saliva gland structure that the glands no longer produce saliva. The glands in the floor of the mouth (submandibular and sublingual glands) have the greatest role in maintaining wetness of the mouth during normal activities. The loss of function in these glands is most frequently associated with significantly increased rates of tooth decay and tooth breakdown


Drying of the mouth through excessive mouth breathing may result in drying of saliva such that it cannot circulate properly throughout the mouth.


Altered saliva circulation in the mouth, despite the secretion of a normally sufficient volume of saliva, can result in tooth decay and gum problems. Altered circulation can occur if the tongue cannot pump the saliva around the mouth as occurs in some stroke patients.


Circulation can also be affected by some surgical procedures that are used to remove disease from the mouth. Throat surgery can result in saliva draining immediately down the throat without lubricating the mouth. Removal of a part of the upper jaw results in secretions draining to the nose, and increased circulation of air in the mouth.

If you are experiencing any prolonged symptoms of dry mouth and would like advice on the condition and how it may be treated, please contact our offices, and one of our trained dental staff will be more than happy to advise a remedy.

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