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Dry mouth – cause and effect

Less amount of saliva secretion cause dry mouth. It is a clinical manifestation of salivary gland dysfunction. There are various factors that causes dry mouth.

Various causes for dry mouth : 

Radiation induced 

Radiation therapy to head and neck region for cancer treatment affects the salivary gland cells (dose dependent) causing dry mouth.

Medicine/ drug induced

Certain drugs that are taken for vomiting, allergy, blood pressure, muscle spasm and convulsions can cause decreased salivary flow because of reduced activity of para-sympathetic action.

Local factors

Like smoking, mouth breathing and decreased chewing can lead to dry mouth

Developmental abnormality

When abnormality of salivary gland occurred during the formation of fetus, or tumor or autoimmune states can cause dry mouth

Systemic alternations

Nutritional deficiency like anemia, vitamin A deficiency and hormonal imbalance can cause dry mouth.

Fluid loss associated with hemorrage, sweating, diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration, Diseases like diabetes, certain syndromes and graft versus host resistances can  cause dry mouth.

Signs and symptoms of dry mouth:

Increased thirst, increased uptake of fluids, frequent use of means like chewing gums and sour candy, difficulties in swallowing, speech and eating dry foods.

Burning and tingling sensation in the mouth, frequent oral infection, intolerance to dental appliance, abnormal taste in mouth, tongue may adhere to soft palate, painful salivary gland enlargement, increased incidence of dental caries. Saliva consistency becomes thick, foamy and ropey.

Suggestions to the people have dry mouth :

Try sweet and tart food and beverages like lemonade, they may help to produce more saliva

chewing of sugar free candy and ice cubes

Use soft and liquid foods, which may be easier to swallow

Hydrate well and drink frequently

Avoid chewing vitamin c and acidic lozenges, dry, sticky and salty foods.

Report to your physician for taking proper medical management.



Textbook of oral medicine by Anil Govindrao Ghom, 2nd edition








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