Dry mouth: symptoms, causes and treatment

Dry mouth is a common problem in the UK. It’s rarely anything serious, but it can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

This blog post will discuss dry mouth and its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is dry mouth?

Dry mouth (also known as ‘xerostomia’) is a condition where the salivary gland doesn’t make enough saliva to keep your mouth moist.

Saliva is important because it neutralizes acids, kills bacteria and washes away bits of foods.

Dry mouth can also make it hard to chew and or even talk.
What’s more, problems with your teeth and gums become more likely. These include:

  • gum disease
  • tooth decay
  • cavities

Symptoms of dry mouth
Symptoms of dry mouth include;

  • A dry and tight mouth
  • Bad breath
  • A sore throat
  • Difficulties chewing, swallowing or talking
  • A painful tongue
  • Tongue ulcers
  • Sticky saliva
  • Chapped lips

Causes of dry mouth

  • Dehydration: It’s common-sense, but when you don’t drink enough water, your mouth will become dry
  • Medications: Some medications can cause dry mouth, such as antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, cancer medications, and antidepressants
  • Age: Your risk for dry mouth gets higher as you get older. This can be due to medications, poor nutrition, long-term health problems, or just the fact that our bodies don’t work as well when we get old.
  • Health conditions: Some health conditions can increase the risk of dry mouth such as depression, diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s
  • Lifestyle: Your lifestyle also has an effect on your dental and overall health. You can experience a dry mouth if you have habits like smoking and drinking alcohol

How do I treat dry mouth?

Dry mouth is rarely serious and it can often be treated at home.

Things to try

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Suck on ice cubes or ice lollies
  • Chew gum or suck on sweets (as long as they’re sugar-free, of course…)
  • Use lip balm if your lips are dry
  • Ask a pharmacist for a gel or a spray to help you with dry mouth

Things to avoid

  • Alcohol
  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Acidic foods (like lemons)
  • Sugary foods
  • Smoking

If you think a medication you’re taking might be causing dry mouth, then do not stop taking it without getting medical advice first – even if you think it might be causing your symptoms.

Also, remember to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Dry mouth makes people more prone to tooth decay and gum disease, so it’s important to keep your teeth and gums clean.


This blog post has discussed the symptoms, causes, and treatment of dry mouth.

Dry mouth is rarely serious, but it can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease.

If you have dry mouth, then it’s best to see your dentist regularly. Your dentist will keep an eye on your oral health and make sure you don’t get a disease.

If you need a dentist, then call us to make an appointment. We’ll be happy to take a look at your teeth and talk to you about dry mouth.

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