Possible Causes of Dry Mouth

two glasses of red wine being toasted

What Is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth is a health condition where the salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva. Your mouth becomes dry, which is a problem because your spit plays an important role in your oral health! Saliva neutralizes the acids produced by bacteria and washes away food debris. Without enough saliva, your risk for tooth decay and gum disease increases. What causes this condition? There are a few possible causes:

Certain Health Conditions

Diabetes, autoimmune diseases, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease may cause dry mouth symptoms. People with sleep apnea may also experience dry mouth in the morning because of snoring and sleeping with an open mouth.


Hundreds of medications come with dry mouth as a side effect. Antidepressants, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, pain medications, and medications for high blood pressure are more likely to cause dry mouth.


Dry mouth is a common issue as people get older. There are a few reasons why, including increased medication use, certain health conditions, and changes in the body.

Drinking and/or Smoking

Alcohol and smoking both cause dry mouth symptoms. Because it’s a diuretic, alcohol dehydrates your body, including your mouth. For heavy drinkers, dry mouth can be a more persistent problem. The nicotine in tobacco also reduces the flow of saliva while “cottonmouth” is something cannabis smokers often experience.

Cancer Therapy

Many chemotherapy drugs affect your mouth’s ability to produce saliva. Radiation treatments to the head and neck can also damage your salivary glands. Dry mouth due to cancer therapy may be temporary, but it can become a permanent condition for some people.

Combating Dry Mouth at Three Creek Dentistry in Derwood, MD

Because dry mouth can increase your risk for issues like tooth decay and gum disease, visiting our office for professional cleanings and exams is important! It’s also important to stay hydrated and brush and floss well at home. If you have any questions about our services or want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Trinh or Dr. Lam, please contact us today!


Three Creek Dentistry