What is the Most Common Cause of Constant Dry Mouth?

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  • Written By: Nat Robinson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 15 November 2018
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A dry mouth, which is also known as xerostomia, is caused by a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva plays a crucial role to overall wellness. It helps with swallowing, prevents bacteria growth, contains enzymes which assist with food digestion and helps to decrease tooth decay. An occasional dry mouth is not uncommon, however, this condition can become unsettling if a person has a constant dry mouth. The ongoing problem can affect the ability to eat and talk as well as teeth health. In general, the most common cause of a constant or chronic dry mouth is medications.

Different types of medicines may interfere with the ability of the salivary glands to produce saliva. Long-term use of a medicine that causes a decrease in saliva can lead to the development of a constant dry mouth. Both over-the-counter and prescription medicines can equally cause this to happen. Some of the most general types of over-the-counter medicines which may cause a dry mouth include decongestants and antihistamines. In addition, some of the most common prescription medicines include medications for anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, urinary incontinence and diarrhea.


Medicines used in chemotherapy can also diminish saliva production. Aside from chemotherapy, a constant dry mouth may also be caused by other types of therapeutic treatment for cancer. For instance, radiation can cause this mouth ailment. Individuals undergoing radiation therapy on the neck or head may be more at risk of the condition. This is mainly because the salivary glands may be more easily damaged when receiving radiation to these areas.

It is also important to note the various health conditions which can make a person have a constant dry mouth. Sjogren's syndrome is a type of autoimmune disorder that can cause extreme dry mouth. Diseases such as diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and Parkinson's disease are also frequent causes. Furthermore, individuals who suffer from nerve damage to the head or neck may have a continual dry mouth as well. In general, any type of injury which may damage the salivary glands can drastically decrease saliva production in the mouth and cause drastic dryness in the area.

Constant dry mouth remedies can vary. Dry mouth caused by a medication will generally result in some changes being made to that medicine. This may include changing the medicine or the dosage. For individuals who suffer from an ongoing dry mouth due to a medical treatment or health condition, doctors may prescribe a medicine to increase saliva production. Making lifestyle changes such as avoiding chewing tobacco, stop smoking and decreasing caffeine consumption may also provide dry mouth relief.


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