4 major causes of a dry mouth

Dry Mouth

The common symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Altered sense of taste
  • Mouth sores or cracked lips
  • Tooth decay
  • Bad breath or chronic halitosis
  • Stringy or thick saliva
  • Frequent problems with lipstick on teeth
  • Sore throat, trouble swallowing or oral fungal infections
  • Increased plaque, gingivitis or periodontitis

Causes of dry mouth

The common causes of dry mouth are:

1. Mouth breathing versus nose breathing

Mouth breathing can be a significant contributor to dry mouth. Mouth breathing is dysfunctional breathing – we are all designed to breathe through our nose.
When we breathe through our nose, the air passes through five levels of filtration:

  1. fine hairs in the nose
  2. mucous lining of the nostril
  3. sinuses and turbinates (to warm and humidify)
  4. the adenoids (part of the immune system)
  5. the tonsils (part of the immune system).

Breathing is also the most important part to a good night’s sleep. As sleep is the building block for good health, it is vitally important that when you are asleep you are breathing well. This is about the body rebuilding itself and regenerating itself.

So, if you have dry mouth, it is important to consider that this could be due to mouth breathing. By retraining yourself to breathe through your nose, you may not only prevent dry mouth, but also reap the rewards by improving sleep and therefore your overall health.

2. Medications

There are a large number of medications that can contribute to dry mouth. These range from analgesics to anti-depressants. You can download a list of medications that may contribute to dry mouth. If you’re concerned about some of the medications you’re taking, you can consult your doctor or dentist for alternative medications.

3. Radiation therapy and Chemotherapy

Salivary glands can be affected during cancer treatment. It is important for individuals who have had radiation or chemotherapy to be aware of this potential side effect. Awareness is especially important for individuals who have had this treatment for oral cancer specifically. Both the quality and amount of saliva is affected.

4. Other health conditions

There are a number of health conditions that are related to dry mouth. Sjogrens syndrome and other autoimmune diseases can attack glands that produce mucous. A dry mouth may be the early warning sign of an autoimmune disease. Dry mouth may also occur in diabetics due to high blood sugar levels. Inadequate saliva can then lead to dehydration and difficulty chewing a swallowing food.

Stress and depression can also have a dramatic effect on your bodily functioning.