Hegewisch, IL
(773) 646-4664

Burbank, IL
(708) 424-5650

Woman drinking water

Xerostomia (dry mouth) occurs when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth adequately moist. Studies estimate that approximately 22% of all adults suffer from the condition.

Various illnesses and medications can cause the condition. However, dry mouth can also signify more serious underlying conditions and cause oral health problems if left untreated.

Common Causes of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands fail to produce the necessary amount of saliva to moisten your mouth. Several factors can cause this, including:

Medication Side Effects

Several prescription medications are known to cause dry mouth. Some drug classes that commonly lead to dry mouth include anticholinergics, antidepressants, stimulants, painkillers, benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics.

Cancer Treatment

Both chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatment can affect the salivary glands and reduce saliva production.

Tobacco, Alcohol, and Drug Use

Tobacco and alcohol use can reduce your body’s saliva production. Similarly, certain recreational drugs can cause dry mouth, often leading to tooth damage. Drugs that most commonly cause dry mouth include methamphetamines, cocaine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), and marijuana.

Underlying Health Problems

Many other health issues cause dry mouth, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and HIV/AIDS.

Snoring or Mouth Breathing

People who snore or breathe through their mouth often suffer from dry mouth from airflow drying their saliva.

Dry Mouth Health Consequences

Though temporary dry mouth is an inconvenience. Chronically insufficient saliva levels can lead to more severe complications, including:

Tooth Decay

Saliva neutralizes acids in the mouth and limits bacterial growth by flushing food particles from the mouth. Without adequate saliva, your teeth are vulnerable to decay from increased bacteria. Reduced saliva also encourages plaque production, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

Sores in the Mouth

Saliva lubricates the mouth, which prevents the teeth from injuring the soft tissue. A lack of saliva can lead to mouth sores since there is insufficient lubrication to protect the tissue.


Thrush is the overgrowth of the Candida albicans fungus in the mouth, which can cause painful sores and other complications like systemic thrush infections. Low saliva levels increase the likelihood of a person developing thrush.

Dry Mouth Treatments

Fortunately, there are a few ways that your dentist can treat dry mouth. These treatments include:

Prescription Mouth Rinses

Several prescription mouthwashes increase saliva flow; most contain xylitol as an active ingredient.

Artificial Saliva

Artificial saliva can be used to supplement natural saliva production and reduce symptoms of dry mouth. Active ingredients typically include Carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and glycerin.

Prescription Dry Mouth Drugs

A few prescription drugs are available to treat severe dry mouth, including pilocarpine and cevimeline.

Treating Dry Mouth with TruBlu Dentistry

You should see a dentist for evaluation and treatment if you suffer from dry mouth. Early treatment can prevent dry mouth from progressing into more severe complications.

The dental team at TruBlu Dentistry can help you restore your saliva production and protect your teeth, as well as address any oral health issues due to dry mouth like tooth decay. Call us today to schedule a dental exam and to discuss your oral health.

Be proud of your smile.