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Dry Mouth



Dry mouth syndrome is when there is not enough saliva (spit) in the mouth. A dry mouth is a symptom of an underlying problem, rather than a disease in itself. Causes may include drugs or medication, dehydration, Sjogren’s syndrome, infection, nerve problems and some cancer treatments. Dry mouth syndrome is also called xerostomia.

Causes of reduced salivary flow

  • Medications: anti-hypertensives, sedatives, anti-histamines, respiratory inhalers, etc
  • Systemic disease: Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, rheumatoid, etc
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radioactive iodine therapy
  • Electrolyte loss: dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Lifestyle factors: smoking, excessive caffeine intake, alcohol abuse, etc

Symptoms of dry mouth

  • Saliva that feels thick or stringy
  • Rough, dry tongue
  • The tongue tending to stick against the roof of the mouth
  • Problems with chewing or swallowing (particularly dry foods such as biscuits)
  • Bad breath
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Dry and cracked lips
  • Susceptibility to oral thrush infections
  • High rate of tooth decay
  • A prickly burning sensation in the mouth
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