4 Causes of Chronic Dry Mouth

July 23, 2018

A woman sticking her tongue out.

Having a dry mouth is rarely enjoyable, so we do our best to keep ourselves hydrated. However, what do we do when we take a sip of water, brush our teeth, or use mouthwash, and the dry mouth still doesn’t go away? Are we using the wrong toothpaste? Or is there another underlying problem we never considered?

Today, your dentist in Stuart wanted to float four possible causes of your dry mouth before you visit your doctor.

Cause #1: Your Daily Habits

If you consume alcohol frequently, smoke cigarettes, or use any other drugs known for causing dry mouth, it can very easily be the cause. Try reducing your alcohol intake at first to confirm if it’s the cause. Your dentist says you should avoid all tobacco products and other illicit drugs as they put you at much higher risk of developing gum disease and oral cancer.

Cause #2: Physiological Changes

Keep in mind that having chronic dry mouth could be caused by something other than an underlying disease or habit. In fact, many changes in your body’s physicality are normal. Normal causes of dry mouth include:

  • Open-mouthed breathing
  • Decreases in salivary production when sleeping
  • Temporary anxiety
  • Mild dehydration
  • Menopause or pregnancy

Cause #3: Medications

The issue of side effects caused by new medications is far more common as you reach a certain age. In fact, 63 percent of the top 200 most commonly prescribed medications also cause dry mouth. This symptom can actually worsen if you take multiple medications with the side effect as well. Talk to your doctor to see if any alternatives exist to your current medication.

Cause #4: Undiagnosed Chronic Disease

In the rare case that you have an undiagnosed disease, you’ll want to get to your doctor as soon as possible. If you’ve exhausted all the other possibilities listed here, ask your doctor to confirm none of these conditions are present:

  • Sjogren’s Disease – a chronic immune/inflammatory disease where white blood cells attack moisture-producing glands
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Hepatitis C
  • Diabetes

When to Visit Your Doctor

Sometimes when patients have chronic dry mouth, it’s a sign of something idiopathic or psychogenic. Idiopathic means the cause is unidentifiable at first glance, while psychogenic means it’s related to a psychological condition. When these are the culprits, it becomes very difficult for a doctor to diagnose without closer examination.

With any worrisome symptoms, it’s important that you never rely on self-diagnosing. Instead, schedule a visit to your dentist and/or doctor for a more thorough examination. The last thing you want to do is forget about the symptoms and allow it to turn into something truly serious!

About the Author

Dr. Amy Crary earned her Doctorate in Dental Medicine degree from the University of Florida College of Dentistry. She’s also a graduate of the Core Curriculum at the Las Vegas Institute. She understands that each patient requires specialized care, especially when they have a complex issue they want handled. To learn more about her practice, contact her through her website.

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