Causes of Dry Mouth / Xerostomia, Dry Mouth Conditions & Dry Mouth SymptomsGenerally saliva isn’t appreciated until it is gone. Dry mouth conditions, also known as xerostomia, affects at least one third of adults in the United States. Normal human salivary glands produce about 4-6 cups of saliva per day, but when this amount drops significantly dry mouth symptoms can develop quickly. Symptoms of xerostomia can range from mild dryness to pain and burning in the mouth. Some common consequences of the condition can be halitosis, gum disease and increased tooth decay.
Dry mouth conditions can produce serious negative effects in quality
of life of an individual. It can lead to changes in a person’s dietary
habits that can negatively affect their nutritional state, effect speech
and taste, and hinder one’s ability to wear full or partial dentures.
The most common cause of xerostomia is the aging process. The aging
process will cause the saliva glands to produce less saliva, and as one
ages the numbers of medications being used that can cause xerostomia
The causes of dry mouth are numerous but the most common cause of this
salivary dysfunction is related to medications of different kinds. There
are over 600 prescription and non-prescription drugs that can induce
xerostomia, but the common ones are allergy medications,
anti-depressives, blood pressure medications, and diuretics just to name
a few. Coffee is considered a diuretic. Other causes are aging,
dehydration, and using alcohol based mouth rinses. Some less common
causes are radiation treatment to the head and neck areas, certain
chemotherapy agents, patients suffering from Sjögrens Syndrome,
diabetes, and other autoimmune diseases. Sjögrens Syndrome is an
autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s own moisture-producing glands
throughout the body. It can affect numerous organs, in the body the
eyes, the mouth, joint pain, the nervous system, and cause severe
fatigue. Approximately a million people in the United States suffer from
various forms of this disease and it is the most common autoimmune
condition seen today.
Inflammation of the salivary glands and ducts can also result in a decreased salivary flow and blocked salivary ducts due to salivary stones will also produce a xerostomia condition.
People suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease will often be taking medications that will reduce salivary flow and lead to dry mouth symptoms.
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