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What Are the Causes of Dry Mouth?

What Are the Causes of Dry Mouth?

A dry mouth, or xerostomia, is when you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth. Saliva is important because it keeps the mouth clean, helps fight bacteria, and helps you digest food. A lack of saliva can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

A dry mouth can be temporary or chronic. It can be caused by many things, such as:

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage can cause dry mouth. The nerves in the mouth are responsible for activating the salivary glands. If the nerves are damaged, the salivary glands won’t produce the necessary amount of saliva. This can be treated with medication or surgery.

Medical Conditions

Medications, chemotherapy, and radiation are some of the most common medical causes of dry mouth. These treatments often cause nerve inflammation and damage, which prevent the salivary glands from producing enough saliva.


Dehydration isn’t just caused by a lack of fluids. It can also be caused by certain medications.

You may be taking medication for multiple health issues, and your oral health may not be one of them. But certain medications, such as antacids and antihistamines, can actually cause dry mouth. Even over-the-counter medications can have this effect.

If your mouth is dry, there are still some things you can do to restore your dental health. Try using a humidifier at night, staying hydrated, and avoiding sugary foods.

Tobacco Use

Chewing tobacco and smoking tobacco both cause dry mouth. This is because tobacco contains chemicals that irritate the mouth, leading to dry mouth. A dry mouth is also a result of smoking tobacco because smoking causes xerostomia.

Tobacco users also tend to drink alcohol regularly. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it causes the body to excrete fluids. Drinking alcohol excessively can lead to dehydration, which can also cause dry mouth.

Age-Related Change

As people age, they can lose some of the glands that create saliva. This can lead to a dry mouth. Also, as people age, they may have problems chewing food or swallowing, which also leads to dry mouth. Visit your dentist in Oakland, CA, when you experience this condition.


A dry mouth is a common symptom of menopause. It’s common for pregnant women to experience dry mouth. A dry mouth can cause a number of side effects. It’s uncomfortable and can impact your oral health. It can also lead to serious dental conditions like gum disease.

It’s estimated that around 91% of women experience dry mouth and menopause at the same time. A dry mouth is also a common symptom of aging. Regardless of your gender or age, it’s a good idea to contact your dentist in Oakland, CA, if you experience dry mouth.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

The autoimmune disorder rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes painful joints, fever, and fatigue, but dry mouth is also a common symptom of RA. A dry mouth is caused by the production of fewer saliva glands and a decrease in saliva production. This decrease in saliva production can make it easier to contract infections like thrush and gum disease.

To learn more about best practices for oral health, call Bay Area Dental at (510) 350-8187 or visit our dental office at 3300 Webster Street, #907, Oakland, CA 94609. Book your appointment with our dentist in Oakland, CA, to achieve the smile you have always wished for.


3300 Webster Street, #907, Oakland, CA 94609

Office Hours

MON Closed

TUE 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

WED Closed

THU 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

FRI - SUN Closed

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Phone: (510) 350-8187