Dry Mouth

Mouth | General Practice | Dry Mouth (Symptom)


Dry mouth is the condition of not having enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. Xerostomia is the medical term for the subjective complaint of dry mouth. Dry mouth can cause difficulties in tasting, chewing, swallowing, and speaking. It also leads to halitosis and a dramatic rise in the number of cavities.

Common symptoms of dry mouth include: a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth; frequent thirst; sores in the mouth; a dry feeling in the throat; a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth and especially on the tongue; a dry, red, raw tongue; bad breath. Several diseases, treatments, and medications can cause xerostomia. It can be a clue to systemic diseases such as Sjogren syndrome, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, and hypothyroidism.


Dry mouth is due to inadequate function of the salivary glands. Some medications can also cause dry mouth. It can also be exacerbated by smoking or drinking alcohol. Dry mouth can be a result of nerve damage to the head and neck area from an injury or surgery.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The treatment depends on the cause, but dry mouth is often a side effect of medication. Dry mouth may improve with an adjusted dosage or a new prescription.