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How to prevent Dry Mouth : Causes Symptoms Remedies and Natural Treatment

Updated on January 2, 2015

What is dry mouth?

What are the possible causes of the sensation of dry mouth? Let us look into the symptoms related to the problem and possible remedies to eliminate the nagging feeling that can also lead to language problems

The xerostomia is a nagging feeling of dry mouth that affects the ability to enjoy some food, to swallow and, in severe cases, is also a language problem. Dry mouth may only last a few hours or even a couple of days if is linked to a transient state of nervousness, which alters the normal functions of glandular secretion.

However, when it lasts for several days or weeks, it is a symptom of disease.

The most frequent symptoms that can accompany oral dryness are:

  1. viscous and pasty saliva mouth
  2. chapped lips
  3. ulcers on the internal cavities due to movements of the mouth in the absence of lubrication
  4. infections of the mouth and on the tongue
  5. dental caries and halitosis due to lack of salivary enzymes (lipase, amylase ...)

What are the causes of dry mouth?

The xerostomia, or the sensation of dry mouth, is generally caused by an incorrect operation of the salivary glands.

The major salivary glands, parotid, submandibular and sublingual, together with numerous other minor glands are positioned in the oral cavity that have the function of production and secretion of saliva which participates in the digestive process.

This function, controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system, may be compromised by some physiological conditions such as seniority, causes no pathological or by more complex diseases, for which the flow of saliva becomes insufficient.

Not always the xerostomia is caused by an altered salivary gland function!

Among the many non-pathological causes of dry mouth, these can be included:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol that determine dehydration of the oral cavity

  • Smoking, increases keratinization of the interior of the oral cavity. The inner walls of the mouth, in fact, thicken as a defensive measure at the entrance of the cigarette smoke that dries the natural moistness of the mouth

  • Aanxiety and stress, age

  • Taking medications such as diuretics used to treat hypertension, these drugs induce the excretion of potassium and water causing the increase in urine volume and lowering the blood. However, the massive excretion of water leads to a slight dehydration of the tissue perceived as dry feeling in the mouth. Even prolonged use of antibiotics, cortisone and NSAIDs, can cause dry mouth through the imbalance of normal bacterial flora of the oral cavity guest, more susceptible to attacks in pathogens

  • Antineoplastic therapies and immunodeficiencies, as in diseases characterized by immune deficiency also in the course of chemo therapy and radiotherapy, there is a reduction in the functionality of the immune system. This condition makes the mouth more susceptible to infections and symptoms related to xerostomia

Non-Pharmacological  causes of xerostomia
Non-Pharmacological causes of xerostomia

Dry mouth at night

The feeling of dry mouth is very frequent at night, but often not because of an infectious disease or salivary gland, but rather due to benign disorders such as sleep bruxism (tighten the jaw and teeth grinding), or because of various habits such as snoring or sleep with his mouth open ....

Avoid these habits and get rid of the xerostomia at Night. Actually it is simple, for example, use a pillow or use special bed suited to correct the bite bruxism.

The dry mouth can be one of many symptoms that characterize a disease. The most common are :

  • Sjogren's syndrome, is an autoimmune disease in which auto antibodies are directed against endocrine glands including salivary causing dry mouth. Other symptoms related to the disease are Raynaud's phenomenon (purplish red hands for sudden vasoconstriction), and vaginal dryness.

  • Thyroiditis, sometimes autoimmune thyroid disease such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is associated with hypothyroidism, or Graves' disease with hyperthyroidism, also cause xerostomia. Autoantibodies against thyroid glandular structures would be able to attack very similar structures of the salivary glands or even creating additional ophthalmic disorders.

  • Fibromyalgia, neurological imbalances and dysfunction of certain brain areas characterize this disease. The dryness of eyes and mouth caused by malfunction of the nerve fibers that activate the salivary and lacrimal glands is accompanied by mood disorders, dizziness and feeling of pain, especially in the spine that does not answer to the traditional analgesic drug therapy.

  • Liver and renal diseases, sometimes the feeling of pasty mouth and bitter taste are caused by a malfunction of the main organ deputies to the inactivation and excretion of toxic substances such as liver and kidneys. The waste that accumulate in the blood are capable of spreading through the blood to all tissues including the mouth, and taste buds will perceive the unpleasant taste.

  • Colds and tonsillitis, can cause dry mouth as a result of respiratory tract infections (nose, mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus). The bacteria are able to colonize the mucous membranes especially tonsils and as a consequence of their metabolic activity produce malodorous gases (carbon dioxide, sulfur ..), cause of halitosis. In addition, the colds lead to sleep with an open mouth, worsening the state of dryness of the mouth more noticeable in the morning.

  • Diabetes, when glucose rises too high in the blood, as occurs in diabetic patients is also expelled in urine, but with it being one sugar attracts a lot of water in the kidney and this leads to frequent urination which in turn causes dehydration all parts of the body including the mouth.

  • Fever, elevation of body temperature in fact, involves a marked sweating, and where to compensate for the loss of water the body responds with a strong feeling of thirst that is felt precisely with the feeling of dry mouth, in order to avoid dehydration .

  • Allergies, dry mouth accompanied by gingivitis, can also be a symptom of allergy, for example, to dental prostheses or components of toothpastes or mouthwashes used.

  • Xerostomia idiopathic, many cases of xerostomia do not exhibit other symptoms that allow to identify a disease trigger the sensation of dry mouth. There being no cause, these forms of xerostomia are called idiopathic.

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Pharmacological remedies for dry mouth.

It is not always possible to eliminate the causes of xerostomia, but you can still implement a symptomatic therapy, ie time to alleviate the problems caused by the disease.

Naturally, the drugs used for the treatment of xerostomia are different and vary according to the diagnosis of the disease:

In case of viral, bacterial and fungal infections, your doctor will prescribe, antivirals, antibiotics or antifungal accompanied by ritual cleansing and the use of oral specific mouthwash , that is pH neutral, alcohol-free and enriched with enzymes similar to those salivary glands.

In autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, idiopathic in xerostomia, or when it is not possible to eliminate the causes of dry mouth, symptomatic therapy provides for the use of gel that stand in salivary action being enriched with salivary enzymes, and practice frequent oral cleaning .

When the xerostomia depends organ malfunction, however, appropriate therapy and specific alleviate the symptom.

In the case of gastrointestinal disease, liver and kidney diseases, nutrition plays an essential role: avoid too fat or indigestible foods and meals.

Natural remedies against xerostomia.

In addition to drug therapy it is important to:

  • follow a healthy balanced diet

  • have a proper oral hygiene

In the case you do not want to resort to medication you can always think of using natural remedies such as:

Artichoke, included in the diet or in the form of infusions and decoctions, stimulates bile secretion due to a cynarin composed of similar properties. This is useful when the bitter mouth is caused by defects of the gallbladder.

Milk thistle, nettle and chicory, are the basis of supplements and tea to use when dry mouth is caused by poor liver function. Rich in antioxidant flavonoids, purify the liver from the dross.

Sage and parsley chewed for a while after you brush your teeth are effective in combating halitosis.


The acupuncture technique has proved effective in many cases of xerostomia eliminating their symptoms regardless of the cause. The treated areas, in this case are ears, chin, index finger and forearm and on the sides of the body. The treatment lasts several weeks.

Do you have Xerostomia?

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