Why is My Mouth So Dry? Get Answers from Penn Dental Family Practice

Sunday, June 6, 2021
Why is My Mouth So Dry? Get Answers from Penn Dental Family Practice

When you are anxious or nervous, your mouth may suddenly feel dry. But, if you constantly feel like you need some water, or you just can’t produce enough saliva, it’s likely something other than nerves.

In fact, if the issue is chronic, you’ve likely wondered, “Why is my mouth so dry?” Especially if you aren’t dehydrated. It might feel like a mere annoyance, but your symptoms may be due to an underlying problem that needs treatment.

Several factors can cause dry mouth (or xerostomia) and the solution depends on what is causing it. Read on to learn more about different reasons for dry mouth and what you can do to increase saliva production and find relief.

PDFP's Chart for Picking the Right Dentist

Download our chart to get the answers you need to important questions about who to trust with your family’s oral health care.

Is Dry Mouth Serious?

Dentists in full personal protective equipment (PPE) discuss dry mouth symptoms with an older female patient. Occasionally having a dry mouth is normal and not much of a concern. If drinking fluids restores saliva, there’s nothing to worry about.

However, if you are wondering, “Why is my mouth so dry even though I drink a lot of water?” an underlying issue needs to be addressed. Saliva is vital to oral health. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, saliva:

  • Aids in food digestion.
  • Keeps your mouth clean.
  • Guards against tooth decay.

In addition to possibly harming your oral health, dry mouth can make it hard for you to speak, chew, and swallow. Food may taste different, and you may experience a sore throat, hoarseness, and bad breath.

If these sound like the symptoms you are experiencing, please visit a dentist for an evaluation. The dentists at Penn Dental Family Practice are experienced in treating dry mouth and will help find a solution that alleviates your discomfort and protects your oral health.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Attractive smiling Black woman pours a glass of water from a glass jar for a drink to help her dry mouth.When you visit your doctor or dentist and ask, “Why is my mouth so dry?” chances are, they’ll diagnose one of the following causes.


Dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands aren’t working properly. The American Dental Association (ADA) estimates more than 500 medications have the side effect of xerostomia. Some of the most common culprits include blood pressure medications, antidepressants, antihistamines, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Autoimmune Disorders and Mental Health Conditions

Certain disorders and conditions can cause dry mouth, including anxiety, stress, depression, cancer therapy, and certain autoimmune disorders, such as Sjogren’s syndrome. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease also often lead to dehydration, increasing the risk for dry mouth.

Life Factors

During pregnancy or breastfeeding, hormonal changes can cause women to experience dry mouth. Trauma, nerve damage, aging, cancer therapy, and smoking can be risk factors as well.

Fungal Infection

The most common fungal infection is thrush, a yeast infection in the mouth or throat. Thrush may be caused by antibiotics or immune-suppressing drugs. It’s also associated with underlying conditions like HIV, Addison’s disease, or diabetes.

More serious fungal infections are less common. They may be associated with HIV, certain cancers, and organ transplants. These are very serious infections that can cause significant oral health problems and infections elsewhere in the body.

How Do I Stop My Mouth From Being Dry?

Smiling Black woman brushes her teeth with a prescription toothpaste to help reduce dry mouth symptoms.Chronic dry mouth requires a visit to a medical provider for diagnosis and treatment.

During your appointment, the dentist will inspect the glands and ducts in your mouth and measure salivary flow. They will also inspect your lips, oral tissues, and tongue for dryness. Depending on the dentist’s findings and your medical history, you may be referred to a doctor for testing or put on a temporary treatment plan.

There are several ways you can manage dry mouth symptoms:

  • Drink more water. Drinking more water throughout the day will replenish your mouth. Sucking ice cubes can also be helpful.
  • Rinse with a special mouthwash. Avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol, as this will only worsen the problem. Choose alcohol-free mouthwash or over-the-counter artificial saliva substitutes and oral lubricants that contain glycerin for relief.
  • Chew gum. Choose sugar-free gum to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
  • Take prescription medication. Your doctor may prescribe medications to encourage salivary flow. However, people with glaucoma and asthma should not take these medications.
  • Use prescription toothpaste. Dry mouth puts you at risk for dental problems like fungal infections, tooth decay, and periodontitis. Prescription toothpaste contains higher amounts of calcium, fluoride, and phosphate to protect and remineralize your teeth.

Find Out Why Your Mouth Is So Dry

Whether you’re only experiencing dry mouth at night or it’s a 24/7 problem, don’t waste time asking, “Why is my mouth so dry?” We recommend seeing a professional as soon as possible.

Penn Dental Family Practice can help you to discover the cause of your dry mouth and take measures to control and treat it. Remember, whatever the cause, dry mouth can have negative effects on your health and your wallet down the line. Even if you think you already know the cause, a professional opinion speeds relief and helps prevent tooth decay and other dental problems.

To make an appointment for a dry mouth evaluation, call PDFP today at 215-898-PDFP (7337).