We all know drinking copious amounts of water is good for one’s health. And, boy howdy, when you’re feeling parched, there’s nothing better than a tall drink of ice-cold water to dampen that dry mouth of yours. But what do you do when you find yourself drinking far more than the recommended amount, and are still feeling as though your mouth is as dry as a desert? There are numerous reasons you could be suffering from dry mouth, ranging from the benign to the serious – let’s take a look at the top five.
- Physiologic: Sometimes having a dry mouth is just a normal part of life. Temporary anxiety, open-mouthed breathing, mild dehydration, menopause, pregnancy, and decreases in salivary production due to sleep are all considered physiologic (or, “normal”) causes of dry mouth.
- Prescription medication: Sixty-three percent of the top 200 most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S. are known to cause dry mouth. That’s a lot of interference. What’s worse, the higher the number of medications a person takes, the higher the chance of dry mouth. That’s why as we age, we tend to experience more instances of dry mouth. It’s not necessarily age-related, but our consumption of medication may cause this side effect.
- Habitual use of alcohol, cigarettes, and/or drugs: Use of any of these products will dry out the oral cavity. No real surprise here.
- Chronic Disease: Sjögren’s disease, a chronic autoimmune disease in which white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands; along with the inflammatory disease, Sarcoidosis; Hepatitis C; and Diabetes, can all cause dry mouth.
- Psychogenic or Idiopathic: When symptoms are present without an identifiable cause (idiopathic), or because of psychological causes (psychogenic), they can be difficult to diagnose. If you find yourself with a persistent case of dry mouth that you’re unable attribute a cause to, see your doctor for further diagnosis.
Dry mouth can be uncomfortable to live with on a daily basis, and is an indication there is something causing the symptom that requires further examination. As always, with any persistent medical condition, it’s important to never rely on self-diagnosis, and to see your doctor for proper evaluation.