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Do you have trouble swallowing, eating or speaking because your mouth feels unusually dry? Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of conditions, including your medication.

What is dry mouth? Dry mouth is a condition where the saliva production by the glands in the mouth is decreased, making the mouth feel unusually dry. Saliva typically helps protect the oral tissues against ulcers or sores that can develop from eating and speaking, neutralizes acids, protects against tooth decay, and helps digest your food while also helping you taste your food. Saliva production is vital to good oral health.

What causes dry mouth? Common causes of dry mouth can include dehydration, whether from caffeine, alcohol or tobacco use (chewing or smoking), breathing through your mouth and snoring while you sleep. Also, dehydration can arise from fever, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive sweating, blood loss, and burns.

Medications:  prescription and nonprescription drugs are a common cause of dry mouth. If you are taking medications for obesity, acne, epilepsy, hypertension, urinary incontinence, asthma, or Parkinson’s disease, you may develop dry mouth. The following medications also limit saliva production:

–Antihistamines and decongestants for colds
–Medication for anxiety, depression and psychotic disorders
–Pain medications
–Sedatives
–Medications for diarrhea
–Nausea medication
–Allergy medications
–Muscle Relaxants

Health conditions: health conditions including nerve damage to the head and neck area from an injury or surgery can cause dry mouth, as can anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and even mumps. Autoimmune disease like Sjogren’s syndrome or HIV/AIDS lower saliva production, and stroke and Alzheimer’s disease may make you feel like you have dry mouth when actually the salivary glands are working.

Cancer therapy: cancer therapy can damage the salivary glands, and chemotherapy drugs can also change saliva production. Saliva flow usually returns after treatment is completed, but radiation treatments may lower saliva production temporarily or permanently, depending on the dose of the radiation and the area that was treated.

If you have any questions or concerns about dry mouth, please give our Midtown Dental team a call at 919-847-8074 today.