What is it?

A dry mouth, or xerostomia, is when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. Causes for dry mouth may include medication’s side effects, ageing, radiation therapy, nerve damage, diabetes, stroke, yeast infection, Alzheimer's disease, Sjogren's syndrome, HIV/Aids, and tobacco and alcohol use as. Diagnosis is based upon findings from medical history and physical examination. Further evaluation may include blood tests, imaging scans of the salivary glands or a biopsy if Sjogren syndrome is suspected. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and may include mouth rinses, artificial saliva, moisturisers, and mouthwashes. There are also medications that can stimulate saliva production.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Chronic dry mouth

Signs & symptoms

Not enough saliva may cause signs and symptoms such as:
- Dryness or a feeling of stickiness in the mouth
- Saliva that seems thick and stringy
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing, speaking, and swallowing
- Dry or sore throat and hoarseness
- Dry or grooved tongue
- A changed sense of taste
- Problems wearing dentures


Diagnosis of Xerothemia may include:
- Blood tests
- Imaging scans of salivary glands
- Tests that measure how much saliva the gland produces (Sialomtry)
In several cases, especially if Sjogren's syndrome is suspected- a small sample of cells (biopsy) may be taken from salivary glands in the lip.


The treatment depends on the cause of the dry mouth and may include:
- Change medications that cause dry mouth
- Recommend products to moisturize your mouth (over-the-counter mouth rinses, artificial saliva or moisturizers to lubricate the mouth. Mouthwashes designed for dry mouth, especially with xylitol, can be effective.

For severe dry mouth, the treatment may include:
- Prescribe medication that stimulates saliva: pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac) to stimulate saliva production.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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