Wedgewood Dental

What Are the Causes of Dry Mouth?

What Are the Causes of Dry Mouth?

When your mouth is dry, it can impact some of the structures within the mouth. For one thing, saliva washes away food particles and bacteria and keeps them from clinging to the teeth. When your mouth is dry, food particles and bacteria can accumulate, causing plaque. Plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, among other dental issues.

There are many potential causes of dry mouth, including:


Smoking is a leading cause of dry mouth, as it negatively impacts your saliva production. Saliva production is your body's natural way of washing itself, so a lack of saliva production can cause a dry mouth.

Dry mouth also occurs because smoking decreases the flow of saliva. Saliva helps wash away bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles. When the flow of saliva decreases, bacterial overgrowth can occur, which can also lead to bad breath.


Dehydration is one of the most common causes of dry mouth. When your body is not receiving enough fluids, saliva production slows down. Dehydration can also cause bad breath (halitosis), trouble swallowing, and cracked lips and tongue, among other uncomfortable symptoms.

Acid Reflux Disease

Acid reflux disease can cause dry mouth. Acid reflux disease is a medical condition that causes stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. Acid reflux disease is called "heartburn."

Acid reflux disease can be triggered by everything from a high-fat diet to pregnancy. It can also be caused by obesity and is most common in people who are over 50 years of age.


Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot process it correctly. As a result, the body is unable to regulate sugar levels. Dentists often see patients with diabetes because diabetes affects the body's ability to heal. As a result, patients with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease, infections, or dry mouth.

Dry mouth is a common symptom of diabetes. As the body tries to regulate blood sugar levels, it decreases the production of saliva. The body needs saliva to break down food, so the lack of saliva can cause a number of problems, including tooth decay and bad breath.

Certain Medications

Certain medications, like antihistamines and antidepressants, can cause dry mouth. If you experience this symptom, be sure to talk to your doctor about switching medications if possible.


Menopause causes dry mouth due to the decrease in saliva production. The decline in saliva production is due to the decrease in estrogen. Estrogen plays an important role in saliva production. Saliva protects oral health by flushing away food debris and helping to prevent tooth decay.

Radiation Treatment

Radiation treatment can affect salivary glands, causing xerostomia. It can also damage the salivary glands, causing them not to produce saliva.

Saliva is important because it helps clean your teeth, neutralizes acids, helps digest your food, and helps prevent infections. Without saliva, you are more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections.


Chemotherapy treatments can cause dry mouth. This is in part because it kills cells that are keeping the mouth moist. When these cells die, the body makes fewer secretions.

Chemotherapy can also affect the immune system. This can cause sores in the mouth. This can make a person feel self-conscious about smiling and talking. Dry mouth can lead to other oral health problems, such as cavities and gum disease.

Autoimmune Disorders

Autoimmune disorders are diseases in which the body's immune system attacks its own cells. This can result in damage to various tissues and organs. It is estimated that 75 percent of all autoimmune disease sufferers have a dry mouth as a symptom.

The mouth has an abundance of blood vessels. This means that any damage that is done to blood vessels in the mouth can spread very quickly throughout the body. Dry mouth is a common side effect of autoimmune diseases.

If you are looking for a dentist in Rolla, MO, contact us today to find out how we can help take care of your oral health.


713 Salem Avenue Suite A, Rolla MO 65401

Office Hours

MON 7:30 am - 3:30 pm

TUE Closed

WED - THU 7:30 am - 3:30 pm

FRI - SUN Closed

Get in Touch


Phone: (573) 368-7325


1116 S. Main Street, Salem MO 65560

Office Hours

MON Closed

TUE 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

WED - THU Closed

FRI 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

SAT - SUN Closed

Get in Touch


Phone: (573) 729-7701