Experiencing Xerostomia : The Enduring Exertions of Dry Mouth

Xerostomia is the condition where one does not make enough saliva. This is commonly referred to as dry mouth. Producing ample saliva is important to oral health and the lack can lead to several problems, notably if you require restorative work. 

Saliva not only keeps the mouth moist but also cleanses by flushing food and harmful bacteria from the teeth and gums. The moist oral environment provides the lubrication necessary for speaking and eating. An adequate amount of lubrication is obligatory to chew and swallow.

It’s normal to feel parched, here and there. A dry mouth is not unusual, especially in older adults. But if it is persistent it is best to see a dentist or general practitioner to determine the cause and address any underlying ailments.

Xerostomia Symptoms

Lack of saliva can cause problems including:

  • oral thrush, and other infections.
  • halitosis or persistent bad breath.
  • decay, cavities, gingivitis, and other mouth diseases. 
  • enduring sore throat or hoarseness.
  • struggles eating, speaking, or swallowing.
  • chapped lips.
  • dryness of the sinuses, eyes, or facial skin.
  • amplified thirst.
  • sores, pain, rash, or discomfort of the lips, tongue, and overall mouth.
  • troubles with tastes and smells.
  • complications wearing dentures.

Causes of xerostomia

Xerostomia occurs when some cause triggers the salivary glands to generate a reduced amount of saliva. The most likely reasons for dry mouth are:

Medications: A vast list of drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, can diminish saliva production including:

  • Antianxiety meds and antidepressants 
  • diuretics, a drug that increases the flow of urine and encourages the removal of fluid from the body.
  • Anticholinergics, used to treat urinary disorders. 
  • Antihistamines and decongestants
  • Some pain meds
  • Medicines to lower high blood pressure.
  • Parkinson’s disease prescriptions.
  • Radiation therapy that centers on the neck or head.

Dehydration: If you don’t drink enough, or if you sweat a lot, your body might be short of enough fluids to produce saliva.

Anxiety or nervousness

Mouth breathing: If you have congested sinuses, you may breathe through your mouth, especially during sleep. Drying out the airways. 

Medical conditions: Dry mouth can be the result of other health concerns, such as diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that prompts the body to attack the glands that make moisture.


Xerostomia Treatment

An excellent oral hygiene routine, including regular dental visits and taking adequate care of your mouth, will help prevent dry mouth. If the cause is an associated illness, then the treatment will depend on the origin. To promote saliva production some remedies can alleviate symptoms and ensure your mouth retains moisture.

  • Sip on a lot of water and other sugarless fluids, frequently, throughout the day.
  • To keep the air and space moist, use a humidifier, especially while sleeping.
  • Instead of the mouth, focus on breathing through the nose.
  • Use gravy and sauces when eating dry foods. 
  • Chew and suck on ice cubes or hard, sugarless candy or ice pops. Try gums sweetened with xylitol, a sugar alcohol found in plants, to stimulate saliva flow. 
  • Use oral lubricants designed to remedy a saliva deficiency sometimes. Also called “saliva substitutes” or “artificial saliva”, they are available in spray, gel, or lozenge form. 
  • Pilocarpine is a prescribed tablet taken several times a day to help rouse the salivary glands, which may also cause sweating and headaches.
  • Toothpaste and mouthwashes, specifically created to heal xerostomia.
  • Balm and moisturizers for parched, cracked lips.

Try to avoid:

  • Arid, salty, acidic, spicy, and overly sweet foods.
  • Alcoholic, caffeinated, or carbonated beverages.
  • Mouthwashes with alcohol or peroxide, that further dry the mouth.
  • Smoking or using tobacco products
  • Unnecessary medications that can worsen xerostomia. Ask your physician for an alternative treatment and always check the medicinal information that lists possible side effects.


Dentures are prosthetics used to replace lost teeth, restore the structure and functions of the mouth, and improve the beauty of a smile. Different varieties can replace some or all of the teeth on the top or bottom gum. They usually designed the pieces to custom-fit each individual. alveolar ridges, the bone part that houses the tooth sockets. If you are missing teeth, then getting dentures might be a dental option you are considering. However, if you suffer from xerostomia, you might face a few obstacles, if you do not make enough saliva. 

Types of Dentures

Partial dentures

Partial dentures attach to the nearby natural teeth and are often suggested when only a few teeth are missing. They can be removed for upkeep. 

Full dentures

Also known as complete dentures, they are removable and held in place by suction or via an oral adhesive. 


These dentures sit over the roots of natural teeth or on top of dental implants and are easily dislodged.

Implant-supported dentures

This set is anchored by permanent fixtures installed into the jawbone and attached to a metal or titanium post and covered by a crown, custom-made to resemble the adjacent natural teeth.

Why Is Xerostomia a Problem When Wearing Dentures?

Saliva helps sustain the retention that holds dentures onto the gums. When your mouth is dry, dentures tend to feel slack and loose. Saliva supports the suction that keeps dentures steady on the maxilla (the upper jaw) and mandible (the lower jaw) When bearing Xerostomia side effects, it will be harder to hold your artificial teeth in place, since you won’t have sufficient lubrication to pull partial and full dentures secure to the lower alveolar ridge and the soft upper palate.

Moreover, in time, the fit should be expected to change as the supporting gum tissue under the dentures gradually shrink. At some point, the prosthetic will have to be repaired, remade, or relined. A denture reline is a procedure in which extra material is augmented to the denture to conform to the altered shape of the mouth. With xerostomia, with an ideal size and shape, you may still experience looseness. Denture repair or a firm adhesive may be applied to correct the issue..

You might suffer tenderness from friction under your denture due to the diminished saliva. Since saliva also controls the germs in the mouth, having xerostomia makes one more susceptible to oral infections, like denture stomatitis or Candida, a yeast-like fungus. 

People with dry mouths are more prone to oral yeast. Infections like thrush bring about white lesions on the tongue and inner cheeks, often making it uncomfortable to wear dentures. 

Ask your dentist about strong adhesives that facilitates denture retention while providing supplementary moisture for the mouth. Make sure you take your dentures out every night and soak them in a fresh solution of a special cleanser. They are made of durable material but if dentures get too dry they become vulnerable to warping or breaking.

With xerostomia, if you need dental restoration it might be best to consider the implant-secured dentures. They are permanently fixed in place, while allowing the option to pop them on and off. As an added benefit, they might heal dry mouth and encourage better saliva flow.

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