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Dry Mouth

Also called: Xerostomia


Dry mouth is the feeling that there is not enough saliva in your mouth. Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while - if they are nervous, upset or under stress. But if you have a dry mouth all or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to serious health problems.

Symptoms of dry mouth include

  • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting, or speaking
  • A burning feeling in the mouth
  • A dry feeling in the throat
  • Cracked lips
  • A dry, rough tongue
  • Mouth sores
  • An infection in the mouth

Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. Causes include some medicines, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and nerve damage. Salivary gland diseases, Sjogren's syndrome, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes can also cause dry mouth. Treatment depends on the cause. Things you can do include sipping water, avoiding drinks with caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol, and chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless hard candy.

NIH: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

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