Improving Your Dental Care

Unusual Causes Of Dry Mouth

A dry mouth is a recipe for disaster as far as your oral or dental health is concerned. You need saliva to keep oral bacteria in check and keep your mouth clean. Below are some of the reasons your mouth might dry out.


Your salivary glands can only produce saliva if something stimulates them to do so. The stimulation comes via nerves and blood vessels connected to the salivary glands. Anything that interferes with the operation of the nerves can restrict saliva production. For example, an accident that affects the nerves can leave your salivary glands without the stimulation they need to produce saliva.


Some drugs also trigger a dry mouth as a side effect of their actions. Examples include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antihistamines
  • Nasal decongestants
  • Diuretics

Don't stop your medication even if they dry out your mouth. Consult your doctor for modification or replacement of the drugs. Your dentist can also advise you on ways to increase saliva production — such as the use of artificial saliva.

Bone Marrow Transplant

A dry mouth is also a common side effect of a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant can trigger a graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a condition where the immune cells from the bone cells see your body as foreign and attack it. GVHD has multiple symptoms, though not every transplant patient experiences all of them. One of these symptoms is a constantly dry mouth.


Radiotherapy, a common form of cancer treatment, can damage your salivary glands. The risk is high for radiotherapy targeted at the head, face, neck, or other parts of the body near the mouth. Radiotherapy targeted at the mouth or areas around the salivary glands is the worst. Luckily, some people experience an improvement in saliva production a short while after stopping radiotherapy.

Psychological Disorders

Lastly, psychological disorders also trigger dry mouth in some people. Psychological disorders characterized by anxiety are particularly bad for salivation. The effect arises because:

  • Anxiety encourages mouth breathing, which dries up the mouth.
  • Anxiety often triggers gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which makes you throw up and can dry your mouth too.
  • Antianxiety medication can dry out your mouth.

Even everyday anxiety can dry up the mouth, though the effect usually subsides when the anxiety ends.

As you can see, a dry mouth syndrome has multiple potential causes, some of which you might not even know. Fortunately, a dentist can diagnose your condition and help you deal with the condition. For more information, consult with a dentist like Michael G Landy DDS.