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Understanding the Causes of Dry Mouth

May 11, 2016

dentist leesburgDry mouth is an uncomfortable condition that can lead to chronic bad breath and an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease. In fact, adequate saliva production is vital for good oral health — the substance washes away the acids and bacteria that cause dental problems, and it also balances the pH level in the mouth and aids in digestion. There are several factors influencing the amount of saliva your mouth produces. Your dentist in Leesburg lists some of the most common causes of dry mouth below.


A number of medications list dry mouth as a side effect, and even over-the-counter medications can reduce saliva flow. Drugs that treat depression, nerve pain, anxiety as well as pain and certain heart medications are frequently associated with dry mouth.

Hormonal Changes

Dry mouth frequently accompanies hormonal changes, especially those that occur during menopause. That’s because estrogen controls the production of saliva, and with dropping estrogen levels, saliva production is reduced, too.

Tobacco Use

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that tobacco use leads to dry mouth. Tobacco throws off the glands that produce saliva, contributing to bad breath and a host of other oral issues. If you use tobacco of any kind and are ready to quit but have been unsuccessful in the past or are unsure how, talk to your dentist or medical professional for advice.

Chemotherapy and Radiation

Temporary changes in the amount and nature of saliva produced can be influenced by chemotherapy treatment. Radiation may also affect the salivary glands in the neck — a change which can be temporary or permanent, depending on the level of damage.

Allergies or a Cold

When sensitive allergies cause congestion and problems with the smooth flow of air through the nose, the sufferer will often breathe through the mouth. This action quickly leads to dry mouth, especially when it occurs during sleep. Eating lozenges, chewing sugar-free gum and remembering to sip water during your cold can help reduce dry mouth related to mouth breathing.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Dry mouth is a common nighttime condition, but it’s especially significant for people who snore. The condition is also one of the most frequent side effects of sleep apnea. Seeking treatment for snoring or sleep apnea can help to reduce dry mouth and the issues associated with disordered sleep.

Seek Professional Help for Dry Mouth

If you’re dealing with the uncomfortable effects of dry mouth, don’t wait to seek professional help. With regular checkups and cleanings, your family dentist in Leesburg can help you prevent tooth decay and gum disease in the face of decreased saliva production. Schedule your appointment with Dr. David S. Groy, the general dentist in Leesburg today!

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