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Dry Mouth: When It's More Than Just Nerves

By HERWriter
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We all have occasions when our mouths go dry. Sometimes being nervous or stressed can trigger an attack of dry mouth. If having a dry mouth becomes a persistent problem, you may have xerostomia.

Xerostomia is the condition of not having enough saliva or spit to keep the mouth wet. This may seem like a minor annoyance, but it can actually affect you ability to chew, eat, swallow, and even talk, and it can increase the risk of tooth decay.

Symptoms of dry mouth

• A dry, sticky feeling in the mouth
• Saliva that seems thick or stringy
• Trouble chewing, swallowing, or speaking
• Changes in the way things taste
• A burning feeling in the mouth
• Cracked lips or split skin at the corners of the mouth
• Mouth sores
• Bad breath
• A dry, rough tongue
• An infection in the mouth
• Increased plaque on the teeth
• A sore throat

Dry mouth is caused by a problem with the glands in the mouth that produce saliva. A variety of things can cause problems with the salivary glands.

Medications –Over 400 medicines are known to cause dry mouth, including some drugs used to treat depression and anxiety, antihistamines, decongestants, and high blood pressure medications.
Age – Growing older doesn’t cause dry mouth, but older people are more likely to take medications or have other conditions that cause dry mouth.
Nerve damage – Surgery or an injury that results in nerve damage to the head or neck may cause dry mouth.
Cancer treatments – Chemotherapy drugs can affect how the body produces saliva. Radiation treatments to the head or neck can damage the salivary glands and reduce the amount of saliva produced.
Tobacco – Smoking or chewing tobacco can make dry mouth symptoms worse.
Snoring – Breathing with your mouth open, including snoring, may make dry mouth worse.
Other conditions –Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, Parkinsons disease, HIV/AIDS, anxiety disorders, and depression are just some of the health conditions that can result in dry mouth.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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