The Causes of Xerostomia

Jan 26th, 2012 | By | Category: More dental news, Preventive Dentistry

Xerostomia, a condition characterized by a chronic dry mouth, is not a disease in and of itself, but rather a symptom of another problem such as an underlying disease or lifestyle choice. Whatever the trigger, xerostomia can interfere with your day-to-day life and wear away at your self-esteem. If seeking an appropriate treatment, it is important to first determine the underlying cause of this problem and see if any adjustments can be made in your lifestyle or to your current medications. The following are the most common causes:

  • Systemic diseases.  Any disease that affects the whole body can inhibit saliva production. Some common causes include diabetes, lupus erythematosus, sarcoidosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Excessive mouth breathing. Activities or conditions that cause heavy mouth breathing include sinus problems, snoring, and strenuous athletic activity.
  • Prescription Medications. Antidepressants, amphetamines, antihistamines, and chemotherapy drugs for cancer often list dry mouth as a side effect.
  • Street drugs. Heroin, cannabis, and methamphetamine wreak havoc on the entire body, which includes the salivary glands.
  • Anxiety. Adrenaline function is affected during an anxiety attack, which affects other systems in the body, including saliva production.
  • Trauma. Injury to the salivary glands, injury to the nerves of the head or neck, and radiation to the head or neck can all impact your salivary glands.
  • Dehydration. Being overheated and consuming substances such as alcohol or caffeine can lead to dehydration of the body and also dry out your mouth.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco. These substances do not necessarily cause dry mouth, but they can make it worse.

If you’d like to get to the bottom of your persistent dry mouth, Dr. Moiceanu can help. Call Hilltop Family Dental today at (510) 758-7222. We happily serve patients in Richmond, San Pablo, El Sobrante, Vallejo, Pinole, El Cerrito, Hercules, and Benicia.

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