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Dry mouth can happen to anyone. But if it is more than just an occasional nuisance, it can affect your mouth health and your overall health. Learn more about what causes it and how you can prevent it.

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What is dry mouth?

If you experience dry mouth often, it could be because you don’t make enough saliva. Persistent dry mouth can make chewing, eating, swallowing and even speaking difficult and puts you at risk for dental problems (such as tooth decay).
Severe dry mouth can cause mouth and throat problems and can interfere with daily life.
Dry mouth is more common in women than in men but, in general, affects about 10% of people. It is most common in the elderly and people taking certain medications.


The importance of saliva

A normal, healthy mouth produces about 1.5 litres of saliva every day. Saliva is the clear, watery liquid made by several glands in your mouth.

Saliva is a very important part of a healthy mouth. Below is a list of some of the healthy benefits of saliva:

  • Keeps your mouth moist and comfortable
  • Helps protect the mouth against ulcers, sores, and friction
  • Fights off bad germs and protects tooth enamel
  • Helps you chew and swallow
  • Helps you taste your food

Saliva also helps prevents bad breath, cavities and gum disease. Did you know saliva was so important?



The first symptom of dry mouth is obvious – the inside of your mouth feels dry and uncomfortable. Other symptoms include:

  • Saliva that feel thick, stringy or foamy
  • Sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Sore throat
  • Mouth infection such as thrush
  • Increased plaque, tooth decay and gum disease
  • Painful tongue with inflammation or ulcers
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Malnutrition (especially in the elderly)


There are many possible causes of dry mouth. Dry mouth most commonly occurs as a side effect of medications that decrease saliva production, for example

  • Blood pressure medications
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Many medications for overactive bladder
  • Some medications for the treatment of depression

Other causes of dry mouth include:

  • Aging
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Physical block/injury to the salivary glands
  • Other conditions (Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, etc)
  • Dehydration
  • Tobacco and/or alcohol use
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes


Preventing dry mouth begins with knowing what’s causing the condition. It could be as simple as increasing your daily fluid intake if your problem is caused by lack of fluids.

You should talk to your doctor or the Pharmacist at Walmart to see if medications could be the source of your dry mouth. If so, stopping the medication or changing the dose could help. But you should never stop taking a medication or change its dose without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first. Stopping or changing a medication could have serious consequences.
If you’re not sure whether a medication you take could be causing dry mouth... just ask the Pharmacist at Walmart.
There are other things you can do to help improve symptoms and avoid complications of dry mouth.

First, practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly.

You can also try the following tips for dealing with dry mouth

  1. Sip water and suck on ice chips throughout the day
  2. Chew, chew, chew (stimulates the salivary glands)
  3. An apple a day, or celery, or carrots (crunchy fibrous foods help too)
  4. Moisten the air (using a humidifier)
  5. Try oral moisturizers, toothpaste or mouthwashes designed for dry mouth
  6. Limit caffeine
  7. Quit smoking

Important information

The Pharmacist at Walmart can help you discover what may be causing your dry mouth, and help you find ways to improve it... Just ask!

This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.

The pharmacist at Walmart does not endorse or recommend any sponsor or their products or services.
Any representation, performance claim, warranty or guarantee in any materials herein is the sole responsibility of the sponsor that has prepared such materials and is not independently verified by Walmart.

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This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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