5 Things You Don't Know About Dry Mouth

MAY 18, 2016
Katie Eder, Director of Content
Did you know that millions of patients experience dry mouth on an episodic or chronic basis? Or that dry mouth isn’t a disease itself, but a symptom of an underlying issue?
 
Here are 5 other things you probably don’t know about dry mouth, according to the Bad Breath Bible by Harold Katz, MD, founder of the California Breath Clinics and developer of the line of oral care products.
 
1. The majority of commonly prescribed medications list dry mouth as a possible side effect.
Prescription medications that may cause dry mouth include antidepressants, antihistamines, antihypertensives, and anticonvulsants (Table 1). However, many OTC medications can also frequently cause dry mouth, including OTC antihistamines, pain relievers, and antidiarrhetics.
 
TABLE 1: MEDICATION CLASSES THAT CAUSE DRY MOUTH
Antirexiant Antidiarrhetic Antipsychotic
Antiacne Antihistamine Bronchodilator
Antianxiety Antihypertensive Decongestant
Anticholinergic/
Antispasmodic
Anti-inflammatory Analgesic Diuretic
Anticonvulsant Antinauseant/Antiemetic Muscle Relaxant
Antidepressant Antiparkinsonian Narcotic Analgesic
Sedative    
Source:
 
2. Alcohol causes the worst form of dry mouth.
That’s because alcohol is a drying agent that substantially reduces the flow of saliva and oxygen content in the mouth, which both prevent dry mouth.
 
Notably, alcohol is the most common drying agent found in food and beverages. It’s also found in many popular mouthwashes, which may contain up to 27% alcohol and will actually exacerbate dry mouth.
 
Other things to avoid in order to prevent dry mouth include toothpaste that contains sodium lauryl sulfate, which is proven to cause mouth dryness, and tobacco use, as long-term smoking reduces salivary flow and increases oral and dental disorders associated with dry mouth.


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