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What is dry mouth (xerostomia)?

A dry mouth can contribute to the onset of tooth decay as there is significantly less saliva in the mouth to neutralise acid from bacteria and to remove food particles from the surface of the teeth, accelerating the development of plaque. Enzymes in your saliva also aid digestion and so without them, eating becomes less comfortable. A dry mouth can be a symptom of certain illnesses in many cases – as well as occur as a common oral health condition, in others.

Symptoms of dry mouth

A dry, sticky mouth

Viscous saliva


The onset of bad breath

Difficulties with chewing, swallowing, speaking

A change to your sense of taste

A dry, sore throat

A wispy voice, hoarseness

The development of a dried, cracked, grooved tongue

Cracked, bleeding, sore lips

The onset of small mouth sores at the corners of your mouth

Mouth (Oral) thrush – a yeast infection exacerbated by dry mouth

Dentures becoming loose, not fitting correctly or comfortably anymore

Speak to a dental professional today

Our dentists have all the experience, skill and technology required to diagnose and treat dry mouth. Arrange an appointment with our dental team at our central London dental clinic, situated on the prestigious Wimpole Street.

What causes dry mouth?

  • Certain illnesses such as autoimmune disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome, AIDS, and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Conditions such as cystic fibrosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnoea, and COVID-19 can also lead to dry mouth
  • Some medications alone or multiple medications taken together can cause dry mouth as an unwanted side effect like those taken for depression, diarrhea, asthma
  • Chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments for cancer can create dry mouth, too
  • Tobacco, alcohol, and recreational drug use habits

How to treat dry mouth

Keep hydrated and ensure the mouth is moistened, at all times.

  1. Make an appointment with your doctor for specific advice regarding illness and/or
  2. medication-related dry mouth
  3. Make an appointment with your dentist to check if your dry mouth is causing tooth decay
  4. and/or gum disease and so treat it
  5. Make an appointment with your dental hygienist to optimise your oral hygiene routine at
  6. home to include brushing and flossing twice daily
  7. See your pharmacist for advice on gels, sprays, tablets, lozenges
  8. Sip water, suck ice cubes, suck ice lollies
  9. Reduce or eliminate your consumption of tobacco, alcohol, recreational drug use
  10. Reduce your consumption of caffeine, fizzy drinks – select water, juice
  11. Try sugarless gum to promote saliva production, apply lip balm to cracked lips

A dry mouth becomes increasingly intolerable on a daily basis and can negatively impact upon your
personal confidence and general sense of wellbeing. Dry mouth urgently requires effective
Contact the friendly, professional, and expert dental team at Wimpole Street Dental Clinic to remedy
dry mouth fast to restore your smile, today.

Prof Christian Mehl

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

A certified implantologist and prosthodontics specialist with 20+ years in dentistry, I conduct clinical research, teach at University of Kiel, and contribute to implant system development. Recipient of the Camlog Research Award, I frequently publish and deliver global lectures.

Clinically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

When did we last update this page?

Our expert team continually update and research the latest news and techniques in dentistry, as such we regularly update our pages and have these clinically reviewed.

Current Version

July 21st 2023

  • Added “when did we last update this page” and author biography to the page.

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

Medically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

Previous Versions

October 2nd 2022

  • Page redesigned and updated to reflect change in address.

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

Medically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

30th August 2021

  • Original content created.

Written by: Prof Dr Christian Mehl

Medically reviewed by: Dr Raul Costa

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