What is Dry Mouth?
What causes Dry Mouth?
Diagnosis of Dry Mouth
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What are the Symptoms and Clinical Signs associated with Drymouth

Dry mouth is rarely a solitary symptom. When present for long periods of time, it induces the formation of many other oral symptoms and clinical signs. These are shown below:

Oral Changes Associated with a Decrease in the Flow of Saliva
Oral Function / Site Oral Clinical Signs
Saliva Decreased in amount; may be foamy, thick, ropy
Tongue Dry, sore, fissured, lobulated, tingling, yeast infection
Cheeks Dry, dull, pale
Mastication Difficult to eat dry foods; persistent denture troubles
Taste Difficulty with taste
Swallowing Difficulty with swallowing; acid reflux disease
Mucosa Sensitivity to acidic, salty & spicy ("hot") foods
Teeth Extensive, sometimes rampant, dental decay. Affects areas not usually prone to decay e.g. the lower incisor teeth. Root caries often present.



Rampant Dental Caries


Tongue: Red, Lobulation

Lips: Cheilitis


Palate: Fungal Infection


Sumandibular Gland Swelling

Often, xerostomia is associated with other widespread, systemic, sensations of dryness.

Generalized body symptoms often associated with oral dryness
Nose: Dryness, frequent crust formation, nasal bleeding, decreased sense of smell.
Eyes: Dryness, burning, tingling, itchy, gritty sensations; feeling that the lids stick together; sensitivity to light, blurred vision.
Skin: Dryness; "butterfly rash" about the face; sensitivity to cold, changes in color, especially the fingers (Raynaud's Phenomenon).
G.I. Tract (the Gut): Esophagitis constipation, acid reflux, problems with swallowing.
Pulmonary System: Dry cough, difficulty with breathing
The Joints: Rheumatoid arthritis, swelling, pain, stiffness, redness.
The Vagina: Dryness, itching, burning sensations, recurrent vaginal yeast infections, difficulty with intercourse.
Generalized Symptoms: Fatigue, weakness, loss of weight, depression.

The consequences of oral dryness and its associated symptoms are extensive. Although largely not life-threatening, they may affect taste, how and what we eat, how we see, how we smell, how we breathe, how we move about, how me make love, how we appear to others and how we feel about ourselves. Though a chronic condition, persistent dryness takes the pleasure out of life. And thatís serious!

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