Dry Mouth


What is dry mouth?

Dry mouth is the feeling that there is not enough saliva in your mouth. Saliva has many important functions - it helps to keep the mouth comfortable, it acts as a lubricant whilst you're eating and speaking, it helps us taste and digest food. Saliva also keeps the teeth, gums,  and the lining of the mouth healthy.

Dry mouth can lead to:

  • Difficulty in speaking, chewing and swallowing
  • An altered sense of taste
  • Tooth decay and tooth erosion
  • Infections in and around the mouth
  • Difficulties wearing dentures
  • Sleep disturbances

Dry mouth can be caused by:

  • Some medications (especially sedatives, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, diuretics and antihistamines)
  • Some medical conditions (such as diabetes and Sjogrens Syndrome)
  • Anxiety
  • Radiotherapy to the head and neck
  • Menopause
  • Dehydration

What is the Oral Health CRC doing?

Researchers in the Oral Health CRC are working on a number of projects to address dry mouth. These include developing and testing new sprays that hydrate the mouth while protecting against dental decay, and working with general practitioners to increase the diagnosis and treatment of dry mouth.

Where can I get more information?

Further information on dry mouth, and information on how to manage dry mouth symptoms, is available in our fact sheets.

Fact Sheet: What is Dry Mouth (pdf)

Fact Sheet: Care of a Dry Mouth (pdf)