Dry Mouth (Xerostomia): Causes & Risk Factors

Xerostomia or dry mouth is a symptom that occurs due to the absence of saliva flow. Please note that it is not an infection or disease, but it may be a side effect of medications. Also, dry mouth may occur as a symptom of many medical conditions.

Dry mouth may cause other symptoms like parched feeling in the mouth, leading to a dry throat, cracked lips, and bad breath. Please note that saliva plays a crucial role in the digestion process by moistening and breaking down food. Besides, saliva also helps to protect the mouth against tooth decay and gum disease.

Causes and Risk Factors


Dry mouth [1] is not a natural part of aging, but older adults take more medications than young individuals. Besides, many medications taken by adults leads to dry mouth. A contributing factor to this is the changes in the human body’s ability to process certain medications. For example, drugs for high blood pressure, bladder control problems, and depression may cause dry mouth.

Many older adults have long-term health problems that may result in a dry mouth. Sipping water often will make chewing and swallowing easier, especially for people with dry mouth. Please note that older adults should avoid caffeine intake because it can dry out the mouth.