If you suddenly experience symptoms of dry mouth, it may be because you’ve started taking a certain type of medication. Medications are a major cause of dry mouth. In fact, medications cause approximately 90 percent of all cases of dry mouth, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.
You may not be able to discontinue your medication, but you should keep your dentist informed when something in your overall health changes and you start taking medication.
For example, antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories and anti-hypertensive medications are just some of the many types of drugs that can contribute to a dry mouth. In addition, chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or lupus and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, can also cause it.
Even stress and anxiety can contribute to dry mouth, as can the medications you might take for them. It is important to communicate with your dentist about issues concerning your overall health because anything that increases your risk for dry mouth also increases your risk for gum disease. Your dentist or dental hygienist may advise you to pay special attention to your daily oral care routine, and to schedule an additional dental cleaning during a time of increased risk, such as during pregnancy or before starting chemotherapy.
If your dry mouth is persistent and severe, talk to your doctor about whether you can reduce the dose of the medication that is causing the problem, or possibly switch to a different medication. Everyone responds differently to medications, so switching to another drug that serves the same purpose may yield the same benefits with less dry mouth.