Dry mouth or xerostomia refers to any condition in which your mouth is unusually dry. Most often, dry mouth is the result of a decrease in saliva produced by the salivary glands in your mouth, and it's frequently a side effect of medication. Less often, dry mouth may be caused by a condition that directly affects the salivary glands. Dry mouth has numerous causes. Hundreds of medications, including many over-the-counter drugs, produce dry mouth as a side effect. Some of them are antianxiety drugs, anti-depressants, antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and pain medications. Chemotherapy drugs can change the nature of saliva and the amount produced. This may be temporary, with normal salivary flow returning after treatment has been completed. An injury or surgery that causes nerve damage to your head and neck area can result in dry mouth. Dry mouth can be a consequence of certain health conditions, including the autoimmune disease Sjogren's syndrome or HIV/AIDS. Smoking or chewing tobacco can increase dry mouth symptoms. Methamphetamine use can cause severe dry mouth and damage to teeth, a condition also known as "meth mouth."
Treatment depends on the cause of your dry mouth. Changing the medications that cause dry mouth. Over-the-counter mouth rinses, artificial saliva or moisturizers are recommended to lubricate your mouth. Pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac) are prescribed to stimulate saliva production.