Dry Mouth Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your dry mouth symptoms with Buoy, including 7 causes and common questions concerning your dry mouth.

This symptom can also be referred to as: mouth dryness, thirsty

  1. 7 Possible Dry Mouth Causes
  2. Real-Life Stories
  3. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  4. Statistics
  5. Related Articles

7 Possible Dry Mouth Causes

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced dry mouth. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a relatively common condition, especially in obese adults. It refers to obstruction (blockage) of the airway during sleep. This obstruction is usually caused by the back of the tongue and the muscles of the palate relaxing and falling ...

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Dehydration means the body does not have enough water to carry out its normal processes.

Most susceptible to serious dehydration are young children with fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. In adults, some medications increase urination and can lead to dehydration. Anyone exercising vigorously, especially in hot weather, can quickly become dehydrated.

Symptoms include extreme thirst; dry mouth; infrequent, dark-colored urine; dizziness; and confusion. Young children may have sunken eyes, cheeks, and soft spot on top of the skull.

Severe dehydration is a serious medical emergency that can lead to heat stroke, kidney damage, seizures, coma, and death. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through blood tests and urine tests.

Mild dehydration can be treated simply by drinking extra water, or water with electrolytes such as sports drinks. More serious cases may be hospitalized for intravenous fluids.

It's important for anyone who is outside in hot weather, or who is ill, to drink extra fluids even before feeling thirsty as thirst is not always a reliable guide.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, dizziness, vomiting or diarrhea, racing heart beat, being severely ill

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Diabetes insipidus

Diabetes insipidus (DI) is caused by a lack of, or decreased sensitivity to the hormone vasopressin. Vasopressin is needed for the kidneys to concentrate urine, making sure you do lose to much fluids. If this function is impaired, it will result in urinating frequently and large amounts, extreme thirst and dehydration.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, irritability, constipation, excesive thirst, dry mouth

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Dry Mouth Symptom Checker

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Chronic inflammation of the salivary gland (parotitis)

The parotid glands are large salivary glands that sit inside each cheek, over the jaw in front of each ear. Chronic recurrent parotitis is a condition that causes repeated cycles of swelling in these glands, causing swelling and occasionally dry mouth or a strange taste.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: jaw pain, moderate fever, swollen jaw, dry mouth, swelling behind the ears

Symptoms that always occur with chronic inflammation of the salivary gland (parotitis): swollen jaw

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Burning mouth syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a chronic pain syndrome defined as having a burning pain or sensation in your mouth without a cause that can be found. It happens way more often in women (7 times more likely), typically during times of hormonal changes (just before or during menopause). While no one has identified the cause, it could have to do with the makeup of saliva, damage from dentures, tics or teeth grinding, infections, and even autoimmune diseases.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: dry mouth, changed sense of taste, tongue pain, burning sensation in the mouth, moderate mouth pain

Symptoms that always occur with burning mouth syndrome: burning sensation in the mouth, tongue pain

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (hhs)

Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state is a very serious sudden complication of type 2 diabetes in which blood sugar is dangerously high.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: nausea or vomiting, being severely ill, severe fatigue, fruity odor on breath, frequent urination

Symptoms that always occur with hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome (hhs): being severely ill

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Side-effect(s) of radiation therapy to the head and neck

Radiation therapy is a common treatment for cancer and more than half of cancer patients will undergo a form of this treatment. The radiation attacks cell DNA in order to prevent the cells from growing more and kills them.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: sore throat, hoarse voice, dry mouth, mouth pain, changed sense of taste

Symptoms that always occur with side-effect(s) of radiation therapy to the head and neck: current radiation therapy to the head or neck

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Real-life Stories

Once your story is reviewed and approved by our editors, it will live on Buoy as a helpful resource for anyone who may be dealing with something similar. If you want to learn more, try Buoy Assistant.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Dry Mouth

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Do you have trouble sleeping?
  • Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Do you have dry eyes?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Dry Mouth Symptom Checker

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Dry Mouth Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced dry mouth have also experienced:

  • 6% Fatigue
  • 3% Headache
  • 3% Nausea

People who have experienced dry mouth were most often matched with:

  • 46% Dehydration
  • 30% Diabetes Insipidus
  • 23% Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant (a.k.a. the quiz).

Dry Mouth Symptom Checker

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