Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

  • Medical Author:
    Steven B. Horne, DDS

    Dr. Steve Horne began his career at Brigham Young University obtaining his BA in English. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Surgery in 2007 from the University of Southern California where his pursuit for academic excellence landed him on the Dean's List. He was recognized for his superior clinical skills and invited to help teach other dental students in courses on restorative dentistry, prosthodontics, and tooth anatomy. During dental school, he provided dental care for underserved populations of Los Angeles and Orange County, Mexico, and Costa Rica with AYUDA. Following dental school, Dr. Horne entered active duty with the U.S. Army and practiced dentistry at Fort Knox, Kentucky, for four years. During this time, he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, and received multiple Army Achievement Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, and served as Company Commander. Dr. Horne currently practices full time at Torrey Pines Dental Arts in La Jolla, California, as a general dentist. Dr. Horne is a member of the American Dental Association, the California Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Horne is married to his wife, Christy, and they have a chocolate Labrador named Roscoe.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Fast-Acting Dry Mouth Remedies

Quick GuideOral Health: Dry Mouth Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Oral Health: Dry Mouth Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Is it possible to prevent dry mouth?

There is really no way to prevent dry mouth, only the side effects of dry mouth. It is vital to detect, diagnose, and treat xerostomia as early as possible to avoid the devastating consequences of chronic dry mouth on dental and overall health.

What is the prognosis of dry mouth?

The prognosis (outlook) depends on the underlying cause of the dry mouth. Management should be focused on eliminating the cause when possible, such as with dehydration, anemia, and stress. If the cause can't be eliminated, then it is necessary to keep the affected person as comfortable and free from caries and Candida yeast infection as possible. By using simple techniques to help stimulate saliva, substitute for saliva, and protect the teeth and surrounding tissues, one can expect a very good prognosis for avoiding the side effects of dry mouth.


Conviser, Jenny H., et al. "JADA Continuing Education: Oral care behavior after purging in a sample of women with bulimia nervosa." JADA 145.4 Apr. 2014: 352-354.

Little, James W., et al. Dental Management of the Medically Compromised Patient, 6th ed. St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby, 2002.

Neville, Brad W., et al. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: W.B. Saunders Company, 2002.

Turner, M. D. and J. A. Ship. "Dry mouth and its effects on the oral health of elderly people." Journal of the American Dental Association 138 Suppl (2007): 15S-20S.

Wiener, R. Constance, et al. "Hyposalivation and Xerostomia in Dentate Older Adults." JADA 141.3 Mar. 2010: 279-284.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/11/2016

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