Dry Mouth & Drooling Treatment

Saliva is essential to oral health as it helps swallowing, talking and taste, and protects the mouth and teeth.

Patients who have report dryness of mouth (Xerostomia) or experience a decreased salivary flow (Hyposalivation) suffer from lack of oral lubrication, affecting many functions, and may develop infections.

What causes dryness of mouth?

Some of the causes of dryness of mouth include

  • Advancing age
  • Many medications cause dryness of mouth such as medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep etc.
  • Dry mouth is common in mouth-breathers
  • During periods of anxiety.
  • Irradiation involving head and neck especially the salivary glands
  • stem cell transplant (bone marrow transplant)
  • Dehydration
  • Disorders affecting salivary glands such as rheumatoid conditions or infections
  • Obstruction of ducts discharging saliva in the mouth
  • Psychogenic causes
Dry Mouth

What are the issues related to dryness of mouth?

  • Difficulty in swallowing- especially in eating dry foods, such as chips or biscuits
  • Difficulty in wearing dentures
  • Difficulty in speaking
  • Mouth soreness/burning sensation
  • Intolerance of acidic and spicy food
  • Unpleasant taste or change in taste
  • A dry mucosa – the lips adhere one to another, tongue sticks to the palate
  • Lipstick or food debris sticking to the teeth
  • Viscous frothy saliva
  • Redness and fissuring of tongue
  • Bad breath
  • Fungal infections
  • Increased risk of dental caries
  • Infections of salivary glands

How is dryness of mouth diagnosed and treated?

Dryness of mouth is a clinical diagnosis but investigations are needed to determine the cause of decrease in salivary flow. These could include

  • Blood tests
  • Urine analysis
  • Salivary flow rate tests
  • Eye tests
  • Salivary gland biopsy
  • Chest X-ray
  • Cone beam CT
  • Sialography
  • Scintigraphy
  • Sialoendoscopy
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI

Treatment of dryness of mouth not only depends on treating the underlying cause but also managing the complications associated with dry mouth.


What is Drooling/Excessive salivation?

Drooling occurs when saliva goes beyond the margins of the lips. Drooling caused by increase in salivary flow is termed Sialorrhoea or Ptyalism.

Drooling can result of the result of either an increase in saliva production or a decrease in salivary clearance

Some of the causes of drooling include

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Infant teething
  • Local irritations
  • An ill-fitting appliance
  • Certain medications
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • Neurologic changes such as in a cerebral vascular accident (CVA), neuromuscular diseases
  • Idiopathic paroxysmal hypersalivation

Excessive salivation can result in

  • drooling and choking which can produce social embarrassment
  • aspiration pneumonia
  • bad breath
  • macerated sores around the mouth and chin that can get secondary bacterial or fungal infection
  • constant soiling of clothes and bed linens

How is Drooling managed?

Management of drooling includes thorough clinical examination to determine the underlying cause of hypersalivation if present

Some of the investigations could include

  • Sialometry
  • Nasopharyngoscopy
  • Radiography
  • MRI
  • Barium swallow
  • Sialography
  • Psychological assessment

Management of excessive salivation could include oral motor training, behavior therapies and medications that reduce the production of saliva.

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Contact Us


Surrey Office

Phone: (604) 498-0100

Phone: (604) 498-0100

Fax: (604) 498-0244

Email: info@blissoralwellness.ca

Address: 9655 King George Blvd. Unit # 170 Surrey, B.C. V3T 0C7

The clinic is located just across Surrey Memorial Hospital on King George Blvd. and 96th Avenue.

Vancouver Office

Phone: (604) 336-7411

Phone: (604) 336-7411

Fax: (604) 336-7412

Email: reception@blissoralwellness.ca

Address: 1217 Kingsway Vancouver BC V5V 3E2

Nanaimo Office

Phone: 250-586-9995

Phone: 250-586-9995

Fax: 604-498-0244

Email: oralmedicinenanaimo@blissoralwellness.ca



Victoria Office

Phone: 250-590-5932

Phone: 250-590-5932

Fax: 604-336-7412

Email: oralmedicinevictoria@blissoralwellness.ca