Dry Mouth & Anxiety - Causes, Side Effects & What You Can Do
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Table of Contents
- Can Anxiety Cause Dry Mouth?
- Side Effects
- Treatment & Prevention
- Home Remedies
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Resources for Anxiety
Dry mouth describes a condition in which your mouth doesn’t have enough moisture because of an inadequate supply of saliva. Many factors, including some that are psychological, can cause or contribute to the condition.
Any issue or complication that hampers your salivary glands can cause dry mouth. For saliva to flow at a healthy rate, these glands must function well.
You may experience the following signs or discomforts when your salivary glands aren’t working as they should:
- Burning sensation in your mouth
- Sticky saliva
- Bad breath
- Dry mouth, dry throat and dry tongue
- Discomfort when chewing, swallowing, or speaking
- Inability to keep previously fitting dentures in place
- Change of taste
Can Anxiety Cause Dry Mouth?
What Causes a Dry Mouth When Anxious?
Anxiety makes you fearful, and your body’s response to fear can inhibit production of saliva in the salivary glands.
Researchers believe that certain pathways in the brain are involved in the impediment of saliva production when you have anxiety.
Side Effects of Dry Mouth
Saliva plays such an important role in your well-being that its deficiency can cause serious complications. By keeping the tissues and environment inside your mouth moist, you indirectly protect yourself from severe discomforts, dental issues and other health complications.
Conversely, dry mouth can cause pain and health problems that may adversely impact your quality of life. These include:
- Plaque buildup and gum disease
- Oral infections
- Nutritional deficiency when you have difficulty chewing and swallowing
- Poor nutrition from insufficient digestive enzymes in the mouth
- Mouth sores
Treatment and Prevention
There are several dry mouth remedies available to avoid severe health problems and discomforts that can impact your everyday living. Comprehensive treatment entails these key components:
- Resolving the root cause (in this case, you should seek out professional help to treat your psychological problem)
- Restoring salivary flow in the mouth (you can see your dentist or physician for this)
- Treating any dental/oral problems resulting from dry mouth
Treatment options for dry mouth include:
- Mouth rinses, such as those containing xylitol
- Artificial saliva
- Oral moisturizing spray
- Drugs that stimulate saliva production, such as Salagen, to treat severe cases of dry mouth
You should also get a dental exam if you have dry mouth. Your dentist may suggest the following treatments for oral issues:
- Prescription drugs for oral fungal or bacterial infections
- Use of denture adhesives and relining of poorly fitting dentures if caused by dry mouth
- Prescription-grade fluoride to prevent tooth decay
- Anti-tooth decay mouthwash
Also, you shouldn’t consume products that may cause dryness and irritation your mouth. These include:
- Caffeinated beverages
- Alcohol, including mouthwashes and rinses that contain it
- All tobacco products
- If anti-anxiety medication causes dryness in your mouth, see your doctor about alternative remedies or better ways to cope
- Any drug that can worsen your condition, including over-the-counter antihistamines
- Spices or too much salt
- Sugary or acidic foods and dry mouth can accelerate tooth decay
Home Remedies for Dry Mouth
There are lifestyle changes and home remedies you can incorporate in your everyday living to relieve dry mouth discomforts. Some effective options include:
- Keep your mouth wet by sipping a little water multiple times throughout the day (alternatively, use sugar-free drinks)
- Drink fluids while eating to ease chewing or swallowing discomfort
- Lubricate your lips every few hours
- Chew sugar-free gum
- Use over-the-counter artificial saliva
- Try to breath with your nose instead of mouth, as much as possible
- Use a humidifier to moisten their air at night
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is dry mouth a symptom of anxiety?
Why does anxiety give me dry mouth?
Does anxiety cause dry mouth and thirst?
Does anxiety cause dry throat?
Resources for Anxiety
Any mental or emotional instability can negatively impact your family or professional life and steal your joy. If you have anxiety, there’s a ton of resources you can utilize to learn about effective coping strategies or getting professional help.
Some practical options include videos on YouTube, podcasts and phone apps.
YouTube Channels for Anxiety
Are you looking to hear relatable stories directly from people struggling with anxiety like you? YouTube channels are one place to find videos that address mental health issues and strategies to ease your symptoms. Examples include:
Podcasts for Anxiety
Podcasts for anxiety take various forms. Some offer coping tips from certified experts, while others share relatable struggles with poor mental health. Check out these ones:
- The Anxiety Guy: In his downloadable podcasts, a former anxiety victim shares his recovery strategies and offers action-oriented stress management coaching.
- The Anxious in Austin: Two experts in cognitive behavioral therapy share insights into common anxiety disorders. Their podcasts also cover treatment options for the mental disorder.
Software can provide quick access to coping assistance and tips between your CBT sessions. Here are some anxiety applications worth exploring:
- Calm: This website focuses on stress and anxiety reduction. It addresses sleep quality and self-improvement techniques.
- iBreathe: Download this app if you need help with anxiety management through breathing exercises. People experiencing insomnia or sleep deprivation can also benefit from this digital guide.
Dry Mouth. (February 2018). Mayo Clinic.
Relationship Among Perceived Stress, Xerostomia, and Salivary Flow Rate in Patients Visiting a Saliva Clinic. (March 2018). Clinical Oral Investigations.
Xerostomia (Dry Mouth). (February 2021). American Dental Association.
Dry Mouth (Diagnosis & Treatment). (February 2018). Mayo Clinic.