Dry mouth

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Classification according to ICD-10
K11.7 Disorders of salivary secretion
- xerostomia
R68.2 Dry mouth, unspecified
ICD-10 online (WHO version 2019)

Dry mouth or xerostomia ( portmanteau of Greek ξηρός , arid ' ,' dry 'and στόμα , mouth' , well- English xerostomia ) refers to the dryness of the oral cavity , which can have various causes.


Dry mouth results from too low salivation ( hyposalivation ), which is a common side effect of drugs such as anticholinergics , diuretics or psychotropic drugs . Causes can also be diseases such as sialadenitis , Sjögren's syndrome , sicca syndrome or Heerfordt's syndrome . In addition, the removal of salivary glands , radiation therapy , general feverish illnesses, the intake of tetrahydrocannabinol or chronic stress with increased sympathetic tone can lead to dry mouth.

Another cause of dry mouth can be increased mouth breathing . The highly viscous saliva that forms when the mouth is dry can cause inflammation in the ducts of the salivary glands; The sublingual gland ( glandula sublingualis ) is particularly affected .


The direct (unpleasant) consequences are dryness of the oral mucous membranes and difficulty swallowing. This creates problems when speaking and eating dry food. Falling asleep can also be difficult.

Chronically affected people usually suffer in terms of their dental health . A frequent consequence is tooth decay in the absence of the protective substances accompanying normal salivation. The normal saliva contains a number of antimicrobially active components, including a. Immunoglobulin A (antibody), lysozyme ( enzyme ), lactoferrin and histatin (protein).


No systemic therapy is known. Symptomatic therapy is carried out with saliva replacement or saliva supplement products (wetting gel , aerosol , mouthwash , chewing agent), mouth wiping with moist cotton swabs (also soaked or frozen with cola or juice), drinking and rinsing with water, tea (but not drying sage tea), coffee , Juices (especially acidic ones that stimulate salivation), application of vitamin paste, ice cubes, nebulisers, essential oils (fragrance lamp with citrus aroma).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Oral and dental care for cancer , Cancer Information Service of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg. July 15, 2010. Last accessed September 4, 2014.
  2. Patient information from the German Medical Association ( Memento of the original from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 95 kB). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.bzaek.de