Can Stress Cause Dry Mouth?

Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety are severe irritants. Although they may not be debilitating or affect your overall health, they can be annoying and make it difficult to do basic tasks. One of these symptoms is dry mouth, which occurs when your mouth dries out due to a lack of fluids. 

Discover why stress can result in dry mouth. 

Why Does Stress Cause Dry Mouth?

When you feel anxious or stressed, your mouth’s saliva flow may decrease, which is typical for individuals who take medication. Dry mouth can be a side effect of antidepressants, anti-psychotics, antihistamines, muscle relaxants, and other medications. However, anxiety and its treatments aren’t the only causes of dry mouth, as mouth breathing (which typically occurs during a panic attack) can also result in this condition. 

Find out other causes of dry mouth as it pertains to stress and anxiety.

Understanding Causes of Anxiety-Related Dry Mouth

Here’s more in-depth information on how stress and anxiety can result in dry mouth. 

Acid Backup: If you have acid reflux problems, you may be susceptible to developing dry mouth. Your body is more prone to acid reflux during periods of intense stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact your salivary glands and lead to less saliva production. Furthermore, it can also result in a sticky feeling in your mouth and bad taste, which are common dry mouth symptoms. 

Fluid Changes: If you experience panic attacks, your body may shift its fluids, such as saliva and water, from your mouth to other parts of your body. This transition typically occurs when your fight-or-flight instincts activate, and you may end up with excess water in your sweat glands, resulting in dry mouth. 

Dehydration: The most apparent cause of dry mouth is dehydration, which can occur if you’re not drinking enough water. Moreover, people with anxiety who neglect their water intake are more likely to experience intense panic attacks. 

Physical Effects of Dry Mouth

Saliva protects your mouth, and without a steady flow of it, you may be prone to developing cavities and other oral problems. In addition to mineralizing your teeth, saliva maintains the health of your soft and hard mouth tissues by washing away food particles. Moreover, it can neutralize the acids that mouth bacteria produce. 

It’s crucial to note that stress can weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to dental infections due to a lack of saliva, which otherwise provides your body with disease-fighting substances. 

Dry Mouth Treatment

Anxiety and dry mouth go hand in hand, but both are treatable if you use and avoid certain medications. You shouldn’t have to suffer from dry mouth and other uncomfortable symptoms, so you should ask your doctor or psychiatrist to prescribe a medication that doesn’t cause as many side effects. 

Additionally, practicing adequate oral health can help reduce dry mouth, so we recommend you brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day. The American Dental Association recommends chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate your salivary glands, and it can also help reduce your anxiety. 

Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Can Help

If you’ve been experiencing dry mouth for the past few months, then you may have developed cavities and plaque due to a lack of saliva. You will need to consult with a dentist or oral surgeon who can help restore your dental health. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are more than happy to help you find relief and answer your questions. Schedule your free consultation today.

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