What is Xerostomia?

Xerostomia is the medical term for the subjective complaint of dry mouth due to a lack of saliva. Xerostomia is sometimes colloquially called pasties, cottonmouth, drooth, doughmouth or des (like a desert). Xerostomia is also common in smokers.

Xerostomia can cause difficulty in speech and eating. It also leads to halitosis and a dramatic rise in the number of cavities, as the protective effect of saliva's remineralizing the enamel is no longer present, and can make the mucosa and periodontal tissue of the mouth more vulnerable to infection.

Notably, a symptom of heavy methamphetamine use usually called "meth mouth" is largely caused by xerostomia which is worsened by the fact that methamphetamine at recreational doses can cause tight clenching of the jaw, bruxism (compulsive grinding of the teeth), or a repetitive 'chewing' movement like the user is chewing without food in the mouth.

Further Reading


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Last Updated: Sep 15, 2014

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