Why Do Older Adults Get Dry Mouth?

Why Do Older Adults Get Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a common condition among older adults, and it’s one that causes frequent complications with oral health. Saliva plays an important role in oral health and digestion. It protects the teeth by neutralizing acid, washing away food particles, and inhibiting bacterial growth. With dry mouth, saliva production is limited, and the risk of gingivitis, tooth decay, and appetite loss spikes. If you do start to notice dry mouth symptoms as you get older, call your dentist to talk about your treatment options. But why is dry mouth so frequently diagnosed in older adults? Here’s a look at some of the leading factors behind this trend.  

Medication Use

Many prescription and over-the-counter medications have the potential side effect of dry mouth. Older adults are more likely to take one or more prescription medications daily, so they experience this side effect often. Always alert your doctor of any side effects brought on by prescription medications. In some cases, you may be able to switch to a similar medication with fewer or milder side effects. 

Changes in Body Chemistry

Aging causes many changes in the body. Your hormonal balance shifts, and some systems in the body begin to slow down or work less efficiently than they used to. Dry mouth is one of many effects that you may notice.


Unfortunately, many people stop getting the well-rounded nutrition they need as they get older. It can become more difficult to chew vegetables and other healthy foods, so you may rely more on processed foods or start skipping meals more often. Without proper nutrition, your body may not be fully hydrated, and you may begin to experience dry mouth more often. 

At the office of Dr. John Carson, DDS, you can receive lifelong dental care from our compassionate team. We will customize your checkups and cleanings to cater to your needs. Call our Tucson office today at (520) 514-7203.