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Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be caused by infections, nerve damage and drugs such as blood pressure medication like clonidine, Prilosec and other ulcer medications, antihistamines, stimulants such as amphetamines and intestinal medication called atropine. It can be associated with a type of arthritis (1).

Lack of saliva causes mouth and neck pain, infections, difficulty talking and sleeping, dental cavities, and difficulty swallowing because saliva lubricates the food and allows it to pass down your throat. Since the mouth is normally full of germs that belong there, it is very difficult to culture a bacteria that causes dry mouth, but some people are cured by taking the antibiotics metronidazole and clarithromycin for a couple of weeks. If that doesn't cure you, you may have to take a 5mg pilocarpine pill four times a day, but they can cause sweating, nausea, running nose, chills, dizziness and frequent urination (2,3,4).

You can also try a machine called Salitron made by Biosonics in Pennsylvania. It uses an electrical probe in your mouth to stimulate the salivary glands to produce saliva.

1) Interferon treats Sjorgen's syndrome.British Med Journal Jan, 1993.

2) Archives of Internal Medicine 1999(January);159:174-181.

3) NEJM, 1993;329:390.

4) The Medical Letter August 19, 1994.

5) FB Vivino, I Alhashimi, Z Khan, FG Leveque, PL Salisbury, TK Tranjohnson, CC Muscoplat, M Trivedi, B Goldlust, SC Gallagher. Pilocarpine tablets for the treatment of dry mouth and dry eye symptoms in patients with Sjogren syndrome - A randomized, placebo-controlled, fixed-dose, multicenter trial. Archives of Internal Medicine 159: 2 (JAN 25 1999):174-181. 5-mg pilocarpine tablets 4 times daily (20 mg/d).

Checked 2/9/09

January 1st, 2015
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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