Anxiety Symptoms SHARE

How Anxiety Causes Dry Mouth and What to Do

Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety are considered serious irritants. They may not be debilitating or lead to concerns about your overall health - sometimes the symptoms are simply annoying, and symptoms that you wish you didn't have to deal with so often.

Dry mouth is an example of this type of symptom. As the name implies, dry mouth is when your mouth simply feels dry, and millions of people suffering from anxiety deal with dry mouth every day.

Is Your Dry Mouth Anxiety?

Dry mouth can have many causes, and anxiety is one of them. Speak to your doctor, and also make sure you take our free 7 minute anxiety symptoms test, where you can score your anxiety severity, see how your symptoms compare to others, and receive data on how to solve it.

Start the anxiety test here.

Anxiety Dry Mouth Causes

Understanding dry mouth from anxiety is difficult when you look at the symptom on its own. That's why you should take my free 7 minute anxiety test before moving on, to learn more about your anxiety and why the symptoms are related.

Generally, there are several issues that lead to this dry mouth feeling from anxiety, and any or all of them may relate to your dry mouth. These include:

  • Mouth Breathing Air has a tendency to dry out the mouth, and those with anxiety are tremendously prone to mouth breathing. Often this type of breathing is the response to severe anxiety symptoms, like those that occur during an anxiety attack. Mouth breathing can be irritating to the saliva, and may dry out your tongue in a way that feels like dry mouth is occurring.
  • Acid Backup Those with acid reflux problems may also be more prone to dry mouth. This is because during periods of intense anxiety, the body is more prone to acid reflux, and acid can affect the salivary glands and lead to less saliva and the feeling of a dry mouth. It may also lead to a sticky feeling and bad taste, both of which are considered dry mouth related.
  • Fluid Changes In some cases, the issue may be with the way your body moves around fluid when you're experiencing severe anxiety. When your fight or fight system is activated, your body make take fluids - like saliva and water - and move them to the areas they feel need them more. That may dry out your mouth as well.
  • Dehydration Of course, some dry mouth may genuinely be because you have a dry mouth. Those that aren't drinking enough water are more prone to severe anxiety symptoms. Beyond that, those with anxiety are more likely to notice unusual physical sensations, meaning that if you have anxiety you're more likely to notice that your mouth is dry then when you don't.

Dry mouth is too subjective to provide a definitive cause for, but there are many potential reasons that anxiety may lead to dry mouth. It's even possible for someone to not have a dry mouth in any way, but to be so aware of the way they feel that they believe they do. This is a common problem for those with panic attacks.

How to Stop the Sensation of a Dry Mouth

Dealing with dry mouth is fairly easy, although the solution may not work for everyone. Generally, when you have a dry mouth, the key is to simply drink water and make the mouth moister. Even if water loss isn't the reason for a dry mouth, the feeling of cool water generally takes away some of the negative sensations.

You should also try to distract yourself from your concerns over your dry mouth. Thinking about the way your mouth feels for too long has a tendency to create a dryer mouth. So any type of mental distraction can provide some fairly significant help. You should also consider breathing through your nose for a while to make sure air isn't drying out your mouth further.

But the reality is that the only way to really stop dry mouth is to stop your anxiety. For that, you need to commit to some type of anxiety reduction strategy that is proven to work.

I've helped thousands of people with dry mouth cure their anxiety. Start with my free 7 minute anxiety test. The test is designed to give you greater insight into how your anxiety affects you, using your symptoms to gain a better understanding of the way your anxiety works and how to treat it.

Start the test here.

Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.

Frequently asked questions

What do I do next?

We really suggest people take our anxiety test - it provides a breakdown of how your particular anxiety manifests itself.

I have a question about anxiety or mental health - can you answer it?

Please don't send us questions about your specific mental health issues. They should really be answered by a professional who knows your history.

We are a small team, and it is simply impossible for us to handle the volume of people who need their questions answered. Our anxiety test was created exactly for that purpose - so that people can work on their mental health problems themselves. Please make use of it.

I have an editorial comment or found a mistake.

Great! Please use our contact form and our editor will receive it. We really appreciate such comments because it allows us to improve the quality of information provided on this website. We appreciate any ideas including article suggestions, how to improve user experience and so on.