Skip to content

Dry Mouth and Alcohol

Have you ever woken up craving water after a night of drinking? Did you ever feel like you couldn’t talk clearly because you didn’t have enough saliva after having a few drinks the previous evening? Did you feel that your throat was scratchy when quitting alcohol? Have you been getting complaints of bad breath after months or years of drinking frequently? These are various reported complaints around a condition called dry mouth. Dry mouth is a common symptom of long-term alcohol use.

This symptom and alcohol consumption are related. Dr. Thomas P. Connelly, a dentist, has blogged about this issue:

“There are several causes of dry mouth. Drinking alcohol, especially in any kind of quantity, will definitely give you dry mouth. Have you ever gone to bed after drinking a solid amount of booze? You woke up with severe dry mouth, didn’t you?”

Though it may seem like a basic side effect of little to no concern, dry mouth﹘also known as xerostamia﹘is both a concerning symptom of continuous alcohol use and also a symptom of alcohol withdrawal.

Why is my mouth dry after drinking alcohol?

Dry mouth, after drinking a significant amount of alcohol, is a result of the redistribution of fluids in the body. It is a sign that the person is dehydrated and signals the person to drink water or other fluids that will replenish the body.

How does alcohol dehydrate?

Alcohol works as a diuretic. Its chemical makeup signals to our kidneys to not reabsorb water inside the body like they normally do. This water then travels to the bladder where it is flushed out in the urine. This abnormal loss of fluid is the cause of dehydration.

Dehydration isn’t that serious though…is it?

Dehydration can be dangerous. When dehydration occurs, your body pulls water from your cells. This replaces water lost in the bloodstream due to inadequate consumption of water while drinking. This is how the body maintains blood pressure. Blood pressure is what pushes blood through the body, allowing healthy circulation. Without the oxygen blood carries being moved through the body, organs can fail. This is why your body takes care of blood pressures problems even if it means individual cells dehydrate.

However, when this happens, those cells are left dry. Those cells often belong to critical organs such as the kidneys, liver, and brain. If too much water is pulled from these cells, severe damage to these organs can result. Since alcohol can put this dehydration cycle in action, this is why Executive Home Detox and primary care physicians emphasize that you drink water when you crave an alcoholic drink. A one-to-one ratio of alcohol to water is recommended.

Dry Mouth as a Symptom of Alcohol Withdrawal

Continuously experiencing dry mouth can be a symptom of alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal happens after periods of heavy alcohol use when one tries quitting alcohol or goes a long enough time without it. This is because the body adapts to having alcohol in its system. When alcohol is not present, the body shows concerning physical symptoms in its absence. Along with dry mouth, these symptoms might include shaking hands, cravings, headaches, nausea, anxiety, insomnia, and sweating.

Dry Mouth and Liver Disease

Dry mouth can be one of the symptoms of a more concerning liver disease. The liver processes liquids and food, removing toxins that could harm the body. Continued alcohol use can take a toll on the liver, eventually making it unable to function properly. When the liver can’t do its job, alcohol can dehydrate the body even more than it usually does.

Other symptoms of liver disease include jaundice, or yellowing eyes, joint pain, and confusion. Liver disease is a very concerning matter. We suggest the person experiencing this condition on a consistent basis listen to their body and consider cutting back on their alcohol intake or consider stopping altogether. We are here to help with private, client-approved in home detox should you decide to take this prudent route.

Other Symptoms

Dry mouth can cause dental hygiene complications. Saliva actually helps bacteria be washed off of teeth. When there’s not enough saliva, it can cause bacteria to build up and lead to bad breath and possible tooth decay. It is also just unpleasant for sufferers to have trouble speaking, eating, or swallowing because their mouth is dry.

Dry mouth and gum disease

Dry mouth can also lead to gum disease if left untreated. Saliva washes away particles that could otherwise inflect or aggravate the gums. If the body is not producing enough fluids to do this due to dehydration, gum disease can be the result. Gum disease can be painful and cause bad breath. It also can be costly to see a professional in order to get gum disease reversed.

At Executive Home Detox, we advocate ending the cycle of alcohol destroying your health. We know that your schedule is busy, so we provide comfortable, professional, and thorough care to help with your alcohol detoxification process. Contact us now!

Back To Top