Why does coffee dry out my mouth?

Is there a negative connotation centered around the world’s favorite drink? Please say it is not so! Unfortunately, some people with acute sensitivities are reporting that their mouth feels dry after drinking a cup of coffee. The symptoms experienced include a lack of saliva and the feeling of a film throughout the inside of the mouth and teeth.

What is Dry Mouth?

Granted there is a condition known as xerostomia or, more commonly, dry mouth. This is when the internal environment of the mouth does not produce enough saliva. Our salivary glands produce a moist environment in our mouth that helps to break down what we eat. Saliva is also designed to wash away food debris and aids in our swallowing and talking.

Saliva is needed by our body because of what it contains. Saliva contains calcium and phosphate. Both of these naturally producing solutions keep our oral health free from bacteria and germs. When you visit a doctor for dry mouth, they will examine you for underlying reasons that cause dry mouth. These conditions include illnesses like diabetes, Sjogren, HIV, and more.

Additional causes of dry mouth are certain antihistamines, pain killers, and high blood pressure medication. Also menopause or perimenopause causes hormonal changes including dry mouth. Also, for heavy cigarette smokers, a side effect like dry mouth is common.

If you do experience dry mouth, don’t hesitate to seek medical help. Dry mouth sounds innocent but it can lead to poor oral health, creation of halitosis, gum disease and other chronic bacterial or yeast infections. In general terms, a dry mouth condition is serious.

Why Does Coffee Dry Out My Mouth?

different coffee's besides on a lady

So, why does coffee dry out your mouth? Before we become too panicked that our favorite daily drink causes a health issue, let’s look deeper into this situation. First, the over consumption of coffee is not good for anyone and we should drink it in moderation.

Overall, coffee made from coffee beans is a healthy drinking option. Coffee is filled with antioxidants. Whether your cup of java is brewed by a barista or at home, it remains largely beneficial. Antioxidants protect the human body from encroaching illnesses. Research has found out that coffee helps to increase our life-span.


With these beneficial options, why does coffee dry out my mouth? Physicians believe that there are two natural ingredients in coffee that could cause xerostomia symptoms. These include caffeine and tannin. Let’s talk about caffeine. Normally caffeine is a healthy stimulant that provides that extra boost of energy when we need it.

Caffeine is considered a drug by the Center of Science in the Public Interest. As such, this institute releases many public reports on the harm of ingesting too much caffeine. One such report talked about dehydration from caffeine over use.

Granted, caffeine increases my urine output, but dehydration? This is because caffeine is a diuretic that does affect the body’s ability to hydrate itself. Overall, coffee does not normally dehydrate the body. Yes, there will be people who have sensitivity to certain ingredients and elements in drinks like coffee.

Certain individuals do experience dry lips after drinking more than two cups of coffee. Dry or chapped lips are an easy fix and usually are not illness related. The lips contain their own molecule environment and many drinks and foods can create dryness. Therefore, we won’t blame dry lips on coffee!

Drinking Dark Coffee

holding cup of black coffee by two hands

If you moderately drink coffee, it will not dehydrate you. By drinking more coffee, like 5 plus cups a day, there may be a slight dehydrating result. Do not fear. You can continue to enjoy your favorite barista drink to meet your daily coffee fix.

There is an interesting exception about drinking coffee and experiencing dry mouth. If you are a dark strong coffee drinker you may experience dry mouth. When you wake in the morning and your first thought is drinking a good cup of hot dark coffee, you may experience more than a morning coffee jolt.

After your dark black brew you will definitely want to brush your gums and teeth. The strong tannins in a cup of coffee first thing in the morning will cause a drying oral effect as well as bad breath. Bitter dark coffee tannin changes the molecules on your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and the saliva environment.


Okay, now let’s talk about the tannin in coffee. Tannins are chemical compounds found in coffee, tea, dark chocolate, and certain fruits. When you consume tannin they naturally bind to the proteins in our saliva creating a drying-out effect.

Roasted coffee beans and green coffee beans are loaded with tannin. Therefore, when you drink fresh coffee made from roasted and/or green coffee beans, you will get a load of tannin. Certain individuals handle tannin and caffeine differently.

This occurs because of heredity and/or the body’s metabolism levels. Certain individuals could be allergic to or affected by the tannin, causing a dry mouth. Granted that coffee unlike water is not a hydrating drink.

Common Sense To Avoid Coffee Drying Out Your Mouth

Use your common sense when drinking copious amounts of coffee every day. You are your own best resource to figure out if coffee is your dry mouth culprit. If after drinking your favorite coffee drink, you begin experiencing a lack of saliva, see a medical expert and talk to them about it.

Normal dry mouth is helped by trying different DIY tricks. You can chew sugarless gum, keep sugarless candy in your mouth, keep up with your daily oral care, and drink lots of water. You can drink water after your cup of coffee just to ensure that your saliva environment remains moist.

Answering the question of why does coffee dry out my mouth is answered in clinical studies. There are more health benefits in drinking coffee than the causation of dry mouth. The National Institutes of Health noted that when we drink one to two cups each day, it provides our body with healthy nutrients.

The only exception is based on your doctor’s orders. If you have an underlying illness that is affected by drinking coffee, then of course don’t drink it. Yet, in cases when you experience dry mouth following several cups of coffee, this simply means that you are an individual who is more sensitive to its contents than what is normal.