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Dryness of the mouth can be caused by a variety of things, including medication and a salivary gland infection.

Irrespective of the reason for a dry mouth, the effects that it has on your oral environment are similar.

Saliva plays a huge role in keeping the oral environment healthy. Once unsatisfactory amounts of saliva are being produced, the normal microbial population in the mouth can be altered. The oral cavity is filled with a number of bacteria, fungi and viruses. The interaction between these organisms and the immune system and local physiological factors like saliva is in a state of delicate balance.

Any alteration in this balance, even for a seemingly short time, can lead to an overgrowth of opportunistic micro organisms.

Fungal infection

Fungi are typically fast-growing opportunistic infections that occur commonly in the mouth. These can occur in a variety of places but the most common place where this infection is seen is on the dorsum of the tongue (top rough part of the tongue). This infection can occur in other areas like the palate, cheek and even the floor of the mouth as well.

The growth is commonly white in color and easily scraped off with a wet cloth (although it will reappear) and also rough in texture.

This type of growth can appear rough if you touch it with the tongue or finger. There is usually no other symptom associated with the harmless type of fungal infection called oral thrush, although in other more severe cases of fungal infection, a burning sensation inside the mouth is noticed.

Other possible causes

Another cause which can produce a rough feeling near the tip of the tongue is the presence of calculus (also called as tartar) behind the lower incisors. This is one of the most common areas as well as one of the first areas where this calculus appears.

A dry mouth is also conducive for calculus formation as the natural cleansing action of the saliva is reduced. This allows the bacterial plaque to develop undisturbed around the teeth and in can even cause rapid formation of calculus.

Calculus formation, particularly so much that it is noticeable over a small period of time, will also be accompanied by other symptoms such as bad breath and bleeding from the gums.


The treatment for both the possible causes is relatively simple. A simple course of oral antifungal medication should be enough to resolve any thrush formation in the mouth. A thorough round of scaling will remove any calculus that has formed and will resolve the complaints of bad breath and roughness behind the teeth.

An investigation into the possible reasons for a dry mouth should be conducted, as well as a systemic checkup to make sure that the immune system is not compromised. This would allow opportunistic infections to take root inside the body.

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