What Causes Dry Mouth During Running & What Can Be Done?

Hydrate while you run to avoid a dry mouth.
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The pasty, parched feeling of a dry mouth is annoying, particularly when you are running and need every drop of moisture you can get to keep from feeling overheated. A dry mouth, which is also called xerostomia, is usually a sign of other problems or a side effect of medications. Not only can it feel uncomfortable, it could become a breeding ground for mouth infections. Dry mouth during running is reversible and can be dealt with fairly easily. If your symptoms continue even after home treatment, speak to your doctor about underlying medical conditions that may contribute to your dry mouth.

Physical Cause

A physical cause of dry mouth during running is dehydration. As you exercise, sweating dries out your entire body. If you are not drinking liquids as you run, the dehydration can become more severe and can potentially endanger your health. Other signs of dehydration during running can include blurry vision and mental confusion. The dryness in your mouth may increase in hot weather when you sweat more. People who breathe with an open mouth during exercise may also experience dry oral tissues.


Emotional Cause

A case of the nerves can be another cause for dry mouth during running. Runners who participate in races often get stage fright before performing. The highly-charged emotions involved in race preparation cause temporary symptoms of a dry mouth. Usually though, once you are well into your race, your body gets into its groove and your mind relaxes. Then, you will feel the saliva flowing once more.


Hydration is an important part of conquering dry mouth and keeping the rest of your body healthy during aerobic exercise such as running. Drink water before, during and after a workout to prevent not only dry mouth, but shakes and muscles cramps as well. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that runners who practice at least an hour or more at a time also use sports drinks to rehydrate. Sports drinks can possibly improve performance as well. Drink between 1½ and 4 cups of water or sports drink per hour of running to replace the fluids you have lost. When you are properly hydrated, your dry mouth will most likely no longer be an issue. If you are still feel parched, swish your mouth with artificial saliva to keep your mouth moist.



Relaxation and visualization can help reduce xerostomia that is the result of nervousness. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Visualize yourself at the starting line getting ready to run your race. Imagine yourself running at your optimum levels. If you are a novice runner, you may find you are less nervous with every race and your feelings of dry mouth dissipate as you gain more experience.


Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911. If you think you may have COVID-19, use the CDC’s Coronavirus Self-Checker.