A dry, red or cracked tongue is a symptom of a general condition called "dry mouth," according to WebMD. Other symptoms of dry mouth include chapped or cracked lips and excessive thirst.
Dry mouth can also manifest itself in ulcers or sores in the mouth, or a dry or sore throat, adds WebMD. Certain medications, such as anti-depression or anti-anxiety medications may cause dry mouth, but muscle relaxants and sedatives also can have similar side effects. Hypertension, mumps and diabetes are among the conditions which may cause dry mouth. Nerve damage to the head or neck may affect saliva production, as does surgical removal of salivary glands. Tobacco use can aggravate symptoms of dry mouth.