WHAT IS XEROSTOMIA?
Xerostomia is excessive dryness of the mouth.
Xerostomia is caused by insufficient oral secretions. A reduction in the amount or flow of saliva, which may occur for various reasons, causes the balance of the mouth to be upset, and contributes to dental disease.
There are a number of reasons why saliva may be reduced or why its flow varies, including:
- Age – saliva production and flow diminish with age.
- Prescription drugs – certain drugs used for allergies, asthma, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, high blood pressure, inflammatory conditions, infertility, nausea and Parkinson’s disease. (See also Chapter 8.)
- Anxiety – many people will have experienced a dry mouth associated with panic – perhaps before a dental appointment or public speaking.
- Acute illness – diarrhoea and vomiting can cause dehydration, resulting in a reduction in saliva production. Infectious diseases like mumps (inflammation of the parotid gland) have the same effect.
- Mouth breathing – at night, or in people with malocclusion or chronic sinus problems.
- Salivary calculi – calcified stones, which are stored in salivary ducts.
- Sjögren’s syndrome – associated with autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, in which the lubrication of mucous membranes is drastically reduced. Patients often complain of dry eyes as well as a dry mouth.
- Radiotherapy (for cancer) – to the head and neck can cause a reduction i/>