7: Xerostomia

Chapter 7

Xerostomia


LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this chapter you should be able to:
1. Define xerostomia.
2. List reasons for its occurrence.
3. Explain ways of managing this condition.

WHAT IS XEROSTOMIA?

Xerostomia is excessive dryness of the mouth.

Aetiology

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/>
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Jan 4, 2015 | Posted by in General Dentistry | Comments Off on 7: Xerostomia
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