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Xerostomia

Xerostomia or Dry Mouth is a condition that can occur due to many reasons. It is often indicative of other health conditions. There is reduced saliva flow, not necessarily due to decreased salivary gland function. Other conditions that occur with xerostomia include constant sore throat, dry nasal passage, burning mouth or difficulty in swallowing. Symptoms of xerostomia include thick saliva, cracked lips and sores at the mouth corners. There might be red patches on the tongue and palate. The tongue appears dry with very few papillae - indentations. Xerostomia can lead to reduced oral pH and increased risk of plaque and dental caries, if left untreated. Other conditions that can develop include tongue ulcers, oral candidiasis, halitosis and sialadenitis.


Oral cavity examination to measure the flow rate of saliva is done to diagnose xerostomia. This is done through sialometry test. Sialography is an imaging test wherein the salivary glands are examined for stones and masses. The patients medications must be examined. Medications are the main cause for xerostomia. These include antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-Parkinson agents, diuretics and sedatives. Analgesics, decongestants and muscle relaxants also cause this. Another cause for xerostomia is Sjogren's syndrome. Other causes include sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, scleroderma, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cystic fibrosis, endocrine disorders and amyloidosis.


Palliative methods include use of water and glycerin and avoidance of alcohol-based mouth washes. Sip plenty of plain cool water. Eat more blended and moist foods. Include hard cheese in the diet. Suck on sugar-free gum. Artificial saliva and salivary stimulants might be suggested by the physician. Pilocarpine is the most prescribed medication for xerostomia.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: March 23, 2019