A person with xerostomia (dry mouth) can be managed based on the severity of oral dryness and the underlying cause(s).
Factors affecting management:
(1) underlying cause(s)
(2) residual salivary gland function
(3) amount of saliva released without stimulation
(4) amount of saliva released after stimulation
Problems for a person with xerostomia:
(1) dental caries
(2) difficulty chewing dry foods
(3) difficulty swallowing foods (food gets stuck in the throat)
(4) unpleasant oral sensations
(1) Stop, change or reduce the dose of implicated drugs.
(2) Sip water or eat ice chips throughout the day.
(3) Practice good dental hygiene. Consult a dentist if caries are a problem.
(4) Use sour sugarless candy or chewing gum to stimulate saliva flow.
(5) Treat underlying cause(s) if possible.
Management in more severe xerostomia:
(1) Consider the use of a saliva substitute.
(2) Consider the use of a sialagogue (stimulant to saliva release): pilocarpine, civemiline
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Specialty: Otolaryngology, Immunology/Rheumatology