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


General management:

(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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