Xerostomia

Dry mouth

Xerostomia is the subjective sensation of dry mouth due to a decrease in saliva, caused by impaired salivary gland function. The presence of saliva in the oral cavity is very important to avoid a microbial imbalance in the oral environment, which can lead to the onset of caries, gum disease, halitosis, or bad breath, etc.

Dry mouth

Xerostomia is the subjective sensation of dry mouth due to a decrease in saliva, caused by impaired salivary gland function. The presence of saliva in the oral cavity is very important to avoid a microbial imbalance in the oral environment, which can lead to the onset of caries, gum disease, halitosis, or bad breath, etc.

Reversible xerostomia

Reversible xerostomia

Characterised by registering residual glandular activity where salivary secretion can be stimulated or regulated. This type of xerostomising effect is produced by medications, stress, unbalanced diets and public speaking, etc.

Irreversible xerostomia

Irreversible xerostomia

There is irreparable glandular damage that prevents proper functioning. This clinical picture can be found in patients diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome or patients with head and neck cancer who receive large doses of radiation therapy.


Xerostomia: causes
  • Speaking in public
  • Stress, anxiety and depression
  • Ageing
  • Diabetes and other systemic diseases that affect the entire body
  • Treatment with certain drugs: antihistamines, antihypertensives, diuretics and cancer drugs, etc.
  • Missing teeth
  • Unbalanced diet with excess carbohydrates and deficit of fruits and vegetables
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol

The lack of moisture in the oral cavity can cause various clinical manifestations that decrease the quality of life of patients suffering from xerostomia.

  • Dryness, redness, irritation and cracks in the soft tissues, facilitating the attack of opportunistic microorganisms.
  • Inflammation of the mucous membranes (stomatitis) and of the gums (gingivitis).
  • Presence of painful ulcerations and local infections caused by fungi such as candidiasis, cracked lips or halitosis.
  • Pharyngitis, laryngitis, dyspepsia or constipation.
  • Carious lesions and dental sensitivity.

Xerostomia

There are multiple tests that are useful for the diagnosis of salivary gland diseases. It is important not to overlook clinical history and intra and extraoral clinical exams.

  • Sialometry: measures the amount of saliva
  • Salivary gland biopsy: used to observe the presence of inflammation and destruction of glandular tissue
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance
  • Computed tomography
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