Conclusion

Managing patients with xerostomia is a challenge for oral healthcare professionals worldwide and will continue to be a problem due to increased longevity and the synergistic effect of older adults taking multiple medications. Geriatric patients, particularly in the U.S., are the most medicated group; as baby boomers age, the number of adults with chronic illnesses will increase. Many oral healthcare professionals underestimate the importance of treating dry mouth symptoms. Not only do individuals with dry mouth struggle with the anti-social consequences of having bad breath, they are at risk for tooth loss from root caries. In addition, a low-grade fungal infection, called candidiasis, is common in these individuals, and can cause a very uncomfortable ‘burning’ sensation inside the mouth. Chronic xerostomia can be an adverse side effect of many drug therapies or it can be associated with long-standing salivary dysfunction. Please share this information with your professional colleagues and patients and make sure that xerostomia treatment and prevention is a top priority. Tell your patients that no one single person will take care of their oral health needs as well as they can!