Xerostomia

Xerostomia, associated with chronic dry mouth, is a serious condition, frequently overlooked by physicians and oral healthcare professionals, and oftentimes remains unnoticed by the dentist, or hygienist, during a routine dental exam. The reported prevalence of xerostomia ranges from 14-46 percent and women have a higher prevalence.1 Xerostomia is more common in the older adult population but is not necessarily an inevitable part of aging. Many individuals have xerostomia and do not notice it. Others may have noticed the ‘parched’ condition but do not seem to know what to do about it. Many people who have this chronic condition do not realize just how damaging it can be to the hard and soft tissues of the mouth. In fact, dry mouth can be so serious it can become a ‘quality of life’ issue for patients and treatment can present a clinical challenge. Xerostomia can be associated with a decrease in the quantity and quality of saliva.2