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July 1987

Xerostomia: A Neglected Symptom

Author Affiliations

From the School of Dental Medicine (Dr Sreebny) and Department of Family Medicine (Dr Valdini), School of Medicine, State University of New York—Health Sciences Center, Stony Brook.

Arch Intern Med. 1987;147(7):1333-1337. doi:10.1001/archinte.1987.00370070145022

• Xerostomia, the subjective feeling of dry mouth caused by a severe reduction in the flow of saliva, is a common problem that is particularly prevalent among the aged. It has become increasingly evident that dry mouth is associated with a number of serious systemic conditions and diseases. Among these are the intake of commonly prescribed medications, autoimmune diseases, and irradiation to the head and neck. The diminution in the flow of saliva may profoundly affect oral health, disturb digestion and speech, and seriously impair the patient's quality of life. Food avoidance, nonabsorption of sublingually placed drugs, and noncompliance with medication may also result. Sialometry can be used to confirm the presence of dry mouth. Treatment is aimed at increasing the flow of saliva, when possible, or providing oral moisture by other means.

(Arch Intern Med 1987;147:1333-1337)

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