Symptoms and Risk Factors of Xerostomia

Examining the symptoms and risk factors associated with self-reported xerostomia, the authors of this study collected data from 601 self-administered questionnaires among dental clinic attendees in order to investigate the association for exposures of interest, such as sociodemographic characteristics, self-reported symptoms, oral hygiene habits, and xerostomia. Participants reported having dry mouth in 19.6% of cases. Xerostomia was associated with a significant increase in the odds of having dry lips, throat, eye, skin and nose. Patients with self-reported xerostomia were 3 times more likely to drink water to swallow food than were patients without xerstomia. Older individuals were significantly more likely to report dry mouth, and the prevalence of xerostomia increased with advancing age. The prevalence of xerostomia in patients taking one or more drugs was significantly higher compared to medication-free patients, and increased with increasing numbers of medications used. Finally, individuals with a nervous or mental disorder or who wore removable dentures were 5 times more likely to develop xerostomia than patients without either of these disorders or dentures. The study concluded that dentists should be familiar with the symptoms of xerostomia and be prepared to take an active role in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of the oral complications.
(Source: Villa, A. and Abati, S. "Risk Factors and Symptoms Associated with Xerostomia: A Cross-Sectional Study." Australian Dental Journal. September 2011, Volume 56, Number 3, Pages 290 to 295; onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1834-7819.2011.01347.x/abstract; published online August 28, 2011)