Dry Mouth


Xerostomia, the subjective complaint of dry mouth, and hyposalivation remain a significant burden for many individuals. Diagnosis of xerostomia and salivary gland hypofunction is dependent upon a careful and detailed history and thorough oral examination. There exist many options for treatment and symptom management: salivary stimulants, topical agents, saliva substitutes, and systemic sialagogues.


Chronic xerostomia remains a significant burden for many individuals. In particular, it may affect speech, chewing, swallowing, denture-wearing, and general well-being.

Xerostomia secondary to hyposalivation may also result in rampant dental caries, oral fungal infections (e.g., candidiasis), taste changes, halitosis, or burning mouth. The most frequent cause of hyposalivation is the use of certain medications (such as anticoagulants, antidepressants, antihypertensives, antiretrovirals, hypoglycemics, levothyroxine, multivitamins and supplements, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroid inhalers) followed by radiotherapy to the head and neck, and Sjögren’s syndrome. Other factors include depression, anxiety, and stress, or malnutrition.” (Villa,2015)

For more information about xerostomia and hyposalivation, see these resources:

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Image reference: Dry tongue in Sjogren's syndrome. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May 2016.quest-eb-com.ccriezp.idm.oclc.org/search/132_1268119/1/132_1268119/cite. Accessed 25 Sep 2021.


The information on the Dental Oncology Knowledge Center of Rhode Island, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images, and other external materials are for informational purposes only. The Partnership to Reduce Cancer in Rhode Island does not provide medical advice. The information on this website is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.