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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 sialogogues.


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 to help guide healthcare providers in the treatment of xerostomia and hyposalivation, see these resources: 

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More information regarding the following topics will be coming soon:

  • Importance of Good Oral Health Before, During, and After Cancer Care

  • Dental Care and Home Care Before, During, and After Treatment

Image reference: Dry tongue in Sjogren's syndrome. Photography. Britannica ImageQuest, Encyclopædia Britannica, 25 May Accessed 25 Sep 2021.


The information on the Rhode Island Cancer and Oral Health Resource Guide, 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. 

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