Issues in the epidemiological investigation of dry mouth


W. Murray Thomson,
Department of Oral Sciences,
School of Dentistry,
The University of Otago,
PO Box 647, Dunedin,
New Zealand.
Tel.: +64 3 479 7116
Fax: +64 3 479 7113


Despite decades of research, much remains unanswered about the epidemiology of dry mouth. This review aims to provide an overview of the condition's epidemiology and the issues to consider when planning an epidemiological study of dry mouth. The latter can be broadly grouped into: study design; sampling and statistical power considerations; the measurement of dry mouth; and the selection, nature and measurement of relevant exposure measures, including medications and potential confounding variables. Each of these is discussed, in order to provide guidance for prospective researchers based on experience with past research. Finally, an agenda for further epidemiological research into dry mouth is proposed.