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Keywords:

  • Xerostomia;
  • salivary gland hypofunction;
  • dry mouth

Abstract

Saliva plays an important protective role in the oral environment, and reductions in saliva quantity are known to increase the risk of oral diseases. Importantly, xerostomia or the perception of a dry mouth is now being recognized as an important risk factor for dental diseases. Furthermore, the subjective sensation of a dry mouth is a debilitating condition in itself that impacts on the quality of life of sufferers. With approximately 1 in 5 people reporting some form of dry mouth, and an increasing prevalence in the elderly, it is important for clinicians to have a thorough understanding of this problem. The aim of this paper is to review some of the literature relating to xerostomia in order to provide an evidence based update for clinicians.