Background: The aim of this study was to examine the symptoms and risk factors associated with self-reported xerostomia.
Methods: Data were collected from 601 self-administered questionnaires among dental clinic attendees. Logistic regression models to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were used to investigate the association for exposures of interest, such as socio-demographic characteristics, self-reported symptoms, oral hygiene habits and xerostomia.
Results: 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 three 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 five times more likely to develop xerostomia than patients without disorder or dentures.
Conclusions: 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.