Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a direct result of the lack of saliva
and its protective effects. Some patients become xerostomic because
of the medications they may be taking or post-radiotherapy, while
others may be suffering from immune-related problems such as Sjogrens
syndrome. This latter group require careful ongoing review to
intercept the development of other auto-immune disease as well
as the small number who will develop lymphoma.
The reason for the dry mouth must be determined first, and this
is followed by outlining a suitable management strategy to help
the patient overcome their dryness and to protect the oral tissues
including the teeth. Several commercially available products can
be used. Patients may also require the use of sialogogues to stimulate
salivary flow and lifestyle modification where appropriate.
Dry mouth showing lack of saliva and fissuring of the tongue.