Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a symptom rather than a disease affecting 10%
of the population.
Features include a burning sensation, a decrease in taste or a bad taste
and fetid breath.
The commonest primary cause is salivary gland atrophy due to ageing.
Secondary causes are drugs (very common), depression, anxiety, thirst,
dehydration and anaemia.
• Treat identifi able cause
• Meticulous oral hygiene
• Regular dental checks
• Sip sugarless fl uids often
• Chew sugarless gum
• Use a saliva substitute (e.g. Saliva Orthana, Aquae) or frequent
mouthwashes (e.g. lemon and glycerin 5–10 mL in 100 mL water)
• Use sodium fl uoride 0.5% mouthwash for 5 mins each day
Note: Dry eyes + dry mouth + arthritis = SjÖgren syndrome.