Saliva is produced by the salivary glands, which secrete it in order to protect the mucosa that covers the oral cavity from external agents.
Together with the oral mucosa, saliva forms the first line of defence of the body.
Composed of water (99%), proteins and enzymes (1%) it plays a fundamental role in maintaining the health of the mouth and in its hydration. With antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal action, it makes the mouth our body’s first line of defence against infections.
What is xerostomia?
Xerostomia is defined as the subjective sensation of a dry mouth.
It is also known as “dry mouth” and occurs when the salivary glands no longer produce saliva with the necessary quantity or quality.
The consumption of over 400 medications
Antidepressants, anti-inflammatories, diuretics, anxiolytics, etc.
Immune system disorders
Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV infection, Hepatitis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus erythematosus, etc.
Diabetes, Cancer, Alzheimer, rheumatic diseases, etc.
Kidney and/or liver failure
Incontinence | Pelvic floor syndrome
Medication to avoid urinary loss.
Menopause and breast cancer treatments
Conditions of estrogen deficit (menopause)or estrogen suppression (breast cancer treatments).
Oral and maxillofacial pathology
Stress, alcohol, tobacco, sleep apnea, hormonal changes, aging, weight loss regimes, etc.
Combination of the above
Sensation of dry and irritated mouth
Halitosis and bad taste in the mouth / unusual flavours
Burning sensation in the mouth and tongue
Difficulty swallowing, chewing, swallowing, and speaking
Pasty mouthfeel | String of saliva between the teeth or the tongue and the palate
Soft tissue and/or tongue pain
The need to moisten the mouth every so often
The presence of these symptoms significantly affects the quality of life of patients. In addition, the decrease in salivary flow increases the risk of numerous pathologies and oral problems, such as:
- Rapid onset dental caries
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth wear
- Cracks in the lips
- Denture intolerance and lack of retention
- Opportunistic pathogen infections; for example, Candida spp.
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Insomnia, irritability and depression
- Higher risk of respiratory infections