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Diseases Causing Oral Dryness

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Dry Mouth

Abstract

Saliva is important for the maintenance of oral health and also plays an essential role in a number of oral and gastrointestinal functions. Consequently, patients with reduced salivary secretion and changes in their saliva composition are more susceptible to dental caries, oral infections and mucosal lesions and often have symptoms of a dry and sore mouth, burning and itching oral mucosa, difficulties in chewing and swallowing dry foods, impaired sense of taste, difficulty in speaking and problems with acid reflux. These distressing consequences of salivary hypofunction also have a significant negative impact on quality of life and general health status. Several diseases and medical conditions as well as the medications used for treating them are associated with salivary gland hypofunction (objective evidence of diminished salivary output) and xerostomia (subjective sensation of dry mouth). In autoimmune diseases like Sjögren’s syndrome, salivary gland dysfunction is largely related to structural changes in the salivary glands and in endocrine and metabolic disorders mainly related to pathophysiological changes that affect the formation of saliva. Other diseases affect the autonomic outflow pathway involving the salivary gland innervation, the central nervous system and the salivation centre. This chapter reviews systemic diseases and medical conditions associated with salivary gland hypofunction and xerostomia.

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Pedersen, A.M.L. (2015). Diseases Causing Oral Dryness. In: Carpenter, G. (eds) Dry Mouth. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-55154-3_2

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