Xerostomia--clinical evaluation and treatment in general practice

J Calif Dent Assoc. 2000 Dec;28(12):933-41.


Xerostomia is a common symptom with various causes that, if ignored, can lead to serious oral consequences. Clinical evaluation of patients complaining of dry mouth must include some additional history and specific examination of the salivary glands, oral mucosa, and teeth. Additional evaluation may include consultation with the patient's physician, request for microbial culture, or labial salivary gland biopsy. No one form of treatment for patients with chronic xerostomia is sufficient, but comprehensive treatment is effective in improving patient oral comfort and function and preventing unnecessary loss of teeth. This treatment must include ongoing dental caries prevention and treatment, salivary flow stimulation, recognition and treatment of oral candidiasis, selective use of saliva substitutes, and possible changes in the patients' prescription and nonprescription drug use.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Candidiasis, Oral / diagnosis
  • Candidiasis, Oral / prevention & control
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Medical History Taking
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Physical Examination
  • Saliva, Artificial / therapeutic use
  • Salivary Glands / metabolism
  • Secretory Rate
  • Tooth Loss / prevention & control
  • Xerostomia / diagnosis*
  • Xerostomia / microbiology
  • Xerostomia / physiopathology
  • Xerostomia / prevention & control
  • Xerostomia / therapy


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations
  • Saliva, Artificial