Sjögren's syndrome: the diagnostic potential of early oral manifestations preceding hyposalivation/xerostomia

J Oral Pathol Med. 2005 Jan;34(1):1-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0714.2004.00264.x.


Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is a systemic autoimmune exocrinopathy that affects mainly the salivary and lacrimal glands, leading to progressive reduction in saliva and tear flow. Although the underlying immuno-mediated glandular destruction is thought to develop slowly over several years, a long delay from the start of the symptoms to final diagnosis has been frequently reported. A limited knowledge concerning SS natural history is among the major causes of the actual diagnostic delay. Although very few studies have been focused on the analysis of SS early clinical onset, a series of oral features preceding xerostomia/hyposalivation development in patients eventually diagnosed as having SS have been reported. Sialochemistry alterations, salivary gland swelling, early dental loss and sialorrhea have been observed before the onset of typical signs and symptoms (namely xerostomia and/or hyposalivation), which usually lead to SS clinical presentation and diagnosis. Here we suggest, after evaluating available data, that the traditional 'untouchable' association between SS and xerostomia/hyposalivation might probably be reconsidered, and that astute clinicians should not underestimate the possible presence or development of SS in patients without xerostomia/hyposalivation and presenting these atypical early oral features.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Early Diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Parotitis / etiology
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Sialorrhea / etiology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / complications
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Tooth Loss / etiology
  • Xerostomia / etiology