Salivary flow and xerostomia in patients with type 2 diabetes

J Oral Pathol Med. 2018 May;47(5):526-530. doi: 10.1111/jop.12712. Epub 2018 Apr 17.


Background: Saliva is secreted by the major and minor salivary glands. There are a number of physiological factors that can reduce this secretion such as age, sex, body weight, number of teeth present in the mouth or time of day. This decrease may also be caused by the use of certain drugs, radiotherapy for head and neck cancer, chronic rheumatic diseases such as Sjögren's syndrome and other systemic disorders such as diabetes mellitus (DM). Objective of this study was to investigate the effect of type 2 DM on salivary secretion and its relation to the sensation of xerostomia.

Methods: Forty-seven patients with type 2 DM and 46 healthy individuals, aged 40-80, participated in the study. Samples of saliva were collected, at rest and after stimulation, at baseline and after the administration of a meal. A questionnaire of 10 items was used to define the patients' sensations of xerostomia. For statistical analysis, the Mann-Whitney test was used to assess the difference in salivary flow between the two groups and the relationship between the response to each of the questions and salivary flow levels. The degree of the patients' sensation of xerostomia was analysed by the Fisher test.

Results and conclusions: There was a significant decrease in total saliva levels at rest in patients with type 2 DM compared to the control group. The study group also experienced higher levels of dryness at night and on waking as well as a greater sensation of lingual burning compared to the control group.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus type 2; saliva; xerostomia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Saliva / metabolism*
  • Salivary Glands / metabolism*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Xerostomia / physiopathology*