The establishment of a xerostomia clinic: a prospective study

Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 1997 Apr;35(2):96-103. doi: 10.1016/s0266-4356(97)90683-5.


The study investigated the aetiological factors and management of patients who have xerostomia. The subjects were 100 consecutive patients referred to the Oral Medicine Unit for investigation of oral dryness. A detailed case history was recorded and patients underwent a systematic examination together with sialometry, haematological, biochemical and immunological investigations. Suspected cases of Sjögren's syndrome (SS) were referred for assessment by a rheumatologist and ophthalmologist. Objective evidence of salivary gland hypofunction was found in 39 patients. A definite diagnosis of primary and secondary SS was made in 24 and 15 patients respectively, a further five cases had possible primary SS. Other causes of xerostomia were: undiagnosed diabetes (3); drug-induced (11); therapeutic radiation (3); alcohol-related (3); psychogenic (15) and idiopathic (21). Patients complaining of a dry mouth should be questioned about non-oral symptoms. In total, 40% of patients attending the dry mouth clinic had a diagnosis of SS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Dental Service, Hospital
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / diagnosis
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Rheumatology
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Salivary Gland Diseases / diagnosis
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Xerostomia / chemically induced
  • Xerostomia / diagnosis*
  • Xerostomia / etiology
  • Xerostomia / psychology
  • Xerostomia / therapy