The treatment and/or management of dry-mouth problems (xerostomia) can be broadly divided into five categories:
- identification and successful treatment of underlying disease (for example, well controlled diabetes)
- identification and change of medication causing xerostomia (for example, there are a range of different medications to treat high blood pressure)
- use of medication to increase saliva production (often accompanied by side-effects)
- attempts to prevent the occurrence of xerostomia as a long-term effect of radiotherapy in the head and neck region
- management of chronic xerostomia (for example, as a symptom of Sjögren’s syndrome, or following radiotherapy.
The treatment of most of the underlying systemic diseases, such as diabetes, or medications for the treatment of, for example cardiovascular conditions or allergies are not the focus of a maxillofacial clinic and will not be discussed further here.
Attempts to improve salivation, attempts to prevent xerostomia following radiotherapy and the best possible management of chronic xerostomia are topics in the maxillofacial clinic and we will discuss these topics in a little more detail in the following section.
Next section: Dry mouth