A dry mouth: Identification
Identifying a dry mouth
Proactive screening for a dry mouth can be simply incorporated into routine clinical practice by identification of those at risk or with signs through8,9:
- Medical history
- Drug history
- Subjective questioning on signs of a dry mouth
- Clinical examination for oral signs
Typical signs of a dry mouth that the dental professional may identify include3:
- Dental mirror sticking to the tongue or buccal mucosa
- No saliva pooling
- Cervical caries
- Frothy saliva
- Altered gingival architecture (not only related to a dry mouth)
Who is at risk?
The experience of a dry mouth is more prevelant in women than in men.
A dry mouth is more prevalent in the elderly population due to increased use of medication and susceptibility to disease*2,3
*This is more likely due to increased use of medication and susceptibility to disease rather than a feature of ageing2,3
A dry mouth can cause denture wearing to be very uncomfortable and exacerbate chewing difficulties.11
Questions to help identify a dry mouth10
Does your mouth feel dry? – This question could help identify people who experience a dry mouth due to salivary gland hypofunction.10
These three additional questions could help identify people who experience a dry mouth:
- Do you regularly do things to keep your mouth moist?
- Do you get out of bed at night to drink fluids?
- Does your mouth usually become dry when you speak?
These clinically validated questions can help identify a dry mouth.