Dry Mouth: Diagnosis
Screening for Dry Mouth
Proactive screening for Dry Mouth should be incorporated into routine clinical practice by identification of those at risk or with symptoms through:2,8
- Medical History
- Drug history
- Subjective questioning on Dry Mouth symptoms
- Clinical examination for oral signs
Typical signs of xerostomia the dental professional may identify include9:
- Dental mirror sticks to the tongue or buccal mucosa
- No saliva pooling
- Cervical caries
- Frothy saliva
- Altered gingival architecture (not only related to Dry Mouth)
Who is at risk?
Dry mouth is more prevalent in women than in men1
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
Questions to identify Dry Mouth
If your patients’ medication has changed recently, this one question could identify 54% of all Dry Mouth Zufferers with salivary gland hypofunction10
Does your mouth usually feel dry?
These 3 additional questions could identify 75% of all Dry Mouth sufferers10
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 uncover Dry Mouth10
Intraoral mirror sticking to the buccal mucosa or tongue6
The group most at risk of impaired dental health from dry mouth are patients with dentures taking concomitant medications4
Loss of tongue papillae6
Altered/smooth gingival architecture6
Glassy appearance to mucosa, especially the palate6
Tongue is lobulated/deeply fissured6
Cervical caries (>2 teeth) and/or mucosal debris on palate (except under dentures)6
The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs outlines three diagnostic tests that you can use to support a dry mouth diagnosis7
|Salivary flow measurement||Periodic evaluation of salivary flow rate that provides a tool for monitoring dry mouth symptoms|
|Blood tests||Biomarker testing for when dry mouth is suspected to be related to systemic|
|Biopsy||Minor salivary gland biopsy can be used to identify any underlying pathological changes associated with dysfunction|
Offer your Dry Mouth patients a solution that suits their different needs, around the clock11*
*With a daily Dry Mouth routine