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Dry mouth syndrome (Xerostomia)


Xerostomia, or dry mouth syndrome, is a term used to define a dry mouth. It is not necessarily due to a decrease in the secretion of saliva or oral dryness or an absence of the secretion of saliva called asialie. The causes of dry mouth are multiple: congenital diseases, radiotherapy of the face or neck, severe dehydration, poor oral hygiene, smoking, certain medications... Dry mouth can also be part of Sjogren's syndrome, which causes a decrease in the secretion of certain glands, particularly the salivary glands and tear ducts, resulting in a dry mouth and eyes. Xerostomia is responsible for an impaired quality of life, or a major psychological impact.


==Symptoms== of dry mouth include:
  • dry mouth;
  • difficulty chewing and swallowing;
  • difficulty speaking;
  • difficult to identify flavors and smell sometimes;
  • the formation of painful cracks in the corners of the mouth or lips;
  • greater sensitivity to the development of bacteria and fungi;
  • tooth decay or gum disease;
  • bad breath.


The diagnosis of dry mouth is easily identified by examining the mouth. The doctor will take into consideration the complaints of the patient or the existence of eating disorders in the elderly. If a drug, an insufficient intake of water or another reversible cause is suspected to be at fault, treatment is easy. In the case of persistence or a suspected salivary pathology, tests may be performed to verify the proper functioning of the salivary glands. They can consist of (radiographic, ultrasound or endoscopic) imaging or, more rarely, a biopsy of a gland.


Dry mouth usually requires no treatment and disappears by itself. Proper hydration and oral hygiene as well as smoking cessation are paramount. If a particular disease is identified, treatment, if possible, is required.


To prevent dry mouth, when the cause is not congenital or due to Sjögren's syndrome, proper hydration is necessary, as well as impeccable oral hygiene and regular dental follow-up. One should also pay attention to the side effects of certain medications.

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