Recognizing and Managing the Oral Clues That Point to Sjögren's Syndrome

, State University of New York at Buffalo

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Treatment for Xerostomia

Regardless of the genesis of xerostomia, the therapeutic approach is characterized by 3 common domains:

  • preventive dental care (both at home and at the dental office);

  • dietary counseling (avoidance of sugar, alcohol, etc.); and

  • palliative interventions (artificial salivas, frequent drinking of water, use of sugarless chewing gum, humidifiers, etc.).

These domains are then tailored to the needs of the patient and the nature of the xerostomia. For instance, prescription of pilocarpine would be justified in patients having either postradiation xerostomia or SS (as long as viable and functioning salivary glands are present), but it would not be appropriate in patients with pharmacologic xerostomia. For patients with xerostomia caused by their medications, it would be pertinent to discuss with the patient's primary physician the possibility of tapering off the xerostomic drugs. Substitution of a less xerogenic medication, if possible, would also be warranted.[30] When modification of the therapeutic regimen would compromise the health of the patient, the only choice is to adhere to the 3 domains outlined above.

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