Xerostomia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Xerostomia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Xerostomia Meaning

Xerostomia is a chronic dry mouth condition. Xerostomia is a symptom of a disease or health disorder and is not an independent disease. This condition occurs due to disruption of the function of the salivary glands in producing saliva. However, patients with xerostomia cannot be directly assumed to have salivary dysfunction.

This condition is basically harmless. But you need to worry if xerostomia occurs repeatedly and is continuous. Xerostomia is more common in women than men and is more common in the elderly.

Xerostomia Symptoms

The most common symptoms of xerostomia are:

  • Sticky and dry feeling in mouth and tongue
  • Difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • Dry lips
  • Bad breath
  • Mouth sores appear

Xerostomia Reason

There are many things that can cause xerostomia. Medical conditions and the use of certain drugs are one of the most common causes of xerostomia – especially in the elderly. Usually, blood pressure control drugs, anti-depressants, and anti-allergy can trigger xerostomia.

Meanwhile, several medical conditions associated with xerostomia include Sjogren’s syndrome, diabetes, bulimia nervosa, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer patients who are undergoing therapy. Nutritional deficiencies can also cause xerostomia.

Apart from the things above, xerostomia can also be caused by dehydration and psychological disorders (such as anxiety and nervousness). The habit of smoking or chewing tobacco also affects saliva production and worsens the condition of xerostomia sufferers.


Careful examination is needed to find out the cause of xerostomia. Examination for xerostomia includes examination of the salivary glands (saliva). Examination for xerostomia also includes examination of the consistency of saliva, the speed of saliva flow, the level of saliva production, and the condition of the salivary glands.

Imaging techniques of the salivary glands can also be performed if needed, including ultrasonography and sialography. If the initial examination leads to suspicion of certain conditions, the diagnosis of abnormalities in the salivary glands can be supported by tissue examination, namely blood tests, and biopsies.

Xerostomia Treatment

Treatment for xerostomia depends on the cause of the dryness in the mouth. If xerostomia is caused by drugs, then the patient needs to consult the doctor who gave the treatment. Through consultation, it will be known whether the administration of the drug can be replaced, stopped or using a lower dose.

If the results of the examination show that the salivary glands are impaired but can still produce saliva, xerostomia can be treated through therapy or administration of drugs to stimulate saliva secretion. Therapy can be done using acupuncture techniques or other stimulation techniques.


Xerostomia can be prevented in several ways, including:

  • Increase water consumption. But avoid drinking water with extreme temperatures (too cold or too hot).
  • Avoid drinks with a high sugar content or carbonated.
  • Avoid drinks that contain caffeine.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Use an alcohol-free mouthwash.
  • Improve diet.
  • Maintain oral hygiene.

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