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Exploring Xerostomia in the Elderly with Dr. Aviv Ouanounou

Dr. Aviv Ouanounou explores with Dr. Suham Alexander the topic of xerostomia in the elderly patient. 

Video Highlights

Xerostomia or dry mouth is a common condition that occurs in the elderly population. In xerostomia, salivary flow is reduced. Because saliva has several important functions in the oral cavity including but not limited to antimicrobial effects, digestion, swallowing and speech, decreased salivary flow has many important implications.

  • Prevalence in the elderly ranges from 45-50% compared to 10-14% in the general population
  • 3 main causes in the elderly
    • Use of non- and prescription medications
    • Medical conditions such as salivary gland disorders (Sjogren’s syndrome), uncontrolled diabetics, thyroid gland disorders, psychogenic disorders
    • Head and neck radiation for cancer treatment
  • Reduced salivary flow has various oral consequences
    • Adversely affects speech and digestion
    • Affects the retention of removable prostheses
    • Can contribute to new and recurrent caries as well as periodontal disease and an increased incidence of candidiasis
  • Dental management should include a thorough review of the medical history, diet and nutrition advice and local measures such as the use of a salivary substitutes, chewing gum and fluoride applications
  • Pharmacological management with systemic medication may also be considered (eg.pilocarpine)

Watch the video interview

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