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Medically Compromised Patients Pharmacology Supporting Your Practice

View from the Chairside: Managing Patients with Dry Mouth with Dr. Tom Shackleton

Dry mouth is surprisingly a common symptom. It can develop from three main causes: by specific diseases of the salivary glands, as a side effect of head and neck irradiation treatment for cancer, or most commonly as a side effect of prescribed drugs. A problematic aspect of dry mouth is the subjectivity in reporting the condition, which makes it more difficult to diagnose than that when using an objective measure, such as salivary flow rate. Although dry mouth is caused by decreased saliva production, this is not always the case.

And that's what Dr. Tom Shackleton is discussing in his presentation. He provides more information on the nature of the condition, its causes and manifestations, and how it may be managed.

I hope you you find the  presentation helpful. We always look forward to hearing your thoughts and receiving your questions and/or suggestions about this post and other topics. Leave a comment in the box below or send us your feedback by email.

Until next time!
Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager


  1. Xerostomia is the subjective report of a dry mouth versus hypo salivation, which is objective findings of decreased saliva flow.
  2. Dry mouth increases with old age and is 30 to 40% prevalent.
  3. Saliva substitutes, such as sprays and rinses, may be helpful. Frequent hydration, frequent sips, a sugar free gum, and lemon drops may also offer relief.
  4. Dry mouth causes rampant caries; therefore, patients need increased fluoride.
  5. Dry mouth could also be caused by other systemic conditions. It is important to communicate with the patient's general physician when managing the dry mouth condition.
  6. Many patients may confuse dry mouth with Sjogren's Syndrome. It is imperative to collect a thorough and accurate medical, pharmacological and oral health histories in order to determine the cause(s) of dry mouth. These patients need quite a bit of support and education to get them through the diagnosis and management processes.

Read/download the transcript of the presentation (PDF)

Full Presentation (11.50")

1 Comment

  1. Dr Paul Belzycki December 10, 2019

    Dear Tom…thanks for efforts and the information.
    I have several patients that have undergone radiation to the head and neck and xerostomia is a significant problem. The dentists at Princess Margret Hospital have recommended BioXtra. My small sample of patients claim this product is superior to anything else they have tried. That includes other commercial products and home remedies such as coconut oil.

    Do you have any experience with this product?


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