Full course description
Dry mouth is a pervasive oral health problem, with up to 50% of the population experiencing this condition. Factors such as age, gender, and medications play significant roles in correctly diagnosing this presentation. The subjective feeling of dry mouth is often referred to as xerostomia but may be more correctly diagnosed as salivary gland dysfunction: a reduced volume of saliva secretion or a change in salivary composition.
Symptoms of dry mouth may range from mild oral discomfort to significant oral disease that can negatively impact patients’ health, dietary intake, and quality of life. Despite the significant prevalence of xerostomia in the general population, however, no standard treatment guidelines exist. Successful treatments are typically individualized for the specific patient and should be targeted at the underlying pathophysiology of the disease. For these reasons, an accurate diagnosis of xerostomia is paramount so that patients may be offered the best treatment possible, and this treatment often involves a multimodal approach.
The educational objectives
At the end of this program, participants will be able to:
1) Explain why xerostomia is not simply a problem of "dry mouth", and describe the underlying pathophysiology
2) Identify commonly used medications associated with causing xerostomia
3) Discuss current treatment strategies to include an individualized, yet multimodal and evidence-based approach to success
4) Describe a systematic approach to xerostomia management that includes reviewing systemic conditions and medication use and emphasizes patient education, lifestyle modifications, and palliative and preventive measures
5) Recognize some of the most common disease-induced causes of xerostomia