Patient satisfaction and impact of salivary flow rate on effectiveness of xerostomia products

Published:September 07, 2022DOI:


      To determine the types of products used to treat dry mouth and their perceived effectiveness, the relationship between salivary function and xerostomia symptoms, and whether salivary function predicts response to management strategies.

      Study Design

      Cross-sectional study of 87 patients with dry mouth and documented unstimulated whole salivary (UWS) and stimulated whole salivary (SWS) flow rates. Participants completed a questionnaire assessing dry mouth complaints and symptoms and effectiveness of specific dry mouth products.


      Mean (SD) age was 61.7 (12.9) years including 78 (90%) females. 47 (54%) participants had Sjögren's disease. Oral dryness symptoms (0-10 scale) rated highest with a mean (SD) of 7.2 (2.17); other symptoms scored from 3.4 to 5.1. Lower levels of UWS and SWS were associated with worse dry mouth and difficulty speaking, while lower levels of SWS flow alone were associated with greater difficulty swallowing and a decline in taste. More than half of the participants (55%, n = 48) reported using ≥4 dry mouth products. Participants with normal SWS flow had significantly better responses to lozenges and prescription products.


      Patients with dry mouth and normal stimulated flow rates (i.e., residual salivary capacity) respond better to stimulatory products (parasympathomimetic and lozenges). Salivary flow rate assessments may help with recommendations of dry mouth products.
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