Salivary Gland Hypofunction and/or Xerostomia

Publication Date: July 17, 2021

Background

Background

  • Saliva plays a crucial role in the maintenance of tooth integrity, food and bacterial clearance, mechanical cleansing of the oral cavity, and oral comfort. Saliva also provides antimicrobial activity preventing oral infections and plays an important role in upper gastrointestinal functions including taste perception, formation of food bolus, facilitation of mastication, swallowing and speech, as well as lubrication of oropharyngeal and upper esophageal mucosa. Thus, salivary gland hypofunction is associated with an increased risk for oral infections, carious destruction of teeth, dysgeusia, oral mucosal discomfort, and a worsened nutritional state.
  • Cancer patients may experience salivary gland hypofunction and xerostomia as a consequence of cancer therapy. This is most notable in head and neck cancer patients treated with external beam radiation therapy. In this setting, salivary gland hypofunction and xerostomia may be severe and permanent. This results in a profound, potentially life-long adverse impact on oral health and oral health-related quality of life. While radioactive iodine, total body irradiation, and high-dose chemotherapy with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation as well as moderate-dose chemotherapy for solid tumors may also cause salivary gland hypofunction, in these settings function loss and associated symptoms tend to be less severe and often less long-lasting.

Prevention

...eventio...

...sity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) sho...


...modalities that limit cumulative dose to...


...may be offered during radiation therapy for...


...emic administration of the sialagog...


...or other antioxidants should not be used to re...


...ains insufficient for a recommendation...


Evidence remains insufficient for a recommendat...


...ns insufficient for a recommendation for or again...


Management

...anagemen...

...cosal lubricants/saliva substitutes (agents d...


...modalities that limit cumulative dose to...


...pilocarpine, and cevimeline where available,...


...be offered post-radiation therapy in head and...


...lectrostimulation or acupuncture-like...


...ence remains insufficient for a recommend...


Table 1. Definitions Related to Dysfunction of the Salivary Glands

...nitions Related to Dysfunction of th...