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Oral Biosciences & Medicine

Edited by Birgitte Nauntofte, Jesper Reibel. Peter A. Reichart, Jim Sciubba, and Joanna M. Zakrzewska

Official publication of the European Society for Oral Laser Applications

ISSN 1742-3287

Oral Biosciences & Medicine

Year 2004
Volume 1 , Issue 4

Pages: 283 - 289

The Burden of Xerostomia in Independent Community-dwelling Older Adults: Results from the Saliwell Project

Laxman Nayak / Andy Wolff / Stefano Fedele / Rafael Martin-Granizo / Peter A. Reichart / Lucio Lo Russo / Michele Mignogna / Frank Strietzel


The Saliwell Project was a European Research Consortium initiative aimed at developing an intraoral device to treat dry mouth by electroneurostimulation. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the burden of xerostomia in independent community-dwelling older adults using quantitative and qualitative analyses, as a preliminary phase of the project.

Materials and Methods:
A cross-sectional postal questionnaire survey was carried out involving 1,000 adults aged 60 years and above, randomly selected from the Birmingham University Thousand Elders database. The questionnaire format was designed at two focus groups’ meetings involving people with chronic xerostomia. Age, gender, chronic medical conditions and number of prescribed medications consumed daily, as well as dental, oral and general health status, Geriatric Oral Health Assessment Index (GOHAI), Xerostomia Inventory (XI), chewing capability and dry mouth questions were evaluated.

Seven hundred and seventy completed questionnaires were available for analyses. There were 274 males and 496 females (age range 60 to 85). The overall prevalence of xerostomia (subjective complaints of dry mouth) was 15.5%. A logistic regression analysis showed that the following factors significantly (P<0.05) contributed to xerostomia: gender; number of prescribed medications; complaints of anxiety, digestive, bladder and osteoporosis problems; oral health satisfaction level and perceived general health status.

The overall prevalence of xerostomia as well as its risk factors was in agreement with the previously published studies. Since chronic xerostomia is a distressing disorder with significant impact on oral health satisfaction and general health status, a comprehensive treatment of xerostomia should carefully consider patients’ perspectives and behaviours.

Key words:
Xerostomia, older adults, GOHAI, XI


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