Purpose: The objective of the present study was to determine the prevalence of xerostomia (dry mouth sensation) and hyposalivation in elderly type-2 diabetic individuals and to establish whether such conditions might be associated with their socioeconomic status and/or medical and oral health conditions. Materials and Methods: The present cross-sectional study included 315 functionally independent elderly individuals, aged 60 years or above, residing in Natal, northeastern Brazil. A total of 52 subjects self-reported to be diabetic. The data on the subjects health condition were collected using a questionnaire, performing a physical examination and sialometry (unstimulated and stimulated whole saliva flow rates), and the variables were subjected to descriptive statistics, chi-square and Student t test (a = 0.05). Results: The prevalence of dry mouth was found to be 25%. Hyposalivation was found in 48% and 46% of the subjects in unstimulated and stimulated conditions, respectively. The only factor that was associated with xerostomia among the diabetics was workplace (P = 0.01), suggesting that elderly diabetics working at home might be less likely to have dry mouth than those working outside. No variable assessed was associated with hyposalivation, in either unstimulated or stimulated salivary flow. Conclusions: The prevalence of dry mouth and hyposalivation was high in elderly diabetics. Only at-home jobs were observed to be associated with dry mouth. There was no association between hyposalivation and the variables assessed, with regard to either unstimulated or stimulated saliva. Further studies, involving larger samples, are required to confirm the present findings.
Keywords: elderly, diabetes mellitus, salivation, xerostomia