Dry Mouth

What is it?

Xerostomia refers to the subjective feeling of dryness in the mouth due to a change in saliva production. Saliva plays a vital role in maintaining oral health by lubricating oral tissues, aiding digestion and preventing tooth decay. Xerostomia can significantly affect a person's quality of life and oral health.


Xerostomia can be caused by several factors, including:

  1. Sjögren's syndrome: Sjögren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the salivary glands, leading to reduced saliva production. Dry mouth is a characteristic symptom of this disease.
  2. Medicines: Many medications, including antihistamines, antidepressants, antihypertensives and certain chemotherapy drugs, can cause xerostomia as a side effect.
  3. Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy to the head and neck region, often used to treat cancer, can damage the salivary glands and reduce saliva production.
  4. Other causes: Xerostomia can also be caused by factors such as hormonal changes (e.g. menopause), nerve damage, dehydration, smoking and certain systemic diseases.


To diagnose xerostomia and determine its underlying cause, your doctor may perform the following tests:

  1. Medical history and clinical examination: Your healthcare professional will review your medical history and perform a thorough examination of your mouth, salivary glands and general oral health. They will also ask about your symptoms and any medications you may be taking.
  2. Sialometry: Sialometry measures the amount of saliva produced over a specific period. This test involves collecting and measuring saliva from the major salivary glands by various methods using specialised collection devices.
  3. Minor salivary gland biopsy: In cases where Sjögren's syndrome is suspected, a minor salivary gland biopsy may be performed. This procedure involves removing a small sample of tissue from inside the lower lip for microscopic examination. It helps to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the gland involvement.


Treatment of xerostomia aims to relieve symptoms, promote saliva production and prevent complications. Treatment options may include:

  1. Lifestyle modifications: Simple measures such as maintaining good oral hygiene, drinking water frequently, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, using a humidifier and chewing sugar-free gum or candy can help relieve the symptoms of dry mouth.
  2. Medicines: Medications can help stimulate saliva production or provide symptomatic relief. Saliva substitutes or artificial saliva products, lozenges and prescription medicines such as pilocarpine or cevimelin may be recommended.
  3. Irrigation on steroids: In cases of Sjögren's syndrome or other inflammatory conditions affecting the salivary glands, steroid irrigation may be performed. This involves flushing the salivary ducts with a corticosteroid solution to reduce inflammation and improve saliva flow.
  4. Sialoendoscopy: Sialoendoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows visualisation and treatment of the salivary gland ducts. It can be used to remove obstructions, such as stones or stenosis, that may be causing reduced saliva flow.

Our team and expertise

At Cunha Coutinho Saúde, we have a team of experienced doctors who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of xerostomia. Our specialists will perform a comprehensive evaluation, including sialometry and other diagnostic tests, to identify the underlying cause of your dry mouth. We will then develop an individualised treatment plan to address your specific needs and improve your oral health and comfort.


We have agreements with several insurance companies and health plans to offer you the treatments you need at the most affordable prices.

Appointment Request

If you are experiencing symptoms of dry mouth, it is essential to seek proper evaluation and treatment. Our clinic offers comprehensive diagnostic services including sialometry, minor salivary gland biopsy and salivary gland ultrasound to accurately diagnose the cause of xerostomia. We provide a range of treatment options, including targeted medication, steroid irrigation and sialendoscopy, to relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Contact us today to book a consultation and take the first step towards effectively managing your xerostomia.

Booking an Appointment

At Clínica Cunha Coutinho, we are committed to providing our patients with the best possible care and ensuring that every appointment is a pleasant and positive experience. Fill in the form and take the first step towards a healthier and more beautiful smile.