Prevalence of symptoms of dry mouth and their relationship to saliva production in community dwelling elderly: The SEE project

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Rheumatology






Dry mouth; Epidemiology; Saxon test; Sjogren's syndrome; Xerostomia


Objective. To estimate the prevalence of dry mouth symptoms and their correlation with saliva production in a population based sample of elderly people in the United States. Methods. Two dry mouth questions were administered to and a modified Saxon test was performed in participants in a population based prevalence survey conducted among 2520 noninstitutionalized community dwelling residents of Salisbury, Maryland, aged 65-84 years. Results. Seventeen percent reported having either dryness of mouth or waking at night feeling dryness in the mouth and needing to drink fluids often or all the time: 10.7% noted the former and 11.5% the latter. The prevalence of dry mouth symptoms increased with increasing age, was greater in women than men, and was greater in whites than blacks. The mean (SD) amount of saliva produc-tion was 2.38 (1.00) g/min: mean saliva production decreased with increasing age and was lower in women than men; no difference was noted by race. Persons with dry mouth symptom either often or all the time had significantly lower salivary production, even after adjustment for age and sex. Conclusion. Symptoms of dry mouth are common in the community dwelling elderly population, especially in white women, and correlate with decreased salivary production.

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