Salivary gland dysfunction

Andrew Davies and Ilora Finlay

in Oral Care in Advanced Disease

Published in print February 2005 | ISBN: 9780192632432
Published online November 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191730375 | DOI:
Salivary gland dysfunction

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The salivary glands are divided into two: the major salivary glands and the minor salivary glands. Together with the parasympathetic nervous system, these glands play a crucial role in saliva secretion. While the glands and the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system are significant in the secretion of saliva, other factors also determine salivary flow (e.g. degree of hydration, body posture, exposure to light, circadian rhythms, consistency of food, and taste of food). This chapter focuses on salivary glands and the problems or the salivary gland dysfunctions associated with it. The chapter focuses on xerostomia, the excessive dryness of the mouth caused by the change in the composition of the saliva secreted. The prevalence, causes, clinical features and symptoms of xerostomia are discussed including the diagnosis needed to determine the existence of this salivary gland dysfunction. Moreover, the chapter discusses the treatment of xerostomia as well as the saliva substitutes and saliva stimulants that can improve saliva secretion flow rate in patients.

Keywords: salivary glands; saliva secretion; salivary flow; salivary gland dysfunctions; xerostomia; saliva substitutes; saliva stimulants

Chapter.  5606 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palliative Medicine

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