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Purpose: Xerostomia is a symptom of reduced oral functioning and can cause dysphagia and worsen dental disease. This study sought to investigate the actual status of xerostomia in head and neck tumor patients and the beneficial effects of maxillofacial prosthesis use on xerostomia.
Materials and Methods: We conducted a questionnaire survey on xerostomia and measured resting salivary flow rate and oral mucosa moisture levels in 26 patients who had been treated for head and neck tumor.
Results: After treatment, 16 of the 26 patients (62%) reported experiencing dry mouth. Moreover, 12 patients (46%) reported a tendency for dry mouth compared with before tumor treatment, indicating they perceived worsening of xerostomia after treatment. Mean resting salivary flow rate measured by the cotton roll method was 0.183 ± 0.178 g over 30 seconds. Resting salivary flow rate was significantly lower in patients who reported always having dry mouth than in those who did not report experiencing dry mouth. Patients who had been treated for mandibular/lingual tumors had a significantly lower resting salivary flow rate than those who had been treated for maxillary tumors. Mean moisture content in the oral mucosa measured with an oral moisture checker was 27.6 ± 1.6. Those who reported always having dry mouth had significantly lower oral mucosa moisture content than those who reported having dry mouth sometimes/a little. Five patients reported that wearing a maxillofacial prosthesis alleviated dry mouth.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the maxillofacial prosthesis use can improve xerostomia after head and neck tumor treatment. (Int J Maxillofac Prosthetics 2021;4:9-17)