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Article: Volume 44 Number 11 Page 1057 - December 2017

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  Dent Update 2017; 44: 1057-1064

Paediatric dentistry:  Dry Mouth in Children: an Under-Reported Condition?

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Abstract: Dry mouth has a profound effect on the oral environment and alters susceptibility to oral disease. It is well-recognized in adults but affected children may not report symptoms even when severe oral dryness is present, potentially leading to late diagnosis and missed opportunities to prevent caries and other adverse sequelae. This article describes the causes and clinical signs of salivary hypofunction in children and young people and documents some associated emotional and social impacts on patients and their families. It is illustrated by four cases where the underlying diagnoses were 22q11 micro-deletion syndrome, congenital salivary gland aplasia, sarcoidosis and medication-induced.

Clinical relevance: An awareness of the possible presentations, underlying causes and impacts of dry mouth in children and young people will enable vigilant dental practitioners to diagnose the problem at an earlier stage, so that appropriate enhanced preventive care and additional support can be offered promptly.

Author notes: Monika M Ivanova, BDS, MJDF, MSc Clin Res, MPaedDent, Specialty Registrar in Paediatric Dentistry, Ann Wallace, BDS, MFDS, MClinDent, MPaedDent, Specialty Dentist in Paediatric Dentistry, Anne M Hegarty, MSc(OM), MBBS, MFD RCSI, FDS(OM) RCS, Consultant in Oral Medicine, Charles Clifford Dental Services and Honorary Clinical Lecturer, School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield and Jennifer C Harris, BDS, FDS RCS, MSc, FDS(Paed Dent), Consultant in Paediatric Dentistry, Community and Special Care Dentistry /Paediatric Dentistry, Charles Clifford Dental Services, Wellesley Road, Sheffield S10 2SZ and Honorary, Senior Clinical Lecturer, School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield, UK.

Objective: To recognize the signs and potential causes of dry mouth in children and young people.