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Taste function in xerostomia before and after treatment with a saliva substitute containing carboxymethylcellulose

Taste function in xerostomia before and after treatment with a saliva substitute containing carboxymethylcellulose

Journal of Otolaryngology 34(2): 116-120

The feeling of a dry mouth may affect individual dietary habits, nutritional status, oral hygiene, speech, and gustatory sensitivity. The present study aimed to specifically investigate gustatory function before and after saliva replacement therapy. Whole-mouth gustatory function was assessed in 25 patients suffering from xerostomia (6 male, 19 female; age range 42-82 years) before and after 4 to 6 weeks of saliva replacement therapy using a preparation containing carboxymethylcellulose. The results were compared with those from healthy controls matched for age and sex (6 male, 19 female; age range 42-82 years). Using a whole-mouth test, gustatory function was assessed for sucrose, citric acid, sodium chloride, and caffeine. All subjects detected the four taste qualities at the highest concentration. However, the patients with xerostomia had lower scores in the gustatory test compared with the healthy controls (p < .001). No correlation was found between gustatory scores and the duration or severity of the disorder. Therapy had no effect on measured gustatory function (p = .33); however, saliva replacement led to a significant improvement in other xerostomia-related symptoms (p < .001). This study confirms previous work indicating that xerostomia is accompanied by decreased gustatory sensitivity. Lubricants based on carboxymethylcellulose may have a positive effect on some of the symptoms of xerostomia. However, these "simple" lubricants based on carboxymethylcellulose have little or no effect on whole-mouth gustatory function.

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Accession: 050501712

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PMID: 16076410

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