The protective effects of saliva are reviewed in Chapter 4: Caries > Factors in Development: Saliva
. For the purpose of this section, it is important to remember that decreased saliva production is a risk factor for the development of caries.
Causes of limited saliva production include systemic diseases (eg, Sjogren’s, other autoimmune disorders) and salivary gland damage (eg, surgery, radiation therapy). However, decreased saliva production is most commonly a side effect of medications. Medications responsible for this include Glycopyrrolate and other anticholinergics, as well as some medications that treat depression, anxiety, seizures, and hypertension.
For this reason, physicians should choose medications carefully, and when possible, avoid medications with this side effect. When a child is at risk or is known to have
Abnormal dryness of the mouth due to insufficient saliva production.
, they should be more closely screened for caries, with early referral to a dentist.