A patient needs to ask his or her health care provider if any medication to be prescribed will cause dry mouth. Patients with persistent xerostomia need to practice good oral hygiene and visit a dentist on a regular basis; the lack of adequate saliva can cause severe dental decay. The salivary glands are very sensitive to radiation, so any patient scheduled for radiation therapy of the head and neck should discuss minimizing exposure of the salivary glands to radiation with the radiation therapy provider.
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Mai Tran, Rebecca J. Frey PhD, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit,