Anticholinergic Medication-related Dry Mouth and Impacts on
Salivary glands are among the most sensitive target organs of medications with anticholinergic (AC) properties, interrupting the neural stimulation of saliva secretion and reducing saliva flow. Hyposalivation results in dry mouth, leading to dental caries, intraoral infection, orofacial pain, problems with speaking and swallowing, and diminished oral health-related quality of life.

Investigators summarized the literature related to the mechanisms and properties of AC medications, anticholinergic side effects, and their impact on salivary function and management strategies to prevent oral health damage.

While a large number of studies reported on the frequencies of medication-induced dry mouth, they found very limited data on predicting individual susceptibility to AC medication-caused hyposalivation and no prospective clinical studies addressing this issue.

Dry mouth is most frequently caused by medications with AC properties, which interrupt the neural stimulation of saliva secretion. Interdisciplinary care should guide pharmacotherapeutics and dental interventions should aim at preventing AC salivary side effects and reducing the oral health burden from AC medication-induced dry mouth.