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In other news…


We had an excellent question by a reader on last week’s post Q & A With Dr. Kim Kutsch: Saliva and Brushing


Q: What is the evidence that there is a significant reduction in salivary flow in older adults?

A: Here is one source to consider

PUBMED Format: Abstract

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Oct;63(10):2142-51. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13652. Epub 2015 Oct 12.
Meta-Analysis of Salivary Flow Rates in Young and Older Adults.
Affoo RH1, Foley N2, Garrick R3, Siqueira WL4, Martin RE1,5,6,7.
Author information

To determine whether salivary flow decreases as a function of aging.


Literature review.

Individuals aged 18 and older reported to be free of major systemic disease.

Relevant studies were identified through a literature search of several databases, from their inception to June 2013. Studies were included if saliva had been collected on at least one occasion in subjects aged 18 and older and if the data were presented in a manner that enabled comparisons of younger and older participants. Differences in salivary flow rates between age groups were calculated for each salivary source and condition and reported as standardized mean differences (SMDs), standard errors (SEs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). The results were pooled using a random effects model. A separate analysis examining medication use was also conducted.

Forty-seven studies were included. Whole (SMD = 0.551, SE = 0.056, 95% CI = 0.423-0.678, P < .001) and submandibular and sublingual (SMSL) (SMD = 0.582, SE = 0.123, 95% CI = 0.341-0.823, P < .001) salivary flow rates were reduced significantly in older participants and in unstimulated and stimulated conditions. In contrast, parotid and minor gland salivary flow rates were not significantly reduced with increasing age. Additionally, unstimulated and stimulated SMSL, and unstimulated whole salivary flow rates were significantly lower in older adults, regardless of medication usage.

The aging process is associated with reduced salivary flow in a salivary-gland-specific manner; this reduction in salivary flow cannot be explained on the basis of medications. These findings have important clinical implications for maintaining optimal oral health in older adults.


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Category: Education