Contact person:
Annica Almståhl
  • Sveriges Tandhygienistförening TePe Stiftelsen för Sjögrens syndrom
Responsible at MaU:
Annica Almståhl
Project members at MaU:
External project members:
  • Hulya Cevid-Aras Associate Prof – University of Gothenburg
  • Ulrica Almhöjd odont dr – University of Gothenburg
Collaborators :
  • Folktandvården Skåne
  • Skånes universitetssjukhus
Time frame:
01 September 2020 - 01 September 2025
Research subject:

About the project

Saliva plays an important role in maintaining oral health, quality of life and well-being. Saliva protects, moistens, and lubricates the oral mucosal membranes. Difficulties with eating, swallowing, and speaking, altered taste perception, a burning sensation in the mucosal membranes and an increased risk of oral diseases, especially caries, are complications, which patients suffering from dry mouth and/or a reduced salivary secretion can experience. About 20-25% of the adult population have dry mouth problems and for many of them, a reduced salivary secretion or hyposalivation can be ascertained. There is however no clear correlation between salivary secretion and dry mouth experience. This suggests that changes in saliva composition are of importance for the experience of dry mouth.


The overall aim of this PhD project is to examine salivary secretion rate and saliva characteristics and composition in relation to dry mouth and quality of life in individuals with hyposalivation and/or dry mouth and routines/clinical management for this patient category in dentistry.

  • Paper I is a questionnaire study aiming at elucidating general dentists’ and dental hygienists’ clinical management of individuals with dry mouth and awareness of saliva and dry mouth. We developed a digital questionnaire which was sent to dentists and dental hygienists working in Public Dental Care in 5 regions in Sweden (Skåne, Stockholm, Västra Götaland, Dalarna and Kalmar).
  • Paper II is an interview study aiming at describing dentists’ and dental hygienists’ experience of dealing with patients with dry mouth. We have included dentists and dental hygienists working both in private and Public Dental Care.
  • Paper III is a clinical study including three different groups: individuals with primary Sjögren’s syndrome, individuals who have undergone treatment for head and neck cancer and individuals with medicine-induced dry mouth. Age- and gender-matched controls with normal salivary secretion and no dry mouth problems are also included. A clinical examination is performed, the unstimulated and stimulated salivary secretion rates are determined and the individuals fill in questionnaires about dry mouth problems and quality of life. Salivary composition (total protein concentration, mucin MUC5B concentration) is analysed.