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Dryness of the mouth (xerostomia) may be transient, as in acute anxiety or severe dehydration. Chronic conditions present more of a problem and can be divided into two distinct groups. First there are disorders of function where the glands are normal but salivary flow is reduced. This occurs in chronic anxiety states and treatment with atropine-like drugs. The second group consists of disorders of the salivary glands themselves, of which the most important is Sjögren’s syndrome; less often the salivary glands are involved by sarcoid, or are damaged as a result of irradiation of the head and neck.

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