Preferences of Sjögren’s syndrome patients regarding potential new saliva substitutes

Zainab Assy, Floris J. Bikker, Esra Mashhour, Mina Asadi, Henk S. Brand

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Objectives: Sjögren’s syndrome (SS) patients should be involved in the development of new saliva substitutes at an early stage. The purpose of the current study was to explore the preferences of these patients regarding various product characteristics of potential new saliva substitutes. Material and method: A questionnaire was distributed among SS patients. They could anonymously indicate their preferences for saliva substitute characteristics using 5-point Likert scales. Results: Fifty-nine SS patients filled in the questionnaire. According to their opinion, the most ideal saliva substitute has a thin-watery consistency with a neutral flavour that should be applied as a spray. Patients demand a prolonged alleviation of dry mouth complaints and neutralization of harmful bacteria. The patients mainly object against the presence of artificial sweeteners and alcohol in saliva substitutes, but have limited objections against the presence of vegetable-based ingredients and natural enzymes. Major objections were against the potential side effects “bitter taste” and “discoloration of teeth”. Age and severity of xerostomia affected desire of flavours. Younger patients preferred menthol flavour, while respondents with severe xerostomia preferred the use of “neutral flavours” significantly more. Conclusion: The most ideal saliva substitute has thin-watery consistency in spray form with a neutral flavour and providing long alleviation of dry mouth complaints. Besides, it should not contain artificial sweeteners or alcohol, and should not have a bitter taste or cause discoloration of the teeth. Clinical relevance: Investigating the opinion of SS patients provides tailoured insights into their preference, which may contribute to the development of more effective saliva substitutes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6245-6252
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Oral Investigations
Issue number10
Early online date11 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Dry mouth
  • Ingredients
  • Patient preferences
  • Saliva substitutes
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Xerostomia

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