Understanding Chronic Hyposalivation

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What is the purpose of this research?

For a complete overview of all three hyposalivation-related studies underway in the Relman Lab, please view the Projects Page. This page describes the rationale motivating the Understanding Chronic Hyposalivation Study.

The purpose of this study is to identify the features of bacterial communities that distinguish patients who have severe hyposalivation (flow rates < 0.1 ml/min) from the oral microbial communities of patients with moderate hyposalivation (flow rates between 0.1 and 0.2) to  normal salivation (flow rates > 0.3 ml/min). We believe this will allow us to define a salivary flow rate threshold below which patients are at an increased risk for dental disease. In addition, we hope to identify features that distinguish the chronic state of hyposalivation from health or dental disease.

How do we define chronic hyposalivation?

Chronic hyposalivation occurs when an individual experiences a reduced rate of salivary flow for a prolonged period of time. In this study, we are studying hyposalivation in individuals who have experienced hyposalivation for at least 3 months.

How will we study chronic hyposalivation?

sjogrens_body_sWe will study the oral microbial communities in volunteers with Sjögren’s Syndrome. Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder characterized by the destruction of the salivary and lacrimal glands, as well as a host of other extraglandular manifestations. For more detailed information about this syndrome, please visit the Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation Website.

We will sample the bacterial communities on each tooth, as well as the bacterial communities on several oral mucosal surfaces (e.g., tongue, inner cheeks, inner lips, etc.), in the mouths of adult volunteers who have Sjögren’s Syndrome.

We plan to compare the data generated over the course of this particular aim to the data we generate in the Understanding Oral Health and the Understanding Acute Hyposalivation research studies, so that we might better understand the pathogenesis of hyposalivation.

Why is this research important?

Delayed diagnosis of Sjögren’s Syndrome leads to otherwise preventable, hyposalivation-associated tooth loss. We believe our limited ability to manage caries and oral infections in patients with Sjögren’s Syndrome is related to the delay in diagnosing the condition. Most patients are diagnosed 6.5+ years after the onset of xerostomia and nine years after tooth loss has occurred. Our goal is to develop novel prognostics and therapeutics which can be used to diagnose the early onset of hyposalivation before caries occur. Ideally, this will help to abrogate some of the consequences of chronic hyposalivation.

What can I do to help?

stock-photo-66304589-group-of-people-pointing-at-the-cameraWe are looking to recruit up to 100 non-smoking volunteers who are over the age of 18 and who were diagnosed, at least 3 months ago, with Sjögren’s Syndrome according to the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria. To see the 2012 paper published by the Sjögren’s International Collaborative Clinical Alliance (SICCA), which describes the ACR criteria, please visit the Article in PubMed Central. 

If you are interested in participating in this research study, please take a close look at the risks and benefits of this research, as well as what we will ask you to do by clicking on Participate in Chronic Hyposalivation.

If you are a clinician, and you would be willing to send letters to your patients on our behalf, please email Diana Proctor at hyposalivation@gmail.com,  and she will send template forms to you. You may also call Diana at (650)-485-3793.

You can follow @brushwithucsf on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook. You can also spread the word to others who may be interested by tweeting or reblogging.

nidcr_logoThis not-for-profit research project is funded by a National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research grant (R01-DE23113-001) to Dr. David Relman.