Dry Mouth and Sjogren’s Syndrome


Pathology: 

There are 2 distinct sub-types associated with a dry mouth. 

The first one may be described as age related producing generalised atrophy of the minor and major salivary glands. This is part of the normal ageing process and relates to the diminution of salivary production from the salivary acini in our glands in our mouth. The glands literally do not produce enough saliva and if one were to blame a particular organ system one would lean to suggesting a lack of hormones maintaining our homeostatic health. You may ask what hormones control saliva production and one would suggest growth hormone, glucagon, peptide hormones, anti-diuretic hormones, thyroxine etc.

These hormones turn on and turn off our salivary production. In some components there is a similarity to dry eyes, although the hormones are different but the effect and mechanism of action on our lacrimal (tears) glands and salivary glands are similar. Included within the above sub-type is xerostomia (dry mouth) due to radiation induced atrophy. This occurs from patients who have had radiation therapy to the head and neck from cancer. Oral cancer is a cancer usually requiring surgery and radiation treatment for control or cure. The radiation damages the healthy salivary gland and stops production of saliva. A dry mouth is one of the commonest complaints following necessary treatment. Interestingly the use of hyperbaric therapy in patients suffering from osteonecrosis of the jaws following radiation treatment is well established and is used in the treatment of our patients. 

The other sub-type is Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder which manifests in the triad of dry eyes, dry mouth and arthritis. Of course within this syndrome there may be mild, moderate or severe manifestations of the disease. Sjogren’s is generally seen more in females than males, 30-50 year old age group and can be quite debilitating. There is no known cure and the treatment is more symptomatic than curative. For instance if you have dry mouth then use a mouth wash, dry eyes  use eye drops etc. Sjogren’s is a progressive disease so as the salivary glands are progressively damaged by inflammatory disease then the production of saliva is slowly turned off. One would suggest that early treatment is better than late treatment and is aimed at trying to replace the damaged serous and mucous cells in our salivary glands.

STEM CELLS FOR DRY MOUTH AND SJOGREN’S SYNDROME

The very nature of the aetiology of a dry mouth dictates the appropriate treatment. For instance if the dry mouth is as a result of radiation treatment we would recommend injection of stem cells into the remaining major salivary glands combined with hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT) to try to encourage new cells to form and secrete saliva. 2 treatments minimum with at least 5 dives of HBOT. The use of stem cells injected directly into the salivary glands has now been advocated by major groups and publications from Harvard Medical School has demonstrated clear and encouraging results. 

Age related dry mouth (and dry eyes) is probably harder to get an effective solution and treatment plan since the whole underlying problem is one of lack of hormones encouraging the salivary glands to function. In this situation we would advocate intravenous infusion of stem cells rather than specific injections into the mouth although the use of IV stem cells is empirical and somewhat analogous to the use of IV stem cells in the anti-ageing process. Of course the use of combined hyperbaric therapy (HBOT) and stem cells is recommended to encourage the stem cells to differentiate better into salivary gland cells. The stem cells work best in an oxygen rich environment. 

SUMMARY

Dry mouth and Sjogren’s syndrome can be an irritating and debilitating side effect of ageing, radiation treatment or Sjogren’s syndrome. There are no easy surgical cures but some novel surgical procedures, The use of stem cells and hyperbaric therapy is a relatively low risk procedure that may or may not have results. Ideally for age related dry mouth and Sjogrens the earlier the stem cell treatment infusion and HBOT the better, multiple treatments may be required. For radiation induced injury the very nature of HBOT is beneficial while the stem cells are an added bonus to try to get new cells generating saliva. Professor Vickers and his team are ready to assist.

At Eurostemcell.life we pride ourselves on ensuring patients know the team diagnosing and conducting their stem cell therapy. Professor Russell Vickers is the lead specialist, working within a team of specialist surgeons and doctors.

Important questions that patients should ask of any treating clinicians and facility:

  • Are my treating doctors specialist surgeons/doctors and stem cell experts?
  • How many publications and research based studies have they published in peer reviewed journals?
  • Can they augment stem cell therapy with the known benefits of adjunctive therapy?

Eurostemcell.life is Europes premier stem cell organisation guided by evidence based medicine and clinical research.

Our founding director, Professor Russell Vickers PhD, MDsc, M Med, MA, FFPM (ANZCA) is an Australian and New Zealand board registered surgeon with over 100 publications, books and thousands of invited lectures and presentations on stem cells, pain, peptide synthesis and biochemistry. Professor Vickers is the leader of a family team of surgeons assisting him including Dr Peter Vickers, MD, FRCS (Edinburgh), FRACDS, Dr Richard Vickers, MD, FRCS (England, Glasgow, Ireland), FRACDS (OMS) and Dr Jessica Vickers, MD, MCOM, BA/BN as co-ordinator.

This medical summary has been written by Professor Vickers and his family team of specialist consultants.

It has been written by medically qualified writers.

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