How does COVID-19 affect salivary flow and xerostomia?

Oct. 5, 2020
Dr. Scott Froum looks at xerostomia and its causes. While there is much study to be done on the effect COVID-19 has on salivary flow, stress and anxiety can precipitate issues with dry mouth.
Scott Froum, DDS, Editorial Director

The effects of COVID-19 on salivary flow and xerostomia (dry mouth) have yet to be fully studied. Typical causes of dry mouth can include mouth breathing, medications, autoimmune diseases, chemotherapy, nerve injury, and stress/anxiety. One study1 looked at the effect of stress, anxiety, and depression on unstimulated salivary flow, and it found a 40% drop in flow rates when compared to patients without these factors.

COVID-19 has been a tremendous source of depression, anxiety, fear, and stress among the population as a whole. Combined with mouth breathing from mask use, COVID-19’s impact on dry mouth can be substantial. Having the ability to objectively diagnose dry mouth is important for the dental professional to provide the most effective treatment to the patient.

In this video, Perio-Implant Advisory’s Editorial Director Scott Froum, DDS, demonstrates the BokaFlo salivary flow measuring device from Boka Sciences that is more accurate and expedient than traditional spit-cup flow measuring methods.

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Perio-Implant Advisory, a newsletter for dentists and hygienists that focuses on periodontal- and implant-related issues. Perio-Implant Advisory is part of the Dental Economics and DentistryIQ network. To read more articles, visit and subscribe at this link.


  1. Gholami N, Sabzvari BH, Razzaghi A, Salah S. Effect of stress, anxiety and depression on unstimulated salivary flow rate and xerostomia. J Dent Res Dent Clin Dent Prospects. 2017;11(4):247-252.
Scott Froum, DDS, a graduate of the State University of New York, Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine, is a periodontist in private practice at 1110 2nd Avenue, Suite 305, New York City, New York. He is the editorial director of Perio-Implant Advisory and serves on the editorial advisory board of Dental Economics. Dr. Froum, a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology, is a clinical associate professor at SUNY Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine in the Department of Periodontology. He serves on the board of editorial consultants for the Academy of Osseointegration's Academy News. Contact him through his website at drscottfroum.comor (212) 751-8530.