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Open Access Publications from the University of California

An imaging-based approach to the evaluation of xerostomia.

  • Author(s): Duong, Steven
  • Youssef, Joseph
  • Pimenta, Paloma
  • Aguigam, Holly
  • Zhang, Jun
  • Calantog, Alden
  • Pilch, Shira
  • Masters, James G
  • Wilder-Smith, Petra
  • et al.

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Background and objective

Goal was to evaluate the potential of in vivo optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging to determine the response of patients with xerostomia to a dry mouth toothpaste versus fluoride toothpaste placebo.

Study design/materials and methods

Ten subjects with xerostomia participated in this double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled study. After examination and OCT imaging, subjects used the first product for 15 days, followed by a 7-day washout period, and then they used the second product for 15 days. Data were acquired at 5-day intervals, also before and after the washout.


Visual examination and tongue blade adhesion test did not reflect response to the product. Two imaging-based markers were identified: (i) In OCT images, epithelial thickness increased significantly (P < 0.05) after use of the dry mouth toothpaste, but did not change significantly (P > 0.05) after the use of a fluoride toothpaste and (2) Optical backscattering data showed progressive characteristic changes from baseline with use of the active product.


In this pilot study using in vivo OCT imaging, it was possible to detect and measure oral epithelial response to the dry mouth product versus placebo in patients with xerostomia.

Clinical implications

This approach may permit site-specific assessment of xerostomia, individualized treatment planning and monitoring, and sequential mucosal mapping in patients with dry mouth.

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