Dry mouth. It’s listed as a possible side effect for hundreds of prescription and non-prescription medications, and can also be brought on by factors such as aging, tobacco use, cancer therapy, or autoimmune diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Sjogren’s Syndrome.
Also known as xerostomia, chronic dry mouth due to lack of saliva affects the quality of life for an estimated 20 million Americans. Yet over-the-counter mouthwashes are currently the only available treatment.
Dr. Robert Kelly of the UConn School of Dental Medicine has invented new technology to address the problem of chronic dry mouth. (Lanny Nagler for UConn)
Dr. Robert Kelly, a professor of reconstructive sciences in the School of Dental Medicine, and his colleagues have set out to develop and commercialize a technology that could help: an artificial salivary gland that, when surgically implanted into a patient’s mouth, mimics natural saliva production and relieves dryness.