Abstract

Xerostomia is the perception of oral dryness. In addition to discomfort, xerostomia can lead to several long-term medical complications within the oral cavity and gastrointestinal system. Treatment options are limited and are either not effective or not convenient for all people with xerostomia. In this study, we designed, tested, and further developed an oral mouth guard insert with electrodes for stimulating the lingual nerve on the medial side of the lower jawbone. Saliva production, collected in the context of randomized on/off testing with a subject blinded to the test condition, resulted in significantly more saliva output during and following lingual stimulation (2.07 g over one minute) versus off stimulation control conditions (1.58 g also over one minute) (two-sample t-test, p=0.001). The proof-of-concept prototype is poised for further refinement with system integration and improvement in packaging. Xerostomia is a common medical condition, and non-implantable devices that can increase salivation on-demand hold significant promise for treating xerostomia in the broader public.

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