Can You Service Connect Dry Mouth?
While you can’t directly service connect dry mouth, you can be service-connected for the conditions dry mouth causes if it is found to be due to an already service-connected condition. If that’s a little confusing, you are not alone. Read on to understand the VA’s stance on dry mouth.
What is Psychotropic-induced Dry Mouth?
Xerostomia is a form of dry mouth caused by reduced or absent saliva. While not a disease itself, the lack of saliva can result in diseases or conditions that can be serious; affecting our nutrition, our oral health, and our overall health. Saliva contains proteins that start the digestive process, works as a cleansing agent, removes food debris from our oral cavity and re-mineralizes the mucus membranes inside our mouth.
What Conditions are Related to Dry Mouth?
Most common issues related to dry mouth are taste disorders, increased dental problems such as gum deterioration and cavities (periodontal diseases); painful tongue; increased thirst; parotid gland enlargement; inflammation and fissuring of the lips, oral candidiasis (yeast infections); inflammation and ulcers of the tongue and mucus membranes inside the mouth; and cracking, and fissuring of the mucus membranes.
How is Dry Mouth Related to Psychiatric Conditions?
Many psychotropic medications can result in dry mouth. In patients who take antipsychotics such as Seroquel, Risperdal, and Stelazine and antidepressants such as Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Luvox, and Zoloft; 35-46% of patients report dry mouth. Not everyone will have problems, sometimes just drinking more, and good oral hygiene will take care of the problem, but if it causes conditions, check about filing a secondary claim.
Is There Anything Else Dry Mouth is Related To?
Medication is the number one cause of xerostomia. However, other medical conditions can cause dry mouth that many people would not even consider and if a veteran is service-connected for the condition and is experiencing increased oral health problems, there may be a secondary condition that can be service-connected. Some of these conditions related to dry mouth include:
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Sarcoidosis and amyloidosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Systemic lupus
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Thyroid dysfunctions
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Trauma to head or neck
Filing a Claim to Service Connect Dry Mouth
You can’t actually be service-connected for dry mouth, however, you can be service-connected for the conditions it causes if it is found to be due to an already service-connected condition. In order to file a claim for a secondary condition, a veteran must have:
- A service-connected condition that can cause or takes medication for a service-connected condition that can cause dry mouth;
- A diagnosed oral condition that considered ratable by the VA such as:
- Loss of teeth
- Tumors, ulcers, or cancers of the mouth
- Pain conditions
- Others rated on a case by case basis such as taste disorders, gland issues, and fissuring/cracking issues
- A link between the dry mouth and the oral conditions such as it being a side effect of a medication or a secondary condition of another illness.