The purpose of this study was to explore the association of the clinical oral dryness score (CODS) with salivary flow rates, xerostomia inventory (XI), and bother index (BI). 147 patients were screened using CODS, which determined 10 features of oral dryness. Each feature contributed 1 point, and the total score varied from 0 to 10. Unstimulated (UWS), chewing-stimulated (CH-SWS) and acid-stimulated (A-SWS) whole salivary flows and the XI and BI were measured. Associations were explored with a bootstrapped Spearman rank correlation test (1000 × bootstrapping). Based on unstimulated salivary flow, 55 patients were classified as hyposalivators, 31 as low salivators, 48 as normosalivators and 13 as high salivators. Median CODS in the hyposalivation group was 5 (IQR 3–6) compared with 3 (IQR 2–5) in the low salivation group, 2 (IQR 1–4) in the normal salivation group and 2 (IQR 1–2.5) in the high salivation group. Significant associations between CODS and the other parameters were only found in the hyposalivation group between CODS and UWS (ρ(53) = − 0.513; p < 0.01), between CODS and CH-SWS (ρ(53) = − 0.453; p < 0.01), between CODS and A-SWS (ρ(53) = − 0.500; p < 0.01), CODS and XI (ρ(53) = 0.343; p < 0.001) and between CODS and BI (ρ(53) = 0.375; p = 0.01). In patients with hyposalivation, CODS is associated with unstimulated and stimulated salivary flow and XI and BI. CODS alone or a combination of CODS with a subjective measure, such as the XI or BI, could be recommended during routine clinical assessment to detect hyposalivation.