Disclosure: We value transparency at Today’s RDH. This article is sponsored content from OraCare as part of our sponsored partner program.
According to Web MD, “we all need saliva to moisten and cleanse our mouths and digest food. Saliva also prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth. When we don’t produce enough saliva, our mouth gets dry and uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments for dry mouth.”
Causes of dry mouth include the side effects of many medications. Drugs for the treatment of depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, and colds such as antihistamines and decongestants can cause dry mouth. Other drugs for the treatment of obesity, epilepsy, acne, hypertension, diarrhea, nausea, psychotic disorders, urinary incontinence, asthma, bronchodilators, Parkinson’s disease as-well-as the side effects of muscle relaxers and sedatives can also cause xerostomia or dry mouth.
Medical diseases and infections can cause dry mouth, including Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, anemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and mumps can cause dry mouth. The side effects of the treatment of medical conditions that can damage salivary glands can cause dry mouth. For example, treatments for cancer that reduce gland output include radiation and chemotherapy. Head and neck nerve damage can result in dry mouth.
Dehydration that results from fever, excessive exercise, diarrhea, blood loss, burns, smoking, chewing tobacco, mouth breathing due to blocked nasal passages, excess alcohol use and vomiting are also causes.
As was mentioned before, dry mouth causes overgrowth of bacteria and fungi in the mouth. The most common fungi infection is the yeast called Candida albicans, however, the reverse is also true. If a person contracts an infection in which there is an overgrowth of oral yeast or bacteria from conditions such as AIDS or diabetes and any of the other reasons listed above, those overgrowths can make the mouth feel dry due to the thickness of the saliva with the microbial load.
Traditionally rinses such as artificial saliva or rinses that replace some of the good enzymes in the mouth are used to help relieve those dry mouth issues, however, they do not always help remove the overgrowth of these microbes that are thickening the saliva and making the pasty dry feeling. For this reason, they are often less effective that would be desired.
Anecdotally, OraCare has been receiving numerous reports that it is helping with xerostomia. Two in-vitro university studies have confirmed that OraCare kills all varieties of bacteria they tested that contribute to gum disease and dry mouth. Additionally, OraCare was found to be one of the most effective killers of oral yeasts ever tested. Oral yeasts have extension growths on them called hyphae that thicken the saliva more than almost any other pathogen. Candida primarily resides on the buccal mucosa and is present in all people. It is generally kept in check by the balance of bacteria and enzymes with their immunoglobulins in our saliva. If that balance of bacteria or slowed salivary output is disrupted, Candida overgrows. It is why we believe cancer centers are now requesting our rinse to help relieve symptoms of dry mouth and mucositis in their patients.
We believe OraCare is helping so many people because of its ability to kill oral yeasts for these patients. Dentist Select is also planning on studies to see if the rinse promotes the body’s local immune response. With the possible exception of patients with a deficiency of glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase, chlorine dioxide has been reported to create a transient free radical burst that is followed by a cell response that increases the production of the antioxidant glutathione. This antioxidant would have a tendency to suppress inflammatory responses leading to malfunction of minor salivary glands producing more mucins and less serous fluids. Mucins are thicker secretions than are serous secretions. The over production of MUC1 andMUC4 mucins are related to a number of disease processes. Chlorine dioxide suppression of inflammation would also reduce the recruitment of inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 6 and its associated inflammatory cytokine cousins. Logically, the reduction of yeasts and bacteria alone, with their production of toxins called volatile organic (VOC) compounds, would reduce immune response and immune over-response. We do know that these toxins also cause an inflammatory response and OraCare was shown to be far-and-away the most powerful oral mouth rinse oxidizer of these toxins in another university study.
If bacteria and yeasts are reduced by the use of OraCare, then the remaining reduced output of saliva would more likely have a better chance to control the smaller remaining pathogens with the reduced enzymes and immunoglobulins it has available.
There most likely are many other ways that OraCare can help with dry mouth. As studies continue to be done on how it works, we will continue to update you on that progress.