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Inside Dentistry

May 2006, Volume 2, Issue 4
Published by AEGIS Communications


Oasis® Mouthwashand Mouth Spray for Dry Mouth

Xerostomia, or dry mouth, is a common and rapidly growing problem among dental patients today. According to some experts, dry mouth is reported by 17% to 29% of the population,1 and this figure increases to 40% of the population over the age of 55. The condition is easy to overlook during a dental exam, but if left untreated, it may eventually lead to tooth decay, gingivitis, and a variety of oral infections. In addition, dry mouth can have a significant impact on your patients’ quality of life. It is important to be vigilant in diagnosing dry mouth, and while it may not always be possible to eliminate the condition, you can help your patients manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Causes of Dry Mouth

Saliva is a vital component of such everyday processes as tasting, swallowing, speech, and digestion, and its absence is what leads to dry mouth.2 A reduction in salivary flow can occur for a number of reasons, but medication use is a key contributor. This is likely the reason that xerostomia rates increase with age. There are more than 400 medications that can adversely affect saliva production,3 including such common classes as antihistamines, antidepressants, and antihypertensives.1 Smoking, stress, and anxiety can contribute to dry mouth as well.1 Additionally, many cancer patients who receive radiation treatments to the head and neck suffer permanent loss of function in the salivary glands.1

Diagnosing Dry Mouth

Dry mouth sufferers may complain of symptoms such as trouble speaking or eating, discomfort wearing dentures, oral dryness, or a sensation of burning on the tongue.1,5,6 Signs of dry mouth may include diminished saliva, frothy saliva, angular cheilitis, and dental caries. 1,5,6 Frequently, however, patients do not mention the problem to their dentist, and visual signs are not always evident. It is therefore important for dentists to proactively question patients to identify sufferers and those at risk.

The following questions can help dentists identify dry mouth:

  1. Does your mouth feel dry or uncomfortable?1
  2. Do you feel as if food does not taste the same as it used to?5
  3. Do you need to sip water at night because you are thirsty?5
  4. Do you sometimes have troubleeating?5

In addition to asking these questions, dentists should review patients’ medical history and look for any medications that are known to cause dry mouth.

Managing Dry Mouth

Common self-treatment measures for xerostomia include sipping water and sucking on sugarless candy,1 but these methods only provide short-term relief. Farther-reaching lifestyle adjustments, such as abstaining from alcohol and avoiding spicy foods, are difficult for patients to maintain over time. An ideal xerostomia treatment must be both long-lasting and easy for patients to incorporate into their lives.

To meet the need for convenient and longer-lasting dry mouth relief, dental professionals can recommend patients use Oasis® Mouthwash (Figure 1) and Mouth Spray (Figure 2) (GlaxoSmithKline, Moon Township, PA), an oral moisturizing system that helps manage dry mouth symptoms for up to 2 hours.7,8 Oasis works to relieve dry mouth by hydrating the mouth, trapping in moisture, and helping prevent moisture loss. 7,8 The unique formulations of the mouthwash and spray combine polymers, humectants, and water to lubricate the mouth in a smooth, substantive-feeling coat of moisture.

The 2 formulations complement each another to fit easily into a patient’s lifestyle and existing oral care regimen. The 16 oz Oasis Mouthwash can be used in the morning and at bedtime to cleanse and refresh the mouth. The 1 oz Oasis Mouth Spray provides immediate moisturization and can be used throughout the day and night for discreet, convenient relief of dry mouth symptoms.

The unique, patent-pending polymer combination in Oasis is specially formulated to adhere to mucosa, hold onto water, and provide a smooth feel in the mouth while maintaining substantivity. Both the Mouthwash and Mouth Spray are safe for use with fluoride-treatment products and will not harm tooth enamel.7,8 Both products have a mild mint flavor, are sugar free, alcohol free, and do not contain known allergens.7,8

Oasis has been shown to be highly effective. In a clinical study of severe dry mouth sufferers, 100% of subjects reported experiencing refreshment and moisturization from both Oasis Mouth Spray and Mouthwash.9 Another study found that subjects preferred the flavor, sweetness, and coating properties of Oasis Mouth Spray to those of a competitor.8

Know what tolook for, and what to recommend

With today’s aging population and increased medication use, the prevalence of dry mouth is likely to grow. Dentists can help patients prevent more serious oral health problems by actively screening for dry mouth during routine dental exams. Patients will appreciate their dentists’ attentiveness to this bothersome condition, and they will value a treatment recommendation that is convenient, highly effective, and easy to fit into their lifestyles. Your recommendation of Oasis Mouthwash and Mouth Spray can help your patients find immediate and long-lasting relief for dry mouth.

REFERENCES
1. Guggenheimer J, Moore PA. Xerostomia: etiology, recognition and treatment. J Am Dent Assoc. 2003;134(1):61-69.

2. Wilkins, EM. Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist. 9th ed. Baltimore, Md: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2005:387-388.

3. Atkinson JC, Baum BJ. Salivary enhancement: current status and future therapies. J Dent Educ. 2001;65(10):1096-1101.

4. Garg AK, Malo M. Manifestations and treatment of xerostomia and associated oral effects secondary to head and neck radiation therapy. J Am Dent Assoc. 1997;128(8):1128-1133.

5. Sreebny LM, Schwartz SS. A reference guide to drugs and dry mouth—2nd edition. Gerodontology. 1997;14(1):33-47.

6. Cassolato SF, Turnbull RS. Xerostomia: clinical aspects and treatment. Gerodontology. 2003;20(2):64-77.

7. Data on file. Moon Township, Pa: GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare; study SDMA0417.

8. Data on file. Moon Township, Pa: GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare; study SDMA0411.

9. Data on file. Moon Township, Pa: GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare; study SDMA0403.

For More Information
GlaxoSmithKline
Phone: 1-800-652-5625
Web: www.dental-professional.com

Figure 1 Oasis Moisturizing Mouthwash. Figure 2 Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Spray.

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