Dry Mouth, Dentures And a Little Potpourri
By Dr. Max Zaslavsky
So let me say I do not make any money, in the fact that I am going to write a blog post on how much I am in love with Biotene products. If Biotene was a woman, I would want to date it and have a baby with it. That’s how great this product is when it comes to helping my patients with dry mouth. Did I get your attention?
Dry mouth happens for a variety of reasons. Medications appear to be the most common. The population as a whole is getting older, living longer, and we are all taking more often than not, more than one medication. Meds for such ailments as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cholesterol, etc. can all lead to a dryer mouth. Radiation to the face for a variety of cancers will demolish salivary glands that more often than not will never recover. There are others but these are the most common things we see in my office.
A lack of salivary flow creates a loss of a protection to prevent cavities from occurring. Loss of saliva can lead to an increased amount of cavities and a greater potential for tooth loss. In the last 3 years, I can think of more than 5 patients who have gotten radiation to the face and have suffered devastating tooth loss. They have gone from being orally healthy, to needing extensive amount of restorative dentistry.
This is where Biotene comes in. Biotene has many forms: gum, mouth rinse, toothpaste and gel. I am sure I am missing one in there, but the goal is all the same- to recreate your saliva with enzymes that prevent you from losing your teeth. Furthermore, the rinse can also prevent thrush and several infections that are a common side effect with various dry mouth afflictions. In our office, we give it out to at least 2 patients daily.
But here’s the potpourri, and it’s ALL about the gel… Many patients with loose dentures tend to use Fixodent or Poli Grip when they don’t need to. A dry mouth will inhibit a proper suction and a denture will drop. Furthermore, a dry mouth and a denture adhesive can be painful. It’s sort of like you are ripping a band off your body on a daily basis. It can create sores, and make a denture uncomfortable. We have successfully been able to identify those patients who suffer from dry mouth, and have been able to convert them from using an adhesive to simply applying the Biotene Gel to the inside part of the denture. Our patients have LOVED this change. No sores, more comfort and more importantly a great suction with that adhesive taste whenever they eat.
Potpouri Numero Dos- Cpap machines, dry mouth and Biotene Gel (I told you I love the gel):
Patients who use a cpap machine tend to have severe dry mouth. I had one patient who told me his mouth felt like the Sahara Desert and would wake up every few hours from severe dry mouth. This form of dry mouth tends to create cavities on the back of the upper front teeth. So here’s a hint- put Biotene gel on the back of your palate prior to applying the cpap machine. It will help. It will help prevent decay and you’ll have a better night’s sleep.
Lastly, if you have dry mouth- get your teeth cleaned every 3 months. An ounce of prevention will help you in keeping your teeth long term.