Dry mouth: concerns to consider
Many seniors suffer from dryness in the mouth (xerostomia). The application of fluoride-containing products is important for protection against caries.
Interview with Dr Gabriele David, Head of Department Professional Care at Ivoclar Vivadent
Dr David, what is dryness in the mouth?
Dr Gabriele David: From the age of 60, many people begin to be affected by dryness in the mouth. The technical term for dry mouth is xerostomia. Dryness in the mouth means: the flow of saliva is reduced.
What causes dryness in the mouth?
Dr Gabriele David: Xerostomia is frequently a side effect of certain medications. Dry mouth is particularly common among older adults because of general illnesses. Many common medications such as analgesics, antihistamines, antihypertensives, antidepressants and diuretics may cause a decrease in salivary flow. This effect is exacerbated if several preparations that cause dry mouth are taken in combination.
What are the consequences of dryness in the mouth?
Dr Gabriele David: Dry mouth can have an adverse effect on general health and well-being. The oral flora changes. The risk for dental caries and erosions increases considerably.
What can dentists and their teams do to help?
Dr Gabriele David: Fluoridation is clearly one of the recommended basic measures to protect the teeth. Various delivery forms are available for this.
What are the delivery forms?
Dr Gabriele David: Fluoride-containing protective varnishes for professional application have proven to be effective. A flowable formulation such as Fluor Protector S wets complex surface structures and soaks into hidden risk areas. This ensures that the root cementum and porous dentin of exposed cervicals are given the protection they need.
The fluoride source is ammonium fluoride with a concentration of 7700ppm fluoride completely dissolved in the solution. This means that the varnish is ready for use straightaway. Once applied, the fluorides are immediately released and an effective supply to the tooth structure is ensured.
It is advisable to use a fluoride gel at home in addition to toothpaste. The local application allows the ingredients to take effect directly where they are needed.
Have you got any other tips for users?
Dr Gabriele David: Xerostomia patients require special oral and dental care products that are suited for their particular oral situation. Fluor Protector Gel is for instance such a product. In addition to calcium and phosphate, the gel contains fluoride in a concentration of 1450 ppm.
It is suitable for daily dental hygiene and can be used instead of toothpaste. Xylitol hampers the metabolism of cariogenic bacteria. Provitamin D-panthenol nourishes and soothes the dry gums and stressed oral mucosa. The gel features a natural pH value, which is particularly beneficial if exposed cervicals are present. In addition, it is free of abrasives and is therefore gentle to the less resistant root cementum and susceptible dentin. As the special care gel does not foam much during brushing, it will be easy to follow the advice to “only spit out, do not rinse“. This way, the ingredients can take full effect. It should also be noted that the mild flavour leaves patients with a pleasant feeling in the mouth. This is an important aspect, particularly if the oral mucosa is tender, and may increase the willingness to comply with the treatment.
Info box: How to recognize dryness in the mouth!
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This video shows you how to apply Fluor Protector S correctly.
The availability of certain products may vary from country to country.