Chances are you have patients who suffer from xerostomia or dry mouth. This chronic issue plagues 30% of the U.S. population, particularly the aging population. You’ve probably heard from patients in your office how they struggle with the negative effects of low saliva flow like halitosis, sleep disturbance, tooth decay and more.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple cure for this oral issue. Instead, oral moisturizers are the most commonly prescribed method for combatting dry mouth and its negative effects. However, according to a recent study several oral moisturizers sold in the U.S. are hiding a dirty dental secret—they have an acidic pH level that can actually do more harm than good to those using them.
For an oral moisturizer to be safe it should have a pH level of 6.7 or higher. But it’s been found that those with a level lower than 5.5 are dangerously acidic and can lead to tooth erosion or demineralization, which increases the risk of caries in people who use them. This essentially undoes any of the benefits of reducing dry mouth, and if patients aren’t aware of this they could unintentionally cause more damage to their teeth.
Here are just a few of the oral moisturizers with a pH lower than 5.5 commonly sold today:
- OraMoist® by DenTek™ (2.9pH)
- MedActive® Oral Relief Lozenges (3.2pH)
- Rite Aid® Dry Mouth Discs (5.1pH)
- Hager Pharma Dry Mouth Drops (4.4pH)
- CVS Pharmacy™ Dry Mouth Discs (5.3pH)
For someone suffering from dry mouth finding something to help provide relief doesn’t get much easier than stopping at your local drugstore or pharmacy, and that’s what makes this such a sneaky problem.
That’s why one dentist, Dr. Greg Grillo of Omak, Washington, is making it his mission to spread the word on these potentially harmful oral moisturizers. He wants to ensure patients suffering from dry mouth find actually beneficial treatments and to do so has started a petition aimed at effecting change in the oral moisturizer market—both at the manufacturing and distribution levels. He hopes that with enough support these products will be pulled from shelves until they are reformulated to a safer pH level.
To further support his mission and help patients suffering with this chronic condition find sustainable treatment, you can sign the petition here.
And in the meantime start a dialog with those suffering from dry mouth to recommend safe products to help them with their symptoms. They’ll be glad you did!