Wrigley sugarfree gum advertisement, |
British Journal of Psychiatry , May 1997
The facts about Xerostomia and how extra saliva can help.
How big a problem is Xerostomia? Over 10 million people in the UK suffer from a sensation of dry mouth (xerostomia), the subjective report of oral dryness. The use of medication is one of the most common causes of xerostomia. Over 400 commonly used drugs have been implicated in its aetiology. These include antidepressants, antihistamines, antihypertensives, antipsychotics, antiemetics, anticholinergics, decongestants, diuretics and other blood pressure drugs. Dry mouth is also associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erythematosis, Diabetes, Sjögren's Syndrome, Parkinson's Disease and HIV/AIDS.
Oral dryness and quality of life. Xerostomics commonly suffer from caries and oral soft tissue irritation, resulting in soreness and painful inflammation within the oral cavity. Dry mouth sufferers are more susceptible to bacteria and yeast infections (candidiasis). Diminished salivary flow results in problems with tasting, chewing and swallowing food. Mouth malodor (halitosis) is a common symptom. Speaking is also uncomfortable and inhibited. Individuals who suffer with dry mouth experience both psychological distress and social embarrassment.
Use of sugarfree gum to stimulate saliva. Saliva is a protectant against plaque acid attack, tooth demineralisation, periodontal gingival disease and oral infections. Recently, considerable success has been achieved in the use of sugarfree gum to relieve the symptoms of xerostomia by stimulating salivary flow. Research among xerostomia patients has shown chewing gum stimulates saliva by up to 7 times its normal flow rate relative to resting saliva, providing immediate relief. Several studies have also shown that frequent chewing of sugarfree gum has a residual effect on salivary flow even when gum is no longer chewed.
Sugarfree gum for symptomatic relief. Xerostomia is likely to become more widespread and take on increasing significance as our population becomes older and more reliant on medications. Sugarfree gum provides simple and effective relief from this common and often debilitating condition.
The Wrigley Company Limited