Monday, July 8, 2013
I was recently asked by a representative of Nuvora, Inc. if I would be willing to write a blog entry about dry mouth and also review one of their products. Just for the record, I have not been financially compensated (unfortunately!) in any way. This is an unbiased review. What is interesting is that in three years of writing this blog, I have never written about my Sjögren's related dry mouth. I am not sure exactly the reason for that except that maybe compared to the rest of my autoimmune symptoms, especially the ones that affect various organs, it doesn't seem like as much of a big deal.
But dry mouth is a big deal. The fact of the matter is that my dry mouth was not one of my first symptoms and it took some time to develop but when it did, it came on with a vengeance. I am very lucky to have inherited my dad's excellent teeth and to date, I think I may have developed only one cavity since I started with the Sjögren's symptoms in early 2008. I do work very hard at keeping it this way and I have an oral care regime that if the average person knew about it, their jaw would drop. That being said, a lot of us with Sjögren's have meticulous oral care and yet we still run into terrible complications at the dentist. Dry mouth is not just a comfort issue, it is a quality of life issue.
Dry mouth is experienced by twenty-five percent of people in the United States on a regular basis. It occurs more frequently in women and the incidence of it increases with age. The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia and xerostomia is caused by a lack of saliva production. The problem is that this saliva is extremely important as its function is important in helping us to eat and swallow. Saliva also controls bacteria which kills germs. The result of not enough saliva include tooth decay, gingivitis, and other oral infections.
Dry mouth can be caused by many factors including medical conditions and as a side effect from certain medications. The medications that can cause dry mouth include antacids, decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants and diuretics. The medical conditions that cause dry mouth include lupus and Sjögren's, as well as many other autoimmune disorders. Also, people with diabetes, AIDS, and those undergoing radiation treatment for head and neck cancers can be affected as well.
Proper dental hygiene is critical for those of us with dry mouth. Brushing two to three times a day, regular flossing, the use of a water pic, and fluoride treatments are some good measures we can employ to battle dry mouth. It is also advisable to avoid coffee, tobacco, and mouthwash containing alcohol as all of these can increase mouth dryness. But for many people, these measure are not enough. We can suck on all the sugar-free hard candy and chew all the sugar-free chewing gum in the world to no avail.
Since I started battling dry mouth, I have been through many products on the market: all of the Biotene products, OraMoist, and XyliMelts. I do use Biotene toothpaste in the morning (I use a prescription fluoride toothpaste at night) as well as their mouthwash with some good results. OraMoist patches were a bad experiment for me and XyliMelts I currently use on many nights and they are helpful.
The product I was asked to review is called Salese. According to Bolko Stolberg, Executive Vice President of Nuvora, Inc., Salese is "a fast acting and long-lasting solution for people with dry mouth whether you get occasional dry mouth or whether it is something you deal with on a regular basis. Our unique delivery system provides lasting moisture for an hour or longer while also helping to improve the overall health of your mouth, leaving you with fresh breath and a clean feel." The Salese lozenge uses a proprietary Sustained Release technology which is supposed to last anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours. This technology is designed to achieve unprecedented prolonged activity and efficacy for ingredients delivered in the oral cavity.
OK, that's great but a lot of products advertised towards people with dry mouth make claims that just don't hold up when you actually use the product. I won't name any names. The folks at Nuvora, Inc. sent me two boxes of samples. Each box contains twelve lozenges. I obviously didn't pay for them but according to Walgreen and Amazon.com, the price is $6.99 for the box of twelve.
I went to try one and then I realized I had a huge problem: they sent me a box of peppermint and a box of wintergreen. Anybody who knows me well knows that I have a HUGE aversion to anything with mint in it, except for those girl scout cookies. And I am not kidding. I don't know where this aversion came from but I do not even use mint toothpaste and I have never chewed minty like gum, and that includes peppermint and wintergreen.
However I decided to go for it and I tried the peppermint lozenge twice. I will admit, the taste wasn't as bad as I thought and my guess is that if you like mint, you will love these. The texture of the lozenge is very sponge-like, almost like a gummy bear. Unlike XyliMelts, they do not adhere to the roof of your mouth or gum line and as a singer, that is a feature I miss with the Salese.
I got through forty-five minutes using the lozenge the first time and an hour the second time. I had to give up because of my aversion with the mint thing but I have to tell you, I was impressed with how long the lozenge lasted. It also didn't have a chalky taste like some other products for dry mouth. Considering what was left of the lozenge when I ended my trial use of it, I would not be surprised if it lasted a total of two to three hours, at least. Few things make me as happy as finding out that a product is as good as its manufacturer claims it is. Also, Salese is a gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan product. You all know how thrilled I am to hear that!
I did some poking around on Amazon and by reading reviews there, I saw that most other people were as satisfied with Salese as I was. I also found out that there is a lemon flavor which made me very happy. Since there is no Walgreens around us, I ordered it and paid the extra $4.50 in shipping to give this flavor a try. If any of you want what is left of my samples, e-mail me your name and address and I will ship it to you. You know, that whole paying it forward thing and all!