The GUM® Hydral™ Dry Mouth Relief line is designed to improve dental patients’ quality of life as well as their overall oral health.
As an educator and a periodontist, Dr. Joan Otomo-Corgel is well aware of the prevalence of xerostomia and the negative effects it can have on a person’s oral health as well as their quality of life.
She has been in private practice limited to periodontics, oral medicine and implantology in Los Angeles since 1981, and she lectures extensively on periodontal medicine, medical emergencies, OTC dental products, and clinical periodontal topics.
An aging population, combined with new and numerous medications being used by patients, has led to a greater need to combat dry mouth. Dr. Otomo-Corgel, who is currently a full clinical professor in the UCLA School of Dentistry, Department of Periodontics, and faculty at the Greater Los Angeles VA Health Care Center Dental Service, has always been on the lookout for solutions to help patients and even her own family members with xerostomia.
Because of this, Dr. Otomo-Corgel was excited when she first learned about the GUM Hydral Dry Mouth Relief line of products. A non-prescription dry mouth relief solution designed to sooth the oral mucosa, the products were recently launched by Sunstar. Olympic soccer gold medalist Shannon Boxx, who suffers from Sjögren’s syndrome and therefore symptoms of dry mouth, has been helping get the word out as a spokesperson. But even before these products became available early this year, Dr. Otomo-Corgel and her colleagues were testing it out.
“Most dentists do not diagnose xerostomia until > 50 percent of the saliva is reduced or it becomes problematic for the patient. Because life expectancy has been going up and up,” she explains, “we will have to manage other systemic issues of aging as well as the medications associated with xerostomia.”
There are autoimmune disorders like Sjögren’s sydrome, as well as radiation therapy patients whose symptoms include xerostomia, but many patients she sees are getting dry mouth as a side effect of medications. Elderly patients taking blood pressure medications, or drugs for the treatment of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or urinary incontinence are more susceptible. Patients on medications to elevate their mood from depression may also note a decrease in salivary outflow.
“Most patients don’t even realize that their mouth is dry until they lose most of their saliva,” she says. They are then bothered by a variety of related side effects such as dental caries, speech and swallowing problems, and reduced taste, which have an impact on nutrition and even sleep.”
She and fellow researchers took on a clinical case series project prior to the launch of the GUM Hydral products and worked closely with nine patients.
A pre-test involved a battery of questions about how dry your mouth is, how it impacts the quality of your life, and if it disrupted sleep.
“You know overall health depends on the quality of your sleep so we asked them a series of questions and then we had them use GUM Hydral Oral Rinse for a couple of weeks,” she says. “They kept a daily diary, came back two weeks later and reported on the findings.”
Next the patients added the GUM Hydral Gel to their daily routine along with the rinse. The results were very positive. Some patients reported getting a better night’s sleep, some reported they were speaking better than when their mouths were dry, and the GUM Hydral products left these patients feeling better overall.
“The beautiful thing was, one patient cried because he felt the product improved the quality of his life,” Dr. Otomo-Corgel states. “Everybody complied with the research because they felt improvements and wanted to get more products.”
Even her mother has benefitted from the products, and now is not struggling to swallow some foods, especially her medications, that were difficult due to xerostomia.
Dr. Otomo-Corgel believes dental hygienists, who are a critical part of the dental team, now need to ask patients up front about xerostomia and be informed about the benefits of products like the GUM Hydral Dry Mouth Relief line.
The GUM Hydral Dry Mouth Relief line features an advanced OTC formulation that works like natural saliva. It is formulated to provide a complete solution for all-day/all-night dry mouth relief, offering a range of convenient products providing deep moisturizing relief and comfort for up to four hours, including: GUM Hydral Oral Rinse; GUM Hydral Oral Spray for on-the-go relief; GUM Hydral Oral Gel, ideal for night-time relief, and GUM Hydral Anti-Cavity Toothpaste.
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