Saliva is essential to the healthy functioning of the mouth. Without it, teeth would decay, food becomes harder to swallow, and even certain sounds cannot be formed in speech. Dry mouth syndrome is the lack of sufficient saliva in the mouth, and it affects 10% of the general population and 25% of elderly. Interestingly, dry mouth is not a disease itself, but rather, the symptom of an underlying problem. Pharmaceutical compounding is commonly used to treat this syndrome, which can otherwise result in further issues.
As dry mouth syndrome is the lack of sufficient saliva, anything that disrupts saliva production can cause the condition. These causes include: drugs and medication, 600 of which are known to cause dry mouth, dehydration, infections, cancer treatments, salivary duct obstructions and other certain diseases. Depending on the cause of the condition, certain treatments may be applied ranging from artificial saliva substitutes, surgery to unblock salivary glands, or dry mouth products which can help moisten the mouth.
The symptoms of dry mouth are a hindrance and can be very uncomfortable, while also increasing the risk for serious diseases. Some expected symptoms include a sticky and dry mouth, dry throat, and a frequent thirst. However, the less obvious, more harmful symptoms include sores in the mouth, burning or tingling sensations on the tongue, a dry, red and raw tongue, dry nasal passages and bad breath. Furthermore, an individual with dry mouth has trouble speaking, tasting food, chewing and swallowing. The listed symptoms, although not particularly dangerous, greatly increase the risk for diseases such as gingivitis, tooth decay, and many mouth infections such as thrush.
Pharmaceutical compounding allows for certain drugs to be mixed together, creating medications tailored to a patient’s specific needs. This ability is especially useful in treating dry mouth, as medication is applied depending on the cause. For example, if the dry mouth was caused by a bacterial infection, the medication must be an antibacterial. Through compounding, other ingredients such as electrolytes, analgesics, and salivary gland stimulants can be added to produce a more powerful effect, depending on the patient’s needs, or antivirals or antifungals used depending on the type of infection.
A common method of treating dry mouth is to moisten the mouth by using certain products which create the same effect as saliva. These products generally come in the forms of toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, or even topical gels and lubricants. Compounding can increase the effectiveness of these products due to the ability of mixing ingredients together. For example, artificial saliva, thick gels, or even lozenges can be created, depending on the patient’s wishes. These can be more beneficial to a patient than over-the-counter medications, as ingredients that target the syndrome’s cause can be infused in the product. Thus, compounding can provide the patient with a comfortable and effective solution to the problem.
Recently, special gels with greater efficiency and staying power have been developed and tried with success. When a gel is applied, it must rest a long time for the medicine to be absorbed. However, these can be easily washed off and not all the medicine is absorbed. These new gels are polymer networks, meaning they stick to mucous in the mouth and are not easily washed off. The greater staying power allows more medicine to be absorbed by the body. When used in compounding, the gel can be modified, allowing variations in flavours, textures and acidity to better suit the patients needs, and make them more comfortable.
Powerful drugs can also be used in the treatment of dry mouth, but these require prescriptions and can only be obtained through compounding. The function of these medications is to increase secretion by exocrine glands around the body, or in simpler terms, increase the amount of saliva produced in the mouth. However, these medicines can also cause unlikely. These include severe abdominal pains, fainting, a change in heartrate and lung problems. Furthermore, these prescription drugs can interfere with other medications, further worsening the patient’s condition. Therefore, it is important to inform both the doctor and pharmacist about any current medications to ensure the final compounded treatment is compatible with the other medications.
Drug free options are best if effective, undergoing some lifestyle changes could negate the effects of dry mouth. A contributor for the onset of dry mouth is stress and anxiety, so eliminating these factors through physical activity and effective management of sleep can reduce the effects of dry mouth. Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and tobacco, as well as reducing sugar and salt intake can greatly help in treating symptoms of the syndrome. Chewing sugarless gum is also effective, as this stimulates salivary flow. And if all else fails, regularly drinking water or sucking on ice cubes can help maintain moisture in the mouth, avoiding the dry feeling caused by dry mouth.
It is recommended that patients complete the dry mouth questionnaire before visiting a doctor, as it provides an approximation of the severity of a patient’s dry mouth, assisting doctors in their diagnosis. These questionnaires take into consideration the medicines a patient is currently taking, any medicines they have taken in the past to treat dry mouth (if any), and a few other questions regarding the difficulty of doing certain actions, such as swallowing or chewing food. This provides a rough approximation of dry mouth severity, which can provide a head start to your treatment. We have a dry mouth questionnaire on this website. Just provide your name, email and mobile number to get started.
- Innovative coating effect
- Improved contact time of the drug/medication with the mucosal surface such as the tongue and gums
- Improved moisturising and protective effect
- Flavour of your choice
- Can be diluted with water to adjust viscosity (thickness) and coating effects
- Dental/Oral Rinse/Mouthwash
- Swish/spit/swallow formulas
- Oral Moisturiser/Protectant
- Lip Therapy
- Treatment for the Oesophagus (tunnel between mouth and gut)
- Treatment for ulcers/dry mouth
- Propylene Glycol