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      Senior Oral Care - Medications and Dry Mouth

      Senior Oral Care - Medications and Dry Mouth

      Many seniors citizens suffer from dry mouth and the negative effects of having reduced saliva in the mouth such as less effective digestive processes, increased tooth decay, and oral infections. The primary cause of dry mouth with seniors is pointing at prescription medication. Other culprits include diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, chemotherapy, radiation, and nerve damage.

      As we head into our mid-sixties,  our saliva production overall is reduced, however we now understand that around 400 prescribed medications (some sources suggest an estimated 60% of all prescriptions) and to a lesser extent over the counter drugs cause a large majority of the problems associated with dry mouth syndrome (also called xerostomia).

      The senior population is often, unfortunately, the recipients of chronic over medicating, while doctors with the best of intentions chase an ever-increasing list of health symptoms.  A patient would come in with a common complaint of edema (fluid retention) in the legs, next they have a prescription for a diuretic (a drug/substance that increases the excretion of water) then they are battling an unfortunate series of oral health challenges living with the uncomfortable feeling of dry mouth.  A diuretic prescription is a good example of all the drug types listed above, the class known as diuretics is the most commonly linked to xerostomia. Medications that are the most common cause of dry mouth include painkillers, diuretics, blood pressure medicine,  antidepressants, antihistamines, asthma drugs, and muscle relaxants.  In my practice (Acupuncture &Herbology) I was somewhat surprised by the list of medications that seniors were taking. Many of these were not reviewed often enough and in my opinion, many were completely unnecessary or useless. I remember treating several patients who were taking Vioxx at the time and thinking to myself something just does not seems right. Vioxx was the arthritis drug that caused approximately 140,000 heart attacks resulting in an estimated 60,000 deaths.

      Saliva helps remove unhealthy bacteria from the gums, and therefore without enough saliva, the mouth becomes dry, and can over time weaken teeth.  By salivating, your mouth helps you taste and digest what you eat and drink. Food particles get flushed from your teeth and acid is washed away as well, which helps prevent tooth decay (cavities).  Continual decay interferes with the production of saliva in the mouth, causing a chronic condition that becomes a cycle: decay reduces saliva, the lack of which allows bacteria to remain in the mouth, exacerbating decay.

      So why do medications cause dry mouth? 
      There does not seem to be a clear understanding of why this happens, especially as each drug would have a different metabolic pathway leading to differing hypotheses.  Possibly we can get an idea if we look at the cannabis ‘cotton mouth’ sensation. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, binds to receptors in the salivary glands causing them to be less active. The Thera Wise Adult toothbrush is the first toothbrush that can offer assistance to help improve dry mouth symptoms due to medical treatments and medications due to a compromised oral microbiome. By selectively being able to reduce the number of ‘bad’ bacteria in the mouth (like Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli (E-coli), Pseudomonas aeruginosa) through it’s naturally antibacterial properties, the Thera Wise Adult brush can be an effective tool in assisting those struggling with the negative effects of reduced saliva in the mouth. Our Adult customers of all ages love the feeling this brush leaves in the mouth and its ability to reduce bacteria that cause bad breath.

      Thera Wise Adult Antibacterial Toothbrush
      Due to Thera Wise Adult Toothbrush not needing toothpaste for efficacy, this brush can also be very helpful for adults with cognitive impairments where brushing with toothpaste and properly rinsing may be challenging. Within this group, toothpaste texture and ability to rinse toothpaste from the mouth is often problematic.

      One of our other important considerations when designing this brush was the egonomics capabilities of all adult ages.  Much thought went into the brush handle and neck design. Thera Wise Adult Brush is easily suited for adults with less manual dexterity with the easy hold rubber grip and balance that allows more fluid fine movements. The flexible neck provides an additional safety feature as does the ultra-soft bristles ensuring comfort and functionality for those dealing with sensitive teeth and gums.

      What About Fluoride?

      What About Fluoride?

      Offering functionally advanced toothbrushes for children that do not need toothpaste, we often get asked the question "what about fluoride?"  

      Some parents are concerned that kids not using toothpaste with fluoride will develop unnecessary cavities.

      Our Thera Wise Childrens toothbrushes are designed for young children who may not be able to properly rinse toothpaste or are potentially eating toothpaste, this can be a problem especially depending on the brand of toothpaste used. As you may know, there’s some debate over the safety of sodium fluoride and sodium monofluorophospate, added to water and dental products. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend using fluoride toothpaste until at least the age of two or before a child is able to effectively spit toothpaste along with proper swallowing reflexes (which is usually closer to the age of three). It also discourages the use of fluoride rinses in children due to the associated risks. 

      For some time now we have knowns that fluoridation of water and through dental use during pregnancy can be a concern.  Studies have shown that fluoride crosses the placenta and that it accumulates in brain regions involved in learning and memory by altering proteins and neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. Lab studies suggest that this fluoride accumulation results in lasting memory impairment.

      More recently one of the  Journals of Medicine JAMA Pediatrics published results from a larger study group taking optimally fluoridated water.

      Funded by the Canadian government and the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Science, the new study titled "Association Between Maternal Fluoride Exposure During Pregnancy and IQ Scores in Offspring in Canada" examined the association between fluoride exposure during pregnancy and the IQ scores of the children at ages 3 and 4 years of age. 

      The study's authors concluded:
      "…maternal exposure to higher levels of fluoride during pregnancy was associated with lower IQ scores in children aged 3 to 4 years. These findings indicate the possible need to reduce fluoride intake during pregnancy."

      Armed with the above information, it is likely best to be cautious of fluoride intake during pregnancy and with infants and young children. 

      All said we are big believers in health freedom and respect the decisions of parents. We always let parents know that it is fine to use toothpaste with our no toothpaste needed toothbrushes, you will still get the same benefits.

      New Product Spotlight - Natural Bio-Active Body Wash and Shampoo

      New Product Spotlight - Natural Bio-Active Body Wash and Shampoo

      I have for some time wanted to offer our customers a gentle wash product that would compliment our skin healing therapeutic ointments. A body wash and shampoo suitable for babies, kids, adults and seniors to use and love.

      Those with troubled sensitive skin do not have many options when it comes to cleaning products as most contain strong surface acting chemicals (also called surfactants) that are designed to lift dirt and other unwanted materials off the skin surface.

      I am referring mostly to anionic surfactants that are found in laundry detergents, dish soap, shampoos and washes like Sodium Laureth Sulfate and many the ingredients that end in -eth (eg. Ceteareth, Laureth-4, Laureth-23).

      Surfactants in skin cleansers interact with the skin in several manners. In addition to the desired benefit of removing unwanted buildup on the skin, they also can remove the skin-protecting elements like lipids that help maintain a healthy skin barrier and beneficial bacteria needed for healthy immune function of the skin.

      Our new Thera Wise Natural Bio-Active Body Wash and Shampoo is perfect for those looking for a low foaming gentle wash that protects the skin as it cleans.

      I am also excited to mention our newest initiative that includes having most of our Bio-Active ingredients from Canadian sources. Modern Science is just now starting to discover the unique and multi-functional phytochemical properties of plants grown in the harsh Northern climates of North America.  These unique and rare properties that enable these plants to survive and thrive also contain special properties that can protect, rejuvenate and benefit sensitive and delicate skin.

      Key Highlights: 

      • Marine Glacial Clay Water extract from the Pacific North West (Canada) helps to nourish the skin and protect against environmental pollution
      • Canadian Willow Herb Extract help reduce redness and inflammation
      • Canadian Atlantic Seaweed Extract nourishes and protects delicate skin
      • Mild essential oils of Yuzu Citrus and Mimosa Flower delight your senses and impart a luxurious shower sensation
      • Extract from olive oil protects the skin barrier function


      Reasons We Love Daikon Seed Oil

      Reasons We Love Daikon Seed Oil

      Daikon Seed Oil is our new fav emollient for our Thera Wise Natural Vegan Lip Balms.

      For those unfamiliar, daikon is a large white radish consumed mostly in Asian style foods. Turns out that Daikon seed oil has some really unique and valuable skincare properties.

      Here is what we like about the Daikon Seed Oil we use in our Thera Wise Vegan Lip Balms; 

      – Grown in North America without pesticides or herbicides –  grown by a farmer cooperative in Oregon State – cool right?

       Provides non-greasy glide for that luxurious lip feel. Absorbs very quickly and locks in long-lasting moisturizing properties leaving lips feeling velvety soft all day (no need for silicones or other less desirable skincare additives).

       Gives lips that luxurious and plump fresh look as Daikon Radish Seed Oil has the capacity to reach lower skin layers deeply moisturizing from the inside out.

       Protects, moisturizes and rejuvenates naturally.

      Antibiotic Angst

      Antibiotic Angst

      How do you feel about using antibiotics? 

      It’s difficult to imagine life now without them. Antibiotics have become ubiquitous since Alexander Fleming first stumbled upon penicillin in 1928.

      Whether natural or synthetic – antibiotics have one thing in common: They kill bacteria. Bacteria respond by building immunity. They evolve so rapidly and effectively that the World Health Organization issued a stern warning: “Without urgent action, we are heading for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries can once again kill.”

      Is it time to call a truce?

      The suggestion that our antibiotic embrace has been overly enthusiastic is not new. Most of us, even as we rush to the medicine cabinet at the slightest hurt, are aware that antibiotics ought to be treated with caution. They are a blunt instrument – effective but indiscriminate. They destroy the good with the bad and tend to throw our natural balance of microflora into chaos. Even where they are effective, temporary relief comes at a price.

      Now consider this: When most of us think antibiotics, what comes to mind are prescription drugs. We know from experience how quickly doctors prescribe antibiotic treatments for bacterial infections of any kind. But what about all the non-prescription over-the-counter antibiotic ointments and creams in our medicine cabinets?

      People imagine that non-prescription drugs are less potent, yet the operating principle is entirely the same. The consequence of overuse applies to antibiotic ointments just as it does to prescription medicines. Not only are these medicines potent – they are largely unnecessary.

      Studies have shown that topical antibiotics are ineffective for use on open wounds and clean surgical wounds. They aggravate the wound, hindering the natural healing process and there is a significant risk of developing contact dermatitis, a condition in which the skin becomes red, sore or inflamed. Long term consequences of prolonged overuse include increased prevalence for chronic eczema, chronic otitis externa, anogenital dermatitis, chronic venous insufficiency and postoperative wounds.

      More often than not, just cleaning a small wound will be sufficient. To reduce the time it takes to heal and minimize the risk of infection, try SHO Natural Bio-Active Skin Healing Ointment. Plant-based anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial ingredients reduce the risk of infection while soothing and rejuvenating delicate skin tissue. Our natural plant extracts have a bio-affinity with your skin allowing for fast effective relief and infection protection. product-page-skin-new

      (references to the above statements)
      • Dixon AJ, Dixon MP, Dixon JB. Randomized clinical trial of the effect of applying ointment to surgical wounds before occlusive dressing. Br J Surg. 2006 Aug;93(8):937-43.
      • Smack DP, Harrington AC, Dunn C, Howard RS, Szkutnik AJ, Krivda SJ, Caldwell JB, James WD. Infection and allergy incidence in ambulatory surgery patients using white petrolatum vs bacitracin ointment. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1996 Sep 25;276(12):972-7.
      • Campbell RM, Perlis CS, Fisher E, Gloster HM Jr. Gentamicin ointment versus petrolatum for management of auricular wounds. Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jun;31(6):664-9.
      • Sheth VM, Weitzul S. Postoperative topical antimicrobial use. Dermatitis. 2008 Jul-Aug;19(4):181-9.
      • Gehrig KA, Warshaw EM. Allergic contact dermatitis to topical antibiotics: epidemiology, responsible allergens, and management. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2008 Jan;58(1):1-21.