Saliva Stimulator Comes to the Rescue of Dry Mouth Sufferers

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 23 2007 1:50 PM

Saliva Stimulator Comes to the Rescue of Dry Mouth Sufferers
Medical devices manufacturer Saliwell Medical Systems claim to have developed a battery powered saliva stimulator that could help those suffering from a chronically dry mouth.
The device that the company has developed fits over the teeth and is operated by a handheld remote control. It sends out mild pulses of electricity, not felt by the patient, to stimulate the nerves that control the release of saliva, the report said.

Clinical trials have demonstrated a significant increase in saliva secretion and relief to patients, reported online edition of Daily Mail.

The technical term for dry mouth is xerostomia. Everyone has a xerostomia once in a while - if they are nervous, upset or under stress. But if you have a xerostomia all or most of the time, it can be extremely uncomfortable and can lead to serious health problems, according to the company website.

Saliwell says: "Compared to the available treatments the new device offers a permanent, cost-effective and side-effect-free treatment for xerostomia or dry mouth."

Dry mouth and lack of saliva is a common problem that affects around one in 10 adults at some time. It occurs when the glands in the mouth that make saliva are not working properly, and there are several possible reasons for this.

More than 400 medicines, including some over-the-counter formulations, can cause the salivary glands to make less saliva, or to change its composition so it doesn't work properly.

Some chemotherapy cancer treatments make saliva thicker, so less lubricating, and injury to the head or neck can damage the nerves that activate the salivary glands.

Gordon Watkins, a member of the British Dental Association's health committee, said: "It sounds very interesting, although we would need to see the results of trials.

"Dry mouth is a significant and debilitating problem for many people and anything new that worked would be welcomed."


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