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  • What Is Dry Mouth And How Does It Affect Oral Health

    Oral health care and effects of dry mouth

    Every once in a while we all experience a dry mouth, especially when we are nervous, upset or under stress. However, for some people, dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a common condition that is caused by lack of saliva in the mouth and is thought to affect at least 1 in 4 of the population, with 60% being in the 60+ age group, and over 33% going undiagnosed. If dry mouth is not treated it can be highly uncomfortable and can impact on oral health.

    Saliva plays several important roles when it comes to keeping our mouths healthy. In addition to its role in digestion, saliva helps to cleanse the oral cavity, facilitate oral processing and swallowing of food, maintaining a neutral pH and preventing tooth demineralisation.

    The Main Causes Of Dry Mouth

    • Lack of hydration
    • Snoring/mouth breathing
    • Some long term health conditions
    • Taking multiple medications - more than 500 medications, both prescription and over the counter, have dry mouth as a side effect
    • Head and neck cancer and cancer therapy dry mouth is one of the most common complications during and after radiotherapy and treatment.

    Who Is Susceptible To Dry Mouth?

    oral health with diabetes

    People with diabetes

    Patients with high blood sugar levels are prone to experiencing dry mouth and it can lead to further oral health complications.

    Effects of dry mouth and cancer patients oral healthcare

    People having treatment for cancer

    Patients who are having treatment for cancer, in particular head and neck cancer, are at significant risk of developing dry mouth. Dry mouth is one of the most common complications during and after radiotherapy treatment.


    oral health in dementia

    People living with dementia

    One of the main side effects of the medication patients with dementia and Alzheimer take is dry mouth. Common medications with this side effect include; antidepressants, antipsychotics and sedatives.


    oral health with polypharmacy patients

    People on multi-medication (polypharmacy)

    More than 500 medications, both over the counter and prescription, have xerostomia as a side effect and the prevalence increases with each medication taken. More than 3 medications taken in combination can lead to a 50% risk of developing dry mouth.


    oral health and dry mouth effects for people with depression

    People with depression

    Antidepressants are one of the groups of medication most commonly associated with dry mouth.


    people with auto-immune disease and oral health

    People with Auto-immune diseases

    Patients with autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, may suffer from dry mouth. This is due to their body’s immune system attacking glands that secrete fluid, especially the saliva glands.


    How Does Dry Mouth Impact Oral Health?

    • Effects of dry mouth in oral health careDifficulty speaking and swallowing - due to a lack of moisture and lubrication in the oral cavity.
    • Gum disease - with a reduced salivary flow bacteria and plaque will not be flushed from the mouth and is more likely to attack the teeth and gums.
    • Tooth decay - saliva helps maintain a neutral pH in the mouth and aids with food clearance. A lack of saliva can cause difficulties in buffering the acids caused by bacteria or ingested foods resulting in tooth decay
    • Viscous or sticky/stringy saliva - due to a lack of moisture and lubrication in the oral cavity.
    • A change in sense of taste - saliva plays a role in our experience of taste so people with dry mouth may find a change in their sense of taste, growing an intolerance towards spicy, salty, or sour foods and drinks.
    • A dry or burning feeling in the mouth, lips and throat
    • Cracked lips - a lack of moisture can cause sores on the lips, split skin at the corners of the lips and cracked dry lips.
    • A rough tongue - moisture of the tongue is maintained by the saliva. However, with a lack of salivary flow, the tongue can become extremely dry, sore and red causing discomfort and even a burning feeling.
    • Severe halitosis - due to the lack of cleansing action provided by normal salivary volume and flow, patients can experience bad breath.
    • Mouth sores

    The Symptoms Can Have A Dramatic Effect On A Person's Wellbeing

    Effects of dry mouth in oral health

    Why Isn't Water The Best Relief Method?

    One of the most frequently used saliva substitutes is water and whilst it can be used as a saliva replacement, it doesn't moisten and lubricate the oral mucosa and teeth adequately - something which is critical to provide relief for dry mouth. In addition, saliva plays a larger role in the mouth than just providing water.

    As dry mouth is rarely associated with systemic dehydration, consuming large quantities of water does not overcome it, but merely provides temporary relief from the symptoms of dry mouth. People who compensate through frequent sipping of water, particularly at night, often report a decrease in sleep quality due to the increased frequency of urination.

    Furthermore, drinking excessive amounts of water could potentially promote the loss of electrolytes and result in electrolyte imbalance.

    Here Are Our Top Tips To Help You To Manage Dry Mouth

    • oral health care for dry mouth with Oralieve productsMaintain good oral hygiene
    • Improve hydration take regular sips of cold water or suck on ice cubes
    • Use water-based mouth gels, sprays and non-foaming toothpaste

    How Can Oralieve Help?

    All our Oralieve products contain bioactive ingredients and enzymes which supplement the natural systems in saliva to provide effective and lasting relief. Oralieve products help promote a healthy, comfortable mouth.

    Having a dry mouth may mean a person’s mouth can be painful when using products containing strong flavours or detergents. Many oral hygiene products contain Sodium Laurel Sulphate SLS, which can irritate oral tissues. Oralieve products do not contain SLS, alcohol or strong flavours and have been tested and developed with dry mouth sufferers.

    Click on an Oralieve product to reveal more information on how it can help the people you support with dry mouth.

    Dry mouth relief with Oralieve mild toothpaste Oralieve Ultra Mild Toothpaste
    Moisturising mouth gel to relieve dry mouth Oralieve Moisturising Mouth Gel
    Oral health products for nourishing lips Oralieve Nourishing Lip Care
    Oral health dry mouth relief with Oralieve moisturising mouth spray Oralieve Moisturising Mouth Spray

    To download our Oral Hygiene Management Guide, click on the link below

    Oral Hygiene Management Guide Long CTA

  • Why Oral Care Needs To Be Given Greater Priority In Care Homes

    We carried out a recent poll to help us understand the challenges care managers are facing to achieving good oral care in care homes, and the results are in!

    • 43% of people who responded stated that ‘staff don’t see it as a priority
    • 30% put it down to a lack of guidance and training
    • 17% said staff fear personal harm
    • 9% stated there was a lack of fit-for-purpose tools

    CQC now heavily promote the importance of oral care in care homes, which includes mandatory training and forming part of the effective and responsive KLOE’s

    Here, Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) talks about the importance of oral health:

    “Oral health has a huge impact on our quality of life and we need professionals across a number of sectors to make changes to ensure it is given the priority it needs in care home settings.

    “Oral health cannot be treated as an afterthought. It can make the difference between someone who is free from pain, enjoys eating and is able to confidently express themselves through talking and smiling – and someone who is in pain, unable to enjoy their food and who covers their mouth with their hand when they smile because they are ashamed of their poor oral hygiene but unable to address it themselves. No one should have to live like that.”

    And yet there still seems to be a huge gap between where we are and where we need to be on understanding the huge impact oral health has on overall health.

    Did you know that the state of your teeth affects your overall health, with gum disease linked to lots of serious health problems in other parts of the body?

    Therefore, brushing your teeth regularly to remove plaque can prevent gum disease and improve your overall health.

    Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, explains: "The link between oral health and overall body health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence. Despite this, only 1 in 6 people realises that people with gum disease may have an increased risk of stroke or diabetes. And only 1 in 3 is aware of the heart disease link."

    Gum disease may increase your risk of all kinds of other health complications, including stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Gum disease has even been linked with problems in pregnancy and dementia.

    So why is good oral care so important?

    In a two-part BBC series, Dr Christoffer Van Tulleken, carried out an experiment where he didn’t brush his teeth for 2 weeks, to demonstrate the implications of poor dental hygiene.

    Dr Tulleken commented: ‘At the end of this time, I brushed my teeth and my gums bled; I had developed mild gum disease - an infection of the tissues that support the teeth. It's mainly caused by bacteria from plaque build-up on all hard surfaces of the mouth due to lack of oral hygiene. Carry on like this and not treat the problem and I could lose some teeth.’

    Further tests showed that he had also damaged his immune system - In some people who are susceptible to gum disease, the body over-reacts to the bacteria around the gums and causes too much inflammation. In others, the inflammation doesn't clear up. The result of the intense gum inflammation is that it also affects the bloodstream, and is believed to slowly damage blood vessels in the heart and brain over a long period of time. And there is mounting evidence that shows an association between poor oral hygiene and a wide variety of illnesses including:

    • Dementia
    • Pneumonia,
    • Diabetes, and its control
    • Kidney disease
    • Heart disease and heart attacks
    • Stroke
    • Rheumatoid arthritis

    ‘Gum disease isn't just bad for your teeth; it shortens your life - simple as that. So, looking after your teeth is one of the most important health interventions you can make’ he concluded.

    How do you think you would feel if you were unable to brush your teeth for 2 weeks?

    What do you think the implications to your health and wellbeing would be?

    • Inadequate oral care can be detrimental to social and emotional well-being – people become very conscious of not having a fresh mouth and can withdraw socially.
    • Any untreated oral pain can make chewing difficult and uncomfortable and therefore impact adequate levels of nutrition and hydration for weight maintenance

    However, a good oral care regime can help to:-

    • Keep residents as comfortable as possible in palliative and end-of-life care
    • Prevent dental decay and gum disease

    We need to work together to help build knowledge and understanding of the implications of poor oral hygiene and why it needs to be made a priority.

    Why not download a copy of our free Oral Care Guide? And you can check out our comprehensive range of fit-for-purpose oral care product solutions here too.Oral Hygiene Management Guide Long CTA

    We have additional great articles relating to oral care that you may find a worthwhile read! Find them here.


    How can I improve oral care for my residents living with dementia?

    What are the safe alternatives to banned pink mouth foam swabs?

    CQC calls for improvements in oral health in care homes

  • How Can I Improve Mouth Care For My Residents Living With Dementia?

    Having helped to care for my own Mum for over 6 years, living with Vascular Dementia I experienced, first-hand, some of the challenges of delivering effective oral care to someone living with dementia. It is proven that they are more likely to resist tooth brushing and that this is often a response to fear or a previous bad experience.

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  • Understanding The 4 Major Parts Of Glove Testing

    Understanding The 4 Major Parts Of Glove Testing, Safety Standards Of Gloves

    People often ask us about the pricing of our disposable gloves, claiming that they cost more than some of our competitors’ products. Here’s why:

    Continue reading

  • 5 Innovative Solutions To Facilitate Safe Visiting At Care Homes

    Stay safe

    ‘I know how incredibly hard visiting restrictions have been for families, friends and residents in care homes. There is no escaping the pain and the very real consequences of being separated for such a long period of time. The accounts I have heard personally are truly heart-breaking, especially where care homes have been unable to reopen for visiting during the summer. We must get the balance right between reuniting families and ensuring care staff and residents are safe from COVID-19’

    These words from Helen Whateley, Minister for Care, accompanied the Government’s new guidance about care home visitation which has been very much in the news this week.

    Continue reading

  • How Does Wearing Of Disposable Gloves Affect The Need For Hand Hygiene?

    How Does Wearing Of Disposable Gloves Affect The Need For Hand Hygiene

    Many healthcare workers wonder why they need to clean their hands when they’re wearing gloves. The short answer is that they need to wash or sanitise their hands before wearing gloves because the gloves used for routine patient care are not put on in a sterile manner.

    Continue reading

  • How To Make Informed Choices On Appropriate Glove Usage To Provide Adequate Protection For Healthcare Workers

    How To Make Informed Choices On Appropriate Glove Usage To Provide Adequate Protection For Healthcare Workers

    Making informed decisions on appropriate glove choices is always about matching the level of risk involved in the task to be completed to suitable products. 

    Continue reading

  • How To Complete A Risk Assessment For The Appropriate Use Of Examination Gloves In Care Environments

    How To Complete A Risk Assessment For The Appropriate Use Of Examination Gloves In Care Environments

    Since the late 1980s’, the practice of using protective gloves has become part of everyday nursing home life, ensuring healthcare staff and those being cared for are protected from contracting infections via micro-organisms transmitted during certain skin-to-skin contact.

    Continue reading

  • Discover how our laundry expert can help you SAVE valuable time and money in your laundry and IMPROVE compliance with CQC.

    So, over the past few weeks we have been talking about ways to help you to improve standards and outcomes in your laundry, and offering you the opportunity to have the benefit of our FREE and unique laundry survey.

    Several interested customers have come back to ask for an over view of what our laundry audit entails and what they can expect to receive and gain at the end of it, so we thought we would share that with you all just for clarification:

    Hcsuk’s unique, FREE and innovative Laundry Audit for care homes:

    Our laundry audit is carried out by Ken Moss, who is a technical laundry expert, having over 20 years experience of working in care sector laundries and who is also involved with new laundry product development. Believe me, what Ken doesn’t know about care home laundries isn’t worth knowing!

    Ken follows a step by step process during the audit which looks like this:

    1. Checks of makes and models of laundry machines in use to check compatibility with auto-dosing equipment.

    2. An audit of existing laundry chemicals in use including looking at ingredients, levels of concentration, do they contain any broad spectrum anti-bacterial properties.

      Could they be causing any damage to fabrics?

    3. Checks on the actual dosing of the existing chemicals – are they being dosed correctly and what are the volumes being dosed by programme? (Ken will actually physically measure each product being dosed by wash cycle).
    4. Check with laundry staff which wash cycles they are currently using and look at where potentially lower temperature washes could be incorporated to reduce utility costs without compromising on wash results.
    5. Discuss with laundry staff what issues they are currently experiencing with existing systems, ie challenges with staining, lingering odours in clothing and bedding and rewashing.
    6. Conduct test washes so key staff can assess wash results with our laundry chemicals versus what they are currently able to achieve. If staff can provide us with real examples of stained clothing or bedding for us to tackle that is always helpful!
    7. We like to provide you with a breakdown of what each of your different wash cycles is currently costing you ‘per wash’. In order to do this accurately we ask that you provide us with costings on your current chemicals by container. We can work out the rest for you.
    8. We can then provide you with a direct cost per wash comparison by wash cycle using our chemicals and what the added benefits are, eg improved wash results, less staining, less rewashing, improved fragrance retention in clothes and bedding etc. We will also highlight any recommendations of tweaks in processes to help improve results.

    I asked Ken if he could give me an average duration of a survey, just to give you an idea, and he simply said;

    ‘It takes as long as it takes to get the job done right’ which I loved! Your homes will have the benefit of Ken’s expertise for several hours. However, I will stress that he doesn’t disrupt the normal workings of the laundry, its business as usual and Ken will work round your staff.

    I hope that you agree with me that this is a very comprehensive audit which we are offering and one which is unique in its depth and attention to detail.

    We like to be different and genuinely want to work with you to help you achieve improved standards by providing expert advice, recommendations and fit for purpose product solutions which help you to get the job done right first time.

    Also, it is very helpful in order to get the best outcomes, if you can identify key laundry staff and that they are available when Ken visits so that we get the best understanding of their challenges and can give them the best advice.

    I hope that this gives you all of the information you need about out laundry audit, however if you do have any further questions, or to arrange a laundry survey for your home, then please don’t hesitate to contact us, either by email, [email protected] or by phone on 01773 713713

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts on our audit and how you feel it could assist you in improving results and standards within your home.

  • Do you know the true cost of your laundry operation? And how Hcsuk can help you to improve wash results and save money ..................

    When was the last time you reviewed your laundry costings to assess how effectively and efficiently it is working for you?

    And do you know how to do this accurately?

    Do you know your ‘cost per wash cycle?’ which is the only effective way to correctly calculate the true cost.

    Typically, what we find when we talk to our care home customers about their laundry is that they tend to focus on the cost per drum of product they are buying to get the ‘best deal’ on price.

    What can sometimes get missed though is the concentration of the product and therefore how much volume is needed per wash cycle for that product to be effective, like the Fairy Liquid scenario where less is more.

    Did you know that here at Hcsuk, we can offer you a FREE, No Obligation, Laundry Audit service?

    Our unique and FREE LAUNDRY AUDIT service can give you an in depth review of your laundry’s performance and efficiency, including an accurate calculation of exactly how much each wash cycle is costing you - your true ‘cost per wash.’

    Our laundry expert, Ken, who has over 20 years experience working in care home laundries will spend time with your laundry staff to understand the challenges they face and provide advice and solutions to help you to improve your systems.

    And he will even do some washing for you too! ☺ giving you the opportunity to try out some of our unique and innovative laundry chemicals including our famous Supreme Fabric Softener featuring persistent fragrance technology, keeping your residents clothes and bedding smelling deliciously fragrant for up to 12 weeks. Also our fabulous Anti-bacterial Low Temperature Destainer which kills 99.999% germs in 5 minutes at 20oC.

    The wash results always speak for themselves!

    You will then receive a written proposal detailing our findings, recommendations and equivalent cost per wash comparison for your consideration.

    How we helped one care home to save money on their laundry costs with a higher cost product.

    One of our customers approached us for our laundry audit service because although they were buying their laundry products at a very low price they were conscious they weren’t getting satisfactory cleaning results.

    Sheets and bedding was still stained after washing and they couldn’t get rid of the smell of urine. This was unpleasant for the residents and relatives were complaining at the poor standards, and they had hidden additional costs for labour, energy and water costs due to high numbers of rewashes.

    During our survey, we found that their products were watered down and therefore higher volume of products were being dosed into each wash cycle to compensate for the low quality.

    To give you an example,

    The customer was having to dose 25-30 mls of laundry detergent per kilo of dry weight laundry( due to it being heavily diluted) into each wash cycle whereas our best selling Pearl 35 Laundry Detergent, (35% active) recommended dosage is 10-15 mls per kilo of dry laundry.

    So, although the cost per drum of our competitors detergent looked lower than ours, in reality it was working out to be more expensive as they were having to use up to two and a half times as much product per cycle which increases the ‘cost per wash’ making it completely false economy.

    We presented these finding to our customer and needless to say they moved onto our laundry products, enjoying free on loan state of the art auto-dosing equipment, regular 6 monthly engineer calls to check and service the equipment and very quickly fed back to us that they were getting very positive feedback from both residents and their relatives about the improves standards, quality and beautiful smelling laundry.

    And they were saving money as well!

    If you would like more information on our FREE LAUNDRY AUDIT service, or to book your audit today, please contact [email protected] or call us on 01773 713713.

    What have you got to lose?

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