Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing is really common with chemotherapy patients and those that have had radiotherapy on their neck and mouth region. You can expect to have ulcers, lesions, dtysfunctioning salivary glands for up to 12 weeks post treatment. This makes it incredibly difficult to eat food that will help nourish you, and regenerate your cells. If you don't eat well, how can you repair? Most health professionals will suggest a mouth wash or some type of oral regime that is riddled with chemicals which can aggravate the symptoms even if they provide initial temporary relief. My mother experienced extremely dry mouth due to radiotherapy on her neck, as well as ulcers from the chemotherapy. In fact, the medication she was on caused severe dry mouth, which. meant she had to endure the torture for 4 years of her life.
She was prescribed 3 products for her mouth, and she used them only a handful of times, because
1. the smell and taste annoyed her so much
2. the chemicals in the products burned her mouth and ulcers even more
3. she detested the list of ingredients on the pack
She was prepared to put up with the pain rather than use the products. She asked me to find a more natural alternative, and after researching the ingredients used in those products, I am so glad I was able to offer a better solution. Let's examine the ingredients in the commercially available products you'll find at your supermarket and pharmacy...
Parabens - used has preservatives, paragons are found in so many household products from shampoos, moisturisers, makeup, toothpaste, and so much more. These group of chemicals, (methyl - ethyl - propyl- butyl- and heptyl-) are controversial and as they are found in almost everything in your home, there is substantial evidence around the concern of cancer development. However, this could be because multi-billion dollar companies make sure research on these products don't happen - but let's be honest. We all know that preservatives are nasty... in it's most mildest form of reaction, humans have developed allergic reactions, including dermatitis, rosacea and hives. Due to this chemical compounds ability to mimic oestrogen, it is known to be an xenoestrogen and possibly linked with initiating and promoting breast cancer. If you're interested in this topic, I strongly suggest reading a book that has captivated me, Clinical Environmental Medicine; Crinnion & Pizzorno.
Propylene Glycol - it's used to as a preservative, humectant and a sweetener. In cosmeceuticals it's used to help to help ingredients penetrate the skin (think face serums and creams). This ingredient actually helps all the nasty ingredients penetrate your oral mucosa. Sounds fun *eye roll*
I find it interesting that in 2018, the American Contact Dermatitis Society named PG as their number one allergen of the year and yet it's still in everything!
Hydrogen peroxide - also used as an antiseptic. I have to mention that a particular product on the market that has this as their active ingredient doesn't use the term 'hydrogen peroxide' rather, stating oxygen as the hero, "the release of oxygen bubbles helps remove mouth debris". I wonder, are they actually afraid of saying 'hydrogen peroxide'? Of course they wouldn't mention it, HP sounds horrific, and it is! Central nervous system damage, skin blistering, skin damage, respiratory problems, abdominal pain, oral burns...must I go on?
Sodium Benzoate - preservative, can cause hyperactivity if mixed with a colour (which most mouth washes do contain) and proven to be oestrogenic, promoting breast cancer cells.
--- ** At this point, I'm really angry, and I've only done 4 commonly found ingredients.... Is this not enough to stop using chemicals? **---
poloxamer 407 - used extensively in mouthwashes and toothpastes, it has been reported and researched that this compound causes high cholesterol.
benzoic acid - is used as a preservative (in food you'll notice them as E-numbers, e.g. E210). Its main role is to inhibit mould and bacteria. This compound has been researched extensively in the 1990's in the way it affects our immune system. In some people it has caused uticaria - skin rashes - and prolonged exposure may lead to lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
sodium fluoride - Used to prevent tooth decay - but it's highly toxic and there are other substances you can use to prevent decay. Fluoride has been recognised as causing adverse neurodevelopment in children; weakened bones in adults with an increase in hip and wrist fractures; kidney damage; thyroid dysfunction leading to metabolism disruption.
Triclosan - used as an antibacterial and anti-fungal. However, this chemical disrupts hormones and alters thyroid function as well as accelerates tumour development.
Honestly, I could keep going with the list of ingredients, but I could be here for a long while and I believe you have enough information to determine whether or not these products are doing harm or good to your body. The choice is yours....
Honestly, it's hard to avoid chemicals, they're almost in everything you put on your skin, in your mouth, wherever. But why does it bother me so much that I have to write a blog about it regarding dry mouth? I'll tell you why - the oral mucosa (skin inside your mouth) is so permeable due to low amounts of keratinisation (compared to your hands or feet...agree?). The skin is so thin and the blood vessels are so close to the surface of the skin. Go ahead, find a mirror and look under your tongue and inside your cheeks, see all those blood vessels? See how close they are to the skin? This makes an ideal environment for optimal chemical absorption. New medical technologies actually prefer this route of drug administration because a) the medication is absorbed so quickly into the blood and has quick effect; b) the medication doesn't have to undergo metabolism via the liver and therefore has a higher bioavailability to the body. You may find sublingual or buccal administration of some medication, and in the future there will be more. So, this is fine if you're on medication, you need to take a particular drug. But it ain't so great if you're trying to keep your oral cavity clean - and the only ridiculously toxic options are concoctions riddled with chemicals which will end up doing more harm than good. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the reason I am so annoyed with the multibillion dollar companies that continue to use chemicals in products that are NOT DESIGNED TO BE CONSUMED and yet they're allowed to have them in products that will be in contact with our blood supply.
Now you're probably thinking, "Okay, so you've listed all the bad guys, what choices do we have?", Well, I'm glad you asked. Because there has to be another way? There has to be a better way! We need something that will fight tooth decay, repair the oral mucosa/ulcers/sores, as well as be pleasant tasting.
I had to create my own concoction which would tackle decay, repair and sooth damage and be healthy enough you could drink it without worrying about toxicity. I used these products, and you can buy them from my store.,
Olive Leaf Mouth Wash - mix 10ml with the zinc status and swoosh in mouth for 20-30 seconds.
Grants Natural Mouthwash - mix with the zinc status as above
Berringa Manuka Honey Lozenges - Manuka has wonderful healing properties for ulceration and helps boost immunity. Dissolve in your mouth as you feel you need it.
Fulhealth Industries Zinc Status - always mix 10ml with your mouth wash to help repair ulcers. Zinc Sulfate is BRILLIANT for healing wounds. If you swallow this by mistake, don't stress. It's great for your immunity.
Grants Xylitol Toothpaste - use in place of normal toothpaste. Xylitol helps prevent tooth decay so don't feel guilty,
Epic Xylitol Dental Fruit Mint or Spearmint Drops - Xylitol is clinically proven to fight tooth decay, and inhibits the bacteria. So enjoy these as you need. Just be warned excessive xylitol can give some people diarrhoea. However, you'd have to consume a lot to get that side effect. Otherwise, enjoy these drops during the day especially after a meal.
Spry Xylitol Chewing Gum - Fruit or mint helps keep your mouth moist and cool while fighting decay.
So there you have it, my more natural alternatives. I suggest the following regime
1. 10ml Olive Leaf Mouth wash or Grants Natural mouthwash, PLUS 10ml Zinc sulphate, and swoosh in your mouth for at least 20 seconds. One minute is ideal. Do this 3-6 times a day.
2. Manuka lozenges with the highest MGO are great for wound healing and antiseptic properties. Dissolve slowly in your mouth as you desire. Up to 12 a day.
3. Have gum or drops with xylitol after a meal to prevent decay
4. Brush your teeth with a toothpaste that has no nasties 3 times a day.
This helped my mother a lot - especially the wash and Manuka lozenges. Good luck!