When scrolling through your feed or browsing the news, it’s hard to ignore headlines about bizarre class action suits. How can you not roll your eyes or shake your head when you see that someone sued Kellogg’s for not having enough strawberries in their strawberry Pop-Tarts? Or that a woman went after Kraft-Heinz because their Velveeta microwavable mac-and-cheese cups took longer to make than the “three and a half minutes” promised on the packaging?
News items like those are always good for a quick and easy chuckle. But a new one recently caught our attention not because it was silly but because it actually raises a serious issue. This time, the target is CVS
An Illinois man is suing CVS Pharmacy claiming that its dry mouth dietary supplement discs are falsely advertised as promoting a healthy mouth by providing lasting moisture. However, the product’s high acidity may erode or demineralize teeth, according to the lawsuit.
The suit claims that the product has a pH of 5.3. That’s indeed acidic, on par with some carbonated mineral waters, but not as bad as a Coke, for instance, and still about a point above the pH level that defines an acidic oral environment.
By way of contrast, the pH of a healthy mouth is right around 7, or true neutral. Consuming anything with a pH below that can damage tooth enamel. That, in turn, raises the risk of tooth sensitivity, tooth decay, and gum disease.
The plaintiff is said to have used the dry mouth supplement for three years. We’ve not seen any details about whether he actually suffered any dental damage as a result of using them for so long.
The good news is that you don’t need this kind of product to alleviate dry mouth, a condition in which you’re just not generating enough saliva. The most common cause of it is simple dehydration, but other things can cause it, as well: anxiety, certain medications, or underlying issues, such as clogged sinuses that compel you to breathe through your mouth, diabetes, or Sjögren’s syndrome (an immune condition that damages the salivary glands).
If you’re experiencing chronic dry mouth, it’s important to let your dentist know so its cause can be identified and addressed appropriately. Even so, there are some simple solutions you can put into play to relieve the condition:
- Drink water. This is the most important solution since, as mentioned, dehydration is the most common cause of dry mouth. Keep a bottle of fluoride-free water always at hand and sip throughout the day.
- Quit or at least limit habits that tend to dry out the mouth. Alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and smoking all can contribute to chronic dry mouth.
- Chew xylitol-sweetened gum. The chewing alone can stimulate saliva flow, and the xylitol can offer a bit of protection against decay. However, this isn’t recommended if you have a temporomandibular disorder (TMJ/TMD), since all the extra chewing can aggravate symptoms.
- If you use a mouthwash, make sure it’s alcohol-free. If it isn’t, switch to a brand that is. (It should be fluoride-free, as well.)
- Some botanicals can help moisturize or stimulate saliva production. These include aloe vera, ginger, hollyhock root, marshmallow root, nopales, and sweet pepper.
No discs required. No acidity involved. Rather, by improving your saliva flow, your oral pH should stay right where it should be – and your teeth will be grateful for the constant cleansing and mineral delivery that saliva provides.