This post is sponsored by Crest, but all opinions about Crest’s product are my own.
As Professor Emeritus of one of the largest Dental Hygiene Programs in the USA, Ferris State University, I have continued my career as a professional speaker, author, volunteer, and Key Opinion Leader for several companies in the dental industry. I enjoy the extra time away from university teaching to volunteer and give back to my community. I have served with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in both Michigan and Florida. As a result of my relationship with these organizations, I have been able to deliver several educational program(s) on Oral Health and Whole Body Wellness for seniors, children groups, and special needs organizations. Living in Florida, I have taken advantage of the plethora of opportunities to interact with seniors personally in my community and professionally with groups in senior living communities. I have observed several oral care issues that are important to seniors.
Three of the top concerns include:
1) Tooth sensitivity
2) Discolored teeth
3) Dry mouth
It is an amazing time in dentistry with so many options for addressing the concerns of our patients, friends, and family. As any oral health professional knows, once we reveal we are in dentistry a conversation always develops regarding concerns about their personal oral health. I am amazed at the stories I have heard from individuals, whether at a Chamber of Commerce meeting or a community event for seniors. Often, I am asked my personal and professional opinion regarding treatment they have had or are considering having. Many times they open their mouths to show me a specific area of concern and how I would treat that area, which is very interesting as I don't generally carry my instruments, X-ray equipment, and gloves with me to social functions. I suppose other trades and professions are put in the same situation. Equally interesting is that I have not practiced as a clinician in many years.
These inquiries prompted me to develop specific programs aimed at senior's concerns. I have given presentations at the RSVP facilities and several assisted living homes for higher functioning adults. There is always great interest and good attendance for this topic. I discuss how the mouth is the portal of entry and the beginning of digestion for our nutritional needs. Further, I discuss the role of inflammatory diseases in the mouth caused by an imbalance of hundreds of bacteria and how the inflammation influences the rest of the body as the inflammation is carried through the blood stream to organs in the rest of the body.
It is rewarding to watch their responses when they see how this information relates to their own health. Many have no idea the extent of the effects of oral health to the rest of their body. Many seniors are managing issues in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. I show them the links to inflammation in the mouth and its impact on these conditions and offering advice on better management of their systemic conditions by improved oral health and reduction of inflammation.
In 2006, Scientific American released a custom publication sponsored by Procter & Gamble titled, Oral and Whole Body Health. This publication was written for the general public and identified the association of inflammatory processes in the mouth and how inflammation produces markers that can be tested by simple blood tests indicating inflammation. Inflammation in the mouth (periodontitis) has been linked to other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, low birth weight babies, and pneumonia acquired from hospital and nursing homes when intubation is used.[i] Since that publication, numerous studies and publications have shared with the public and the profession the concept that oral disease and inflammation can exacerbate other conditions in the body.
During the question and answer session, several hands go up asking about oral health and chemotherapy, tooth sensitivity, and discolored teeth. I then discuss specific recommendations based on their individual questions. I am excited about a new product launched by Crest to address tooth sensitivity. This product is unique in treatment delivery. Whereas most products aimed at tooth sensitivity take weeks to reduce pain, Crest Sensi-Stop Strips are applied to the gum line for ten minutes, providing immediate relief in a targeted area for up to one month of protection, according to Internal Market Research that the company has conducted. The product is applied similarly to tooth whitening products, which are familiar to many individuals. With 50% of US adults suffering from sensitive teeth and only 4 in 10 being satisfied with their current sensitivity toothpaste[ii], this product is innovative and needed to address this prevalent oral health issue. Personally, I have received feedback from individuals that are using the product with great success. I am pleased that Crest is addressing this critical issue for seniors. With the growing population of Baby Boomers, who still retain most of their teeth, this is indeed a gift. Many have reported how they can once again enjoy iced drinks or ice cream with their grandchildren. Thank you Crest for continuing to make a difference in the lives of our patients.
Linda Meeuwenberg, RDH, MA, MA, FADIA is an internationally recognized speaker and best-selling author. A frequent contributor to dental journals, she spends her time on the beaches in Brevard County and the Space Coast of Florida writing and developing educational programs for the lay public, as well, as continuing education for dental professionals. She serves as an Editorial Review Board member for Crest/Oral-B and has served as on the Oral-B Speakers Board and Advisory Panel. Linda is a 2009 Hygiene Hero and a 2012 Sunstar/RDH Award of Distinction Recipient for her numerous volunteer activities. She serves as the Vice President of the Brevard County Dental Hygiene Association and is an active member of the Cocoa Beach Area Regional Chamber of Commerce. For more information about the Crest Sensi-Stop Strips, ask your dental professional or visit the website www.crest.com.
I received compensation from Crest in exchange for providing this review of Crest’s products, but all opinions are my own.
[i] Scientific American, Inc., Procter & Gamble Company, and Oral-B. Oral and Whole Body Health. New York: Scientific American, 2006. Print.
[ii] Irwin CR, Internal (Procter & Gamble Company) Market Research H&P Data May 2013