Today, oral health is being recognized as more than just a set of oral cavity functions. Oral health can be defined as the overall health status of an individual that includes physical, psychological, and social well-being.
Dental supplements are used to supplement the diet with essential nutrients that may be lacking in the daily diet or for additional support (e.g., antioxidant properties). Today oral health has been recognized as an integral part of the body’s overall health condition, therefore oral supplementation is increasingly considered by many dental professionals to be an important adjunctive treatment modality alongside professional dental services such as toothpaste and mouthwashes. There are several different types of oral care supplements available including chewable tablets/ gummies; fluoride tablets or drops; oral sprays/gels; oral liquids and saliva stimulators.
Saliva is a liquid produced by the salivary glands that keep your mouth moist, helps break down food, and protects teeth from getting damaged. Dry mouth or xerostomia results when there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth to keep it moist.
It can cause irritation of the oral mucosa and pain in the oral cavity as well as problems with eating, speaking, and swallowing. The use of oral care supplements according to dental professionals can combat dry mouth symptomatically but also help improve long-term oral health conditions such as gingivitis.
Furthermore, saliva stimulants are recommended during professional dental services (such as teeth cleaning) because they help reduce discomfort caused by dry mouth.
Fluoride supplements are oral care products that contain the mineral fluorine in a highly active form. Fluorine is an essential component of oral health and it promotes dental growth by reducing tooth demineralization, strengthening bone tissue, and preventing the development of oral cavity diseases such as caries (tooth decay).
The use of oral fluoride supplementation according to dental professionals can significantly improve oral cavity condition through its protective effect against oral caries and other types of oral cavity diseases.
There are two types of fluoride supplements available: soluble- sodium fluoride drops; insoluble – tablets or powder. Sodium fluoride supplements release free fluorides into the oral cavity which provides long-lasting protection to teeth enamel while insoluble formulations prevent caries development through effects on oral cavity fluids and bacterial flora.
Mouthwash is an oral care product that can be used to clean the oral cavity after meals or it can also be used as a supplementary treatment to fluoride varnish or powder.
Oral health professionals recommend specific types of mouthwashes in order to eliminate bad breath, dental plaque, and oral bacteria, strengthen teeth enamel, gum tissue, and oral mucosa (gums).
Additionally, there are different types of mouthwashes available based on their therapeutic properties such as antibacterial agents; antiseptic ingredients; anti-inflammatory components; analgesic compounds; soothing/relaxing agents, etc.
There are several types of oral supplements available including but not limited to fluoride tablets, oral gels, oral sprays, oral liquids, and others. However, not all oral supplements are intended to be used for oral health purposes; some oral care supplements (e.g., dentitox pro, chewable tablets/ gummies) have a more nutritional character that can help promote general body nutrition or cognitive function.
The dental professional should consider several factors when selecting an oral supplement including specific needs of the patient as well as product characteristics such as active ingredient(s); therapeutic properties; dosage form; storage conditions; price, etc.
Oral supplements in general contribute to overall oral health by providing the necessary nutrients that may be lacking in people’s daily diets. Regarding fluoride supplementation, it is important to note that both sodium fluoride drops and soluble fluoride tablets can be used for oral health purposes. However, oral professionals recommend dropping sodium fluoride supplements while chewing or sucking because they release free fluorides which are directly absorbed by oral cavity tissues rather than being swallowed first and then absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract.
Sodium fluoride drops are recommended due to their immediate effects on oral cavity tissues whereas soluble fluoride tablets need to dissolve and mix with oral cavity fluids before releasing free fluorides and starting the oral protection process. Furthermore, the use of insoluble fluoride tablets requires special precautions such as keeping them away from the reach of children and consulting a dental professional about the correct dosage level since over-supplementation may result in fluorosis (tooth discoloration).