Being able to identify Xerostomia in its early stages can help detect other diseases, such as Lupus and Syogren’s Syndrome, the latter being a life-threatening condition that is often left undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. With the ability to diagnose dry mouth, you’ll ultimately help improve your patients’ general health and well-being and possibly detect underlying health conditions at the same time. This will help ease your patients’ minds and allow them to take prompt action to get their health under control. BokaFlo is a groundbreaking device that allows dental practitioners to easily and accurately measure saliva flow. To learn more about this device, we conducted an interview with Porter Jones. CEO of Boka Sciences.
1. Can you tell us more about BokaFlo?
BokaFlo is Boka Sciences proprietary device that allows a clinician to test a patient’s salivary flow at chair-side in a little over 60 seconds. The innovative BokaFlo device helps the dentist quickly and accurately measure how much healthy and protective saliva a patient has in their mouth. This information allows the dentist to determine if the patient has xerostomia, or more commonly referred to as dry mouth. Once the salivary flow is accurately measured, the dentist is then able to create and individualized care plan to adequately treat the patient.
2. What is Xerostomia? And what health effects could it have on the patient?
Even though 25% of adults have xerostomia, including 50% of adults over age 60, most people don’t know they have it.
Xerostomia (also called dry mouth) happens when your mouth doesn’t make enough saliva. Certain diseases and medications can cause dry mouth, or make dry mouth worse.
Saliva plays an important role in your mouth. It keeps your mouth healthy and clean, protects your teeth, and prevents bacteria from growing.
If your mouth doesn’t make enough saliva, you’re more likely to develop:
- Gingivitis & Periodontal disease
- Bad breath
- Tooth loss
- Difficulty swallowing, chewing, sleeping, and talking
Dry mouth could be a sign of more serious health problems as well, including:
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Oral Cancer
Identifying and treating xerostomia at an early stage is critical to prevent oral health complications. There are many treatment options that the dentist can provide, including:
- In-office fluoride varnish
- Use of prescription strength fluoride gel at home
- Use of prescription strength super-saturated calcium phosphate rinse
- Use of pilocarpine or cevimeline
Through periodic patient follow-ups and following the recommended treatment plan, the patient can both prevent oral health complications through protective factors along with increasing baseline salivary flow. Both these mechanisms will prevent future dental complications.
4. How could your technology aid in identifying Xerostomia in its early stages?
We recommend that you get your salivary flow tested every time you visit the dentist. Before dry mouth is noticed by a patient, more than 50% of salivary flow has already been lost. At these levels a patient will already see an increase in cavities, amongst other complications. We are finding that approximately 65% of all patients have below normal salivary flow. Through the early detection and diagnosis of dry mouth, dental complications can be maintained to a minimum.
5. How can BokaFlo improve the revenue of the dental office?
We are seeing numerous forms of revenue coming from the use of the BokaFlo device. Some dental offices directly charge for the test, while others offer it as a part of the 6-month check-up. Additionally, sales of fluoride varnish, fluoride gel and professional strength oral rinses drastically increase with the use of the BokaFlo device.
6. Where do you see Xerostomia diagnosis and treatment after 5-years?
I believe that in 5-years every patient that goes to the dentist will be tested with the BokaFlo device. Xerostomia testing and diagnosis will be the essential component and backbone of preventative dentistry. I also fully believe that treatment options will drastically evolve due to the advent of the BokaFlo device. Prior to BokaFlo, the dentist really didn’t have an accurate and effective way to diagnose xerostomia. As more patients get tested it is only natural that the need and demand for treatment options will increase. Eventually, it will be common knowledge that with good salivary flow you simply won’t have many dental issues thus testing and treating xerostomia will be as ubiquitous as measuring and treating high blood pressure.
7. What recommendations would you like to provide those willing to enter this industry?
Innovation and education are the two most important factors for success. An entire new industry is developing focused around prevention in dentistry. Boka Sciences looks forward to new players and entrants into the industry to help push forward the knowledge and understanding that the future of dentistry is in prevention.
This interview has been sponsored by Boka Sciences
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