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Supporting the Health of Patients With Gastroparesis

Gastroparesis (GP) is a rare and often debilitating disorder with no known cure. Due to the complex nature of GP, patients are at high risk of experiencing several adverse oral conditions including but not limited to hyposalivation, erosive tooth wear, dentinal hypersensitivity, dental caries, and oral manifestations specifically related to malnutrition. Though evidence-based dental protocols are developing on this topic, dental hygienists are well prepared to critically assess and comprehensively manage the common oral side effects of GP.

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Gastroparesis (GP) is a rare and debilitating gastrointestinal motility disorder that results in the complete or partial paralysis of stomach muscles. 

Woman stomach anatomy in 3D janulla / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Recent data suggest that GP impacts approximately what percentage of the United States population?

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GP is predominantly observed in women (66% to 80%), and is more prevalent among white people compared to other racial groups.

Woman with hands on stomach suffering from pain Milos Dimic / E+
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Which of the following increases patients’ risk of developing erosive tooth wear, dentinal hypersensitivity, and dental caries?

Young beautiful woman casual white sweater over isolated background with hand on stomach because indigestion, painful illness feeling unwell. AaronAmat / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Dental hygienists must further recognize how the etiologies of erosive tooth wear, dental hypersensitivity, and dental caries differ. 

Horizontal color close-up image of young woman having dental exam. yoh4nn / E+
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Understanding the full extent of the patient’s diagnosis and/or underlying health condition, current GP symptoms and status, dietary modifications, and medications will help the dental hygienist to comprehensively develop a care plan.

Vector illustration of cartoon young woman with slim body in underwear over the overweight body silhouette surrounded by healthy lifestyle icons. Isolated on green background. Nadzeya_Dzivakova / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Patients at high risk for erosive tooth wear, dental hypersensitivity, caries, and hyposalivation should use extra-soft toothbrushes, fluoride- and/or casein-based products, saliva substitutes, and products containing xylitol. 

Stylish natural eco friendly toothbrushes with wooden bamboo handle in glass on white background. Oral hygiene concept. Copy space. Reduce plastic waste, sustainable lifestyle. PippiLongstocking / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Supporting the Health of Patients With Gastroparesis
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This information is from the article “Treating Patients With Gastroparesis,” by Valerie Nieto, RDH, MS; Kristin Peltz, RDH, BSDH; and Danielle Rulli, RDH, MS, DHSc . To read the article, click here.

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