Sweet remedies for ulcers, snoring and even dementia!
‘There is nothing in these that would make a difference to snoring,’ says Alasdair Mace, an ENT specialist at London’s Imperial College
Snoreeze lozenges, £7.99, pack of 16
CLAIM: The formulation tones and lubricates the soft tissues at the back of the throat to provide snoring relief.
Dissolve on the tongue for immediate effect.
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘There is nothing in these that would make a difference to snoring,’ says Alasdair Mace, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Harley Street clinics.
‘They contain menthol and sage, but these will be washed away by saliva — so there will be no impact overnight.
‘It’s long been thought that menthol helps to clear nasal passages — a potential snoring cause — but studies show it does not affect airflow.
‘Snoring may result from an issue with the nose, the soft palate in the mouth, or the tongue falling back in the throat — all obstruct air flow.
‘None will be helped by sucking a lozenge.’
‘This product contains pure glucose, so gives a fast hit [3.7g per tab] when needed,’ says pharmacist Sid Dajani
Gluco Tabs Juicy Raspberry, 90p, pack of ten
CLAIM: Fast-acting glucose energy tablets with no artificial colours or preservatives. Chew one to three tablets when you need a burst of fast-acting glucose.
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘For people with diabetes who have low blood sugar, glucose tablets can be very effective,’ says Sid Dajani, a pharmacist in Eastleigh, Hampshire.
‘When someone’s blood sugar level drops too low — usually because the timing or dose of their medication wasn’t right — it’s vital to get it back up quickly.’ If you don’t, it can lead to dizziness, confusion and even death.
‘The only way to treat low blood sugar is to take a form of glucose [sugar],’ says Sid Dajani.
‘Most people would have jelly babies or fruit juice, but the sugar in such products — and even a standard sugar cube — is usually a combination of glucose and fructose [fruit sugar], and this takes longer to break down in the body.
‘This product contains pure glucose — as does Lucozade — so gives a fast hit [3.7g per tab] when needed.’
While the antibiotic tyrothricin may kill some bacteria, it’s unlikely to have much effect
Boots Anaesthetic & Antibiotic Throat Lozenges, £4, pack of 24
CLAIM: Anaesthetic to numb throat pain. Antibiotic to fight throat infection.
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘These are useful if you have a sore throat because they contain the anaesthetic benzocaine, however, the effect will be short-lasting,’ says ear, nose and throat expert Alasdair Mace.
‘But I don’t like anaesthetic lozenges as they numb the tongue. I find sprays such as Difflam (£6.99) or Ultra Chloraseptic (£5.99) more effective; they target the throat and are more likely to reach the tonsils, where the pain comes from.
While the antibiotic tyrothricin may kill some bacteria, it’s unlikely to have much effect as the dose isn’t high enough.
‘Most throat infections get better on their own anyway, so antibiotics won’t speed up your recovery.’
‘This is a great product for anybody who has dry mouth,’ says Dr Ben Atkins
Salivix salivary stimulant pastilles, £7.99, pack of 50
CLAIM: Helps combat the effects of dry mouth, from cancer treatment, and reduce mouth sores. It aids the production of saliva by stimulating ducts in the same way food does.
EXPERT VERDICT: Dr Ben Atkins, a dentist in Salford, Greater Manchester, and spokesman for the Oral Health Foundation, says: ‘This is a great product for anybody who has dry mouth, which often is a side-effect of medication — especially from blood pressure and depression tablets, or chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
‘While any sugar-free sweets will stimulate saliva production, saliva ducts can become damaged by cancer treatment and the malic acid in these pastilles could potentially offer more stimulation to kick them into action.
‘Anything that stimulates saliva will help with mouth sores. When you have less saliva, bacteria have more contact time with the inside of the mouth which can cause more sores.
‘These pastilles also contain xylitol, a sweetener proven to prevent tooth decay and erosion.’
Dissolves in the mouth to release a 2mg dose of nicotine to help satisfy that urge
Nicotinell Mint 2mg Lozenge, £13, pack of 96
CLAIM: Provides relief when the urge to smoke strikes. Dissolves in the mouth to release a 2mg dose of nicotine to help satisfy that urge. Most people use eight to 12 lozenges a day.
EXPERT VERDICT: Sid Dajani, a pharmacist in Eastleigh, says: ‘These are not very effective.
‘We often recommend a nicotine patch to provide a baseline level of nicotine, then another product — a nasal spray, inhaler, or gum — to give a quick “hit” if someone has a craving. But with the lozenge, it takes minutes to work, not seconds. So you may end up smoking again if you don’t get a fast enough hit.
‘Many complain about the taste. People with ulcers, mouth cancer or recent dental work should avoid replacement lozenges and gum as nicotine constricts blood vessels, slows healing and leads to infections.’
Clever: ‘An interesting idea with a very good rationale behind it,’ says Dr Trisha Macnair
Jelly Drops, price not yet available
CLAIM: Lewis Hornby, a 24-year-old engineering graduate, created sweets that are more than 90 per cent water to keep dementia patients hydrated.
A whole box (thought to be 21 Jelly Drops) provides half the necessary daily fluid intake. Lewis is fundraising to take them into production, visit just giving.com/crowdfunding/ caron-sprake
EXPERT VERDICT: Dr Trisha Macnair, an NHS doctor working in elderly and palliative care in Surrey, says: ‘An interesting idea with a very good rationale behind it — dementia patients can become very dehydrated.
‘As we get older, our senses of thirst and taste aren’t as strong. Dementia patients tend to be less mobile, so it can be harder for them to get up and get a drink. Dehydration can cause urinary tract infections and low blood pressure, which can lead to falls and confusion.
‘Whether these will be practical and affordable for everyday use remains to be seen. But there are other ways to help keep people hydrated: high-water-content foods such as soups and jelly, are cheap, practical solutions.’
Loaded: These contain benzalkonium chloride, which help inhibit bacterial growth
Iglü Sugar-Free Pastilles, £6.19, pack of 24
CLAIM: Dissolve slowly to soothe the pain and discomfort caused by mouth ulcers and sores. Antiseptic action helps to fight infection.
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘A good product to help ease the discomfort associated with a mouth ulcer, but it won’t get rid of it,’ says Dr Ben Atkins, a dentist in Salford and spokesman for the Oral Health Foundation.
‘They contain benzalkonium chloride, which can help inhibit bacterial growth, reducing the infection that caused the ulcer.
Usually a single ulcer is caused by biting the cheek or tongue or poor-fitting dentures. These are called “traumatic” ulcers.
If mouth ulcers keep coming back, it’s called recurrent aphthous stomatitis. An ulcer lasting several weeks should be checked by a dentist, as it can be a sign of something more serious.’
Did you know? Thyme dampens down one of the main cough receptors in the throat
Bronchostop Thyme Cough Pastilles, £7, pack of 40
CLAIM: Traditional herbal medicinal product [made with thyme] used for the relief of chesty coughs and dry, tickly, irritating coughs and catarrh. Non-drowsy.
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘Sucking a lozenge is like taking a linctus cough syrup — it helps to suppress the cough reflex by coating the throat,’ says Alyn Morice, a professor of respiratory medicine at the University of Hull.
‘There’s quite good research to support use of thyme — studies have shown it dampens down one of the main cough receptors [nerves that trigger coughing] in the throat. ‘In fact, the herb is already a widely used treatment in Germany for coughs and upper respiratory infections. Some people make thyme tea using fresh herbs and hot water — but I think taking it as a lozenge like this is better as you’ll get a set amount of thyme.
‘However, loose herbs can vary widely in preparation and strength, so the benefits you get from the remedy may vary.’
Short-term: These will help with dry mouth and temporarily mask bad breath
The Breath Co Mandarin Mint Fresh Breath Lozenges, £9, pack of 72
CLAIM: Clinically proven to stop bad breath. Also prevents dry mouth.
EXPERT VERDICT: ‘These will help with dry mouth and temporarily mask bad breath,’ says Dr Ben Atkins, a dentist in Salford and spokesman for the Oral Health Foundation.
‘They could work for longer than a standard mint as they have more ingredients.
‘Persistent bad breath is usually caused by smelly gases released by bacteria that coat your teeth, gums and tongue — or are caught between teeth. Bacteria on teeth and gums cause gum disease and tooth decay. One warning sign of gum disease is regular bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth.
‘If you have persistent bad breath and find you need to use such products a lot, you should get checked out by a dentist.’