What’s up with thickeners?
The use of thickeners is a compensatory measure. They’re for pulmonary safety rather than swallow rehabilitation.
Most thickeners are now gum-based rather than starch-based. Why? Well, the starch-based thickeners aren’t amylase resistant. This meant that if a person with dysphagia held the thickened drink in their mouth for longer than usual, the enzyme amylase produced in the saliva, would break down the starch and… make the drink thinner!
I’ve often wondered if some people with dysphagia ended up on really thick drinks because they were ‘holding’ and by the time they swallowed it, it was about right. Ugh.
The gum-based thickeners solved that problem. And they look slightly better given that they’re clear.
Some of the prescribed thickeners you may have come across include;
and not on prescription;