Achildhood scuffle over a bicycle left Martha Rowe with years of pain from hairline facial fractures.
It also led to her career as a speech pathologist and to developing a solution to her debilitating dry mouth condition, caused by multiple bouts of surgery to repair her fractured face.
“It was only when I was in the same situation as many of my patients that I understood that the products I’d been prescribing really didn’t work,” Martha admits. “That’s when I started looking deeply at the science and what could be done.”
Having graduated from Latrobe University as a speech pathologist in 2000, Martha worked with patients suffering from severe dry mouth (called xerostomia) and other symptoms such as cracked lips, mouth ulcers and infections. Her understanding of the serious health impacts of dry mouth became apparent when working in aged care where cases of malnutrition and dehydration due to loss of appetite and difficulty swallowing are distressing but not uncommon.
While up to a quarter of older people have dry mouth, age is not the only factor. Up to one in 10 Australians regularly experience severe dry mouth. Pollution and environmental factors can contribute. It is often a side effect of prescription medications, infection, nerve problems and some cancer treatments that may damage the normal function of the salivary gland.For Martha Rowe, the need for a better, more effective product to deal with her own dry mouth issues as well as her medical and scientific background drove her to look for answers. She started experimenting with natural oils and papaya products in her kitchen – a story that mirrors the origins of another Australian success story, specialist food and beverage manufacturer, Flavour Creations.
Familiar with Flavour Creations’ quality range of thickened and nutritional products, Martha reached out in 2017 to award-winning business leader Bernadette Eriksen, who had started the company 22 years ago in her own kitchen.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Impressed by Martha’s moral and ethical business approach and touched by her personal story, Bernadette Eriksen assigned Flavour Creations scientists to develop, refine and test Martha’s formula and bring the new Osmist dry mouth spray to the market.