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drymouth

The technical term for dry mouth is xerostomia (ZEER-oh-STOH-mee-ah)

What do I need to know about dry mouth?

Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while—if they are nervous, upset or under stress. But if you have a dry mouth all or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to serious health problems.

Dry mouth…

• can cause difficulties in tasting, chewing, swallowing, and speaking
• can increase your chance of developing dental decay and other infections in the mouth
• can be a sign of certain diseases and conditions
• can be caused by certain medications or medical treatments

Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. So if you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or physician—there are things you can do to get relief.

What is dry mouth?

Dry mouth is the condition of not having enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth wet.

Symptoms include:

• a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
• trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting, or speaking
• a burning feeling in the mouth
• a dry feeling in the throat
• cracked lips
• a dry, tough tongue
• mouth sores
• an infection in the mouth

Some people feel they have a dry mouth even if their salivary glands are working correctly. People with certain disorders, like Alzheimer’s disease or those who have suffered a stroke, may not be able to feel wetness in their mouth and may think their mouth is dry even though it is not.

Why is saliva so important?

Saliva does more than keep the mouth wet.

• It helps digest food
• It protects teeth from decay
• It prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth
• It makes it possible for you to chew and swallow Without enough saliva you can develop tooth decay or other infections in the mouth. You also might not get the nutrients you need if you
cannot chew and swallow certain foods.

What causes dry mouth?

People get dry mouth when the glands in the mouth that make saliva are not working properly. Because of this, there might not be enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. There are several reasons why these glands (called salivary glands) might not work right.

• Side effects of some medicines. More than 400 medicines can cause the salivary glands to make less saliva. Medicines for high blood pressure and depression often cause dry mouth.
• Disease. Some diseases affect the salivary glands. Sjögren’s Syndrome, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease can all cause dry mouth.
• Radiation therapy. The salivary glands can be damaged if they are exposed to radiation during cancer treatment.
• Chemotherapy. Drugs used to treat cancer can make saliva thicker, causing the mouth to feel dry.
• Nerve Damage. Injury to the head or neck can damage the nerves that tell salivary glands to make saliva.

What can be done about dry mouth?

Dry mouth treatment will depend on what is causing the problem. If you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or physician. He or she can try to determine what is causing your dry mouth.

• If your dry mouth is caused by medicine, your physician might change your medicine or adjust the dosage.
• If your salivary glands are not working right but can still produce some saliva, your physician or dentist might give you a medicine that helps the glands work better.
• Your physician or dentist might suggest that you use artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet.

What can I do?

• Sip water or sugarless drinks often.
• Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and some sodas. Caffeine can dry out the mouth.
• Sip water or a sugarless drink during meals. This will make chewing and swallowing easier. It may also improve the taste of food.
• Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow; citrus, cinnamon or mint-flavored candies are good choices.
• Don’t use tobacco or alcohol. They dry out the mouth.
• Be aware that spicy or salty foods may cause pain in a dry mouth.
• Use a humidifier at night.

Tips for keeping your teeth healthy

Remember, if you have dry mouth, you need to be extra careful to keep your teeth healthy. Make sure you:

• Gently brush your teeth at least twice a day.
• Floss your teeth every day.
• Use toothpaste with fluoride in it. Most toothpastes sold at grocery and drug stores have fluoride in them.
• Avoid sticky, sugary foods. If you do eat them, brush immediately afterwards.
• Visit your dentist for a check-up at least twice a year. Your dentist might give you a special fluoride solution that you can rinse with to help keep your teeth healthy.

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Ask your dental hygienist.

The recent surgeon general’s report on oral health confirms the importance of oral health to total health.

babyPremature, Low-Birthweight Babies

Studies have found that expectant mothers with periodontal (gum) disease are seven times more likely to deliver premature, low-birthweight babies than women who don’t have the disease.

cancerHeart disease

Cardiovascular disease affects 57 million people in the 5.3. And kills almost a million people each year. Recent studies have shown that a patient with periodontal (gum) disease is twice as likely to develop heart disease as one without the condition.

Untitled-4Oral cancer

Cancer is more common than Leukemia; Skin Melanoma; Hodgkin’s disease; and Cancers of the brain, liver, bone, thyroid gland, stomach, ovaries, and cervix; and is typically caused by long-term use of tobacco products and alcohol. One of the most important parts of a regular oral health exam is a thorough oral cancer screening.

diabetesDiabetes

Periodontal disease is one of the major complications of diabetes. In fact, approximately 95 percent of Americans who suffer from diabetes also have periodontal disease.

October of this year will be national dental hygiene month – a great time to visit your registered dental hygienist for a thorough mouth exam and to learn more about how oral conditions affect your overall health.

Content courtesy adha.org

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People used to think that as you got older you naturally lost your teeth. We now know that’s not true. By following easy steps for keeping your teeth and gums –healthy plus seeing your dentist
regularly—you can have your teeth for a lifetime!

Plaque: What is it?

Plaque is made up of invisible masses of harmful germs that live in the mouth and stick to the teeth.

  • Some types of plaque cause tooth decay.
  • Other types of plaque cause gum disease.

Red, puffy or bleeding gums can be the first signs of gum disease. If gum disease is not treated, the tissues holding the teeth in place are destroyed and the teeth are eventually lost.

Dental plaque is difficult to see unless it’s stained, You can stain plaque by chewing red “disclosing tablets,” found at grocery stores and drug stores, or by using a cotton swab to smear green food coloring on your teeth. The red or green color left on the teeth will show you where there is still plaque—and where you have to brush again to remove it.

Stain and examine your teeth regularly to make sure you are removing all plaque. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist if your plaque removal techniques are o.k.

Step 1 – Floss

Floss Use floss to remove germs and food particles between teeth. Rinse.

floss-steps

Step 2 – Brush Teeth

howtobrush

Use any tooth brushing method that is comfortable, but do not scrub hard back and forth. Small circular motions and short back and forth motions work well. Rinse. To prevent decay, it’s what’s on the toothbrush that counts. Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is what protects teeth from decay. Brush the tongue for a fresh feeling! Rinse again. Remember: Food residues, especially sweets, provide nutrients for the germs that cause tooth decay, as well as those that cause gum disease. That’s why it is important to remove all food residues, as well as plaque, from teeth. Remove plaque at least once a day—twice a day is better. If you brush and floss once daily, do it before going to bed.

Another way of removing plaque between teeth is to use a dental pick— or a thin plastic, metal, or wooden stick. These picks can be purchased at drug stores and grocery stores.

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Each member of your dental health care team plays an important role.

Dentist

As the leader of your oral health team, your dentist brings years of specialized education to understanding your oral health. Only dentists can examine your teeth, gums and mouth, and recognize any problems that could affect your overall health.

They have the training and skills to:

  • examine and diagnose your oral condition;
  • recommend and carry out treatment;
  • look for signs of oral cancer—and often be the first to spot them;
  • help you understand oral health care and its importance, helping you to keep your teeth healthy and comfortable for your entire lifetime;
  • inform you about postoperative care options; and
  • perform emergency or required procedures—and help you determine a long-term treatment plan that meets your needs and circumstances.

Dental Therapist

In some jurisdictions, dental therapists work with dentists to provide community-based preventive oral health programs. They also perform basic dental treatment and preventive services as well as providing patient assistance and referrals.

Dental Hygienist

The dental hygienist is registered and trained to clean your teeth and to help you develop a home-care routine tailored to your needs.

Regulations vary from province to province, but a dental hygienist’s work often includes:

  • taking x-rays;
  • taking dental impressions; and
  • cleaning, polishing and applying fluoride to your teeth.

In some jurisdictions, the dental hygienist may also be allowed to perform a basic exam.

Dental Assistant

This is the team member who prepares you for treatment, sterilizes instruments, assists your dentist and helps keep your mouth dry during procedures. In some jurisdictions, a dental assistant may also take x-rays and dental impressions, and polish and apply fluoride to your teeth.

Receptionists and Business Staff

Receptionists maintain the dental team’s schedules and allow the office to run smoothly. The receptionist is usually your first point of contact and may often provide you with general information about your appointment and billing.

To meet learn more about your Westway Dental health care team, click here.

Content courtesy cda-adc.ca

diabetes1

Diabetes can cause serious problems in your mouth. However you can do something about it.

If you have diabetes, make sure you take care of your mouth. People with diabetes are at risk for mouth infections, especially periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease can damage the gum and bone that hold your teeth in place and may lead to painful chewing problems. Some people with serious gum disease lose their teeth. Periodontal disease may also make it hard to control your blood glucose (blood sugar).

Other problems diabetes can cause are dry mouth and a fungal infection called thrush. Dry mouth happens when you do not have enough saliva—the fluid that keeps your mouth wet. Diabetes may also cause the glucose level in your saliva to increase. Together, these problems may lead to thrush, which causes painful white patches in your mouth.
If your diabetes is not under control, you are more likely to develop problems in your mouth. The good news is you can keep your teeth and gums healthy. By controlling your blood glucose, brushing and flossing every day, and visiting a dentist regularly, you can help prevent serious problems in your mouth.
Take steps to keep your mouth healthy. Call your dentist when you notice a problem.

If you have diabetes, follow these steps:

  • Control your blood glucose.
  • Brush and floss every day.
  • Visit your dentist regularly. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes.
  • Tell your dentist if your dentures (false teeth) do not fit right, or if your gums are sore.
  • Quit smoking. Smoking makes gum disease worse. Your physician or dentist can help you quit.
  • Take time to check your mouth regularly for any problems. Sometimes people notice that their gums bleed when they brush and floss. Others notice dryness, soreness, white patches, or a bad taste in the mouth. All of these are reasons to visit your dentist.
  • Remember, good blood glucose control can help prevent mouth problems.

Content courtesy: www.nidcr.nih.gov

chipped-tooth-smile

If you have a chipped tooth, you might not feel any tooth pain unless the chip is large enough to expose the nerves in the inner layer of the tooth. If a chipped tooth exposes the nerves inside a tooth, you might notice increased tooth sensitivity and pain when chewing or when the chipped tooth is exposed to very hot or very cold food and beverages. A chip on one of the pointed chewing surfaces of the back teeth is called a broken cusp. This type of chipped tooth is rarely painful, but it should be examined by a dental professional. You might need a crown or a dental onlay to restore the shape of the tooth and prevent further damage or decay.

Causes Of A Chipped Tooth

The possible causes of a chipped tooth include:

  • Falling and hitting your mouth
  • Biting on a hard object or food, such as a hard candy or a bone
  • Suffering trauma to the face from a sports injury or accident
  • Cavities which can weaken the teeth and predispose you to a chipped tooth

Immediate Care For A Chipped Tooth

If you have a chipped tooth, make an appointment to see your dental professional as soon as possible. Meanwhile, follow these steps:

  • Rinse: Rinse your mouth with warm water.
  • Press: If there is any bleeding in your mouth as a result of a chipped tooth, use a piece of gauze to apply pressure to the area.
  • Cover: If you can’t see a dental professional the same day that your chipped tooth occurs, cover the chipped tooth with dental cement (available at most drugstores) to protect the remaining tooth until your appointment.

Professional Care For A Chipped Tooth

Treatment of a chipped tooth depends on the size and severity of the injury:

    • Small: If the chip in your tooth is very small, your dental professional might simply smooth and polish the chipped tooth, and no additional treatment will be needed.
    • Medium: If your chipped tooth involves minor damage to the tooth enamel, your dental professional will probably place a filling, crown, or cap over the chipped tooth to restore its normal appearance and function and to protect the inner layers of the teeth from irritation and infection.
  • Large: If your chipped tooth is large enough to expose the tooth nerve, you will likely need a root canal to remove the damaged nerve, plus a crown or cap to replace the chipped tooth. (1), (2)

Your Dental Care After A Chipped Tooth Treatment

After treatment for a chipped tooth, it is important to maintain a regular oral care routine.

Content courtesy crest.com

FluorideTrays07-05-05

Did you know that your teeth have a built-in defense system to help protect them from cavities and tooth decay? It’s called enamel and it forms a hard, protective shell over the surface of your teeth. However, bacteria can eat away at tooth enamel if you don’t properly clean and take care of your mouth. Dentists recommend receiving regular fluoride treatments to help strengthen your enamel and reverse the effects of tooth decay. Fluoride treatments can also help children develop strong, healthy teeth for years to come.

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that can be found naturally in food and water. Fluoride treatments help strengthen tooth enamel and repair any holes in it by replacing the nutrients that are lost over time. After your teeth have been exposed to fluoride, they tend to become more resistant to acid, making it less likely that they will decay in the future.

What are the benefits of fluoride?

Fluoride’s primary benefit is that it helps prevent tooth decay. It can also reverse erosion that has already taken place. If plaque forms on the teeth and eats away at the enamel, fluoride treatments can replace the minerals in the enamel that have eroded. This allows teeth to remain healthy.

Fluoride treatments are especially important for children under the age of six. Even though these young children don’t have their permanent teeth yet, fluoride treatments can prevent bacteria build-up around the gums, fight gingivitis, and help establish long-term dental health.

Fluoride treatments are even more important if you require special oral care. Anyone who wears braces should receive fluoride treatments regularly to prevent bacteria from getting trapped underneath the wires. People who are undergoing radiation for cancer in the head or neck should also make it a priority to have fluoride treatments since radiation can damage glands in the mouth that produce saliva. Saliva is necessary to neutralize the harmful acids that are released as we chew and it stops food particles from making direct contact with your teeth. The less saliva you have in your mouth, the more susceptible you are to tooth decay.

Types of fluoride supplements

There are several ways to increase the amount of fluoride in your system. One of the most common ways is to use toothpaste that is enriched with fluoride.

You can also buy fluoride gels to use at home. Apply the gel directly to your mouth and let it sit for several minutes, then rinse out your mouth with water. You should avoid eating or drinking for 30 minutes after you apply this gel. Some gels are available over-the-counter and are typically meant to be used in conjunction with fluoride toothpaste. If you need a stronger dose of fluoride, your dentist will be able to prescribe a gel for you.

Finally, your dentist may provide a fluoride treatment during a routine checkup. During the treatment, your dentist will fill a mouth guard with flavored fluoride. For the fluoride to properly stick to your teeth, you should wear the mouth guard for up to four minutes. Then your dentist will remove the guard and rinse out your mouth. Some dentists also use a varnish or foam, which they paint directly onto your teeth. You should avoid eating, drinking or smoking for 30 minutes after the treatment.

Fluoride therapy for children

Although fluoride is highly beneficial for children, it also has certain risks. Dentists give fluoride treatments to children to aid with the development of healthy permanent teeth and to lower the risk of tooth decay. However, if children are exposed to too much fluoride, it can cause a condition called fluorosis. Fluorosis causes teeth to become brown and can actually cause tooth decay.

Children should use fluoridated toothpaste at home twice a day. However, parents need to monitor their children’s brushing to ensure that they do not use too much toothpaste. Children over the age of two should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. This is especially important when dealing with young children because they tend to swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it out. Children under the age of two should not brush their teeth by themselves. As their parent, you should use a soft bristle brush to apply fluoridated toothpaste to their teeth and help them rinse out their mouth.

In some cases, dentists may also prescribe fluoride supplements for children. Dentists usually only prescribe supplements to children who have a high risk of tooth decay, including children who eat a lot of sugary foods or children who don’t get enough nutritional fluoride in their diet. Fluoride supplements are used sparingly in children because of the risk of overdose. If your child needs fluoride supplements, make sure to keep the supplements out of his or her reach and follow all directions provided by your child’s dentist.

Many recent studies have demonstrated that when used correctly, fluoride treatments greatly help reduce the risk of tooth decay, especially in young children. It’s important to make sure your teeth get enough fluoride so that you won’t get cavities. Most adults can take care of their teeth by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. If you are concerned about whether you’re getting enough fluoride, talk to your dentist about supplements. Your dentist will let you know if they are necessary and prescribe the proper dosage.

Content courtesy humana.com

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