May 16th, 2013
Does your mouth always feel like it’s dry? If it does you may be suffering from xerostomia. Xerostomia is defined as dry mouth resulting from reduced or absent saliva flow. There are various medical conditions that can cause this type of dry mouth, which you can ask more questions next time you visit us at Sandy Point Dental.
Xerostomia can factor into both minor and more serious health problems. It can affect the ability to eat and enjoy food and it can jeopardize one’s dental health. Some of the more common symptoms can include sore throat, burning sensation in the oral cavity or tongue, and difficulty swallowing.
One of the more serious problems associated with dry mouth is an increased risk of tooth decay. Decrease in saliva causes more plaque to form and there is less saliva to act as a buffer to the things we eat and drink. Less saliva also means more food debris is retained in the mouth. These things can lead to an increase in tooth decay.
There are several things that may cause xerostomia. Among the biggest culprits are prescription medications. Some examples are antihistamines, antidepressants, anti-hypertensives, anti-anxiety agents, anti-diarrheals, bronchodilators, and muscle relaxers.
Certain diseases can also cause dry mouth. The more common ones include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, diabetes, hypertension, and thyroid disease. Xerostomia is also common in patients being treated for cancer. Head and neck radiation as well as certain chemotherapy drugs can cause severe dry mouth.
What should you do if you are experiencing dry mouth symptoms? First make sure to hydrate with plenty of water. If you are taking medications that cause xerostomia, make sure to drink water before taking the medication as well as a full glass of water with the medication. Be diligent with brushing and flossing and discuss your condition at your next appointment with Drs. Calabrese and McNerney. We can recommend specific products to help moisten the oral cavity and reduce your symptoms such as saliva substitutes, xylitol products, and certain toothpastes. Another option may be a prescription home fluoride treatment to help prevent new cavities. You may want to try gum or candies to stimulate saliva flow but make sure they are sugar free! Avoid food and beverages that dehydrate such as caffeine and alcohol.
Xerostomia is a common problem that is currently on the rise. Our team can help you to reduce any symptoms and improve your comfort while living with a dry mouth.
May 9th, 2013
Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed that your teeth looked longer? Does it seem like your gums are shrinking? This condition is called recession—many adults have it. Let’s look at some of the causes and what you can do about it.
During your routine exams at Sandy Point Dental, the dental hygienist takes measurements to check for periodontal disease. Dental professionals take recession measurements to see how much attached gingiva is present. This is the kind of tissue that is most resilient to infection.
The more recession, the less attached gingiva. The less attached gingiva, the less bone support. The less bone support, the higher your chances of tooth loss. It is quite a domino effect.
Don’t lose hope. The effect can be halted once you know the cause of your recession.
Do you ever wake up with your jaw clenched, and/or a headache that originates just above your ears? Clenching or grinding your teeth can cause recession. When there is added stress on a tooth, it flexes at the gum line.
Over time this causes microscopic breaks in the enamel and then a notch appears. The gum line is forced to move away from its original position. If this is something you see in your mouth, we can discuss the possibility of an occlusal guard at your next visit.
How do you brush your teeth? Do you brush in a straight line or circles? What kind of bristles do you use? Are the bristles on your toothbrush frayed?
When you brush in a circle, you are sweeping all along the gum line, removing the plaque from most angles. When you brush in a straight line, you may often miss the concave portion of the gums. This leaves plaque behind and leads to gingivitis. Whenever gingivitis occurs, the body attacks supporting structures like bone while trying to get rid of the infection. This is periodontal disease, which can cause recession.
Recession may also result from an irritant on the gums, such as a bar from a partial denture or orthodontic appliance (braces).
Gums do not “grow back.” The most common treatment for advanced recession is a tissue graft. There are many different kinds of tissue grafts.
Other factors can cause recession. If you think recession is happening in your mouth, schedule an appointment with Drs. Calabrese and McNerney to discuss your options, so you can make the appropriate treatment choice.
May 6th, 2013
Did you know the month of May is designated National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? After all, there isn’t a better time to celebrate physical activity as when the warm weather and sunshine makes its way back into our lives!
Now that the flowers are in bloom and the weather has warmed up, it’s easier to go outside and soak up the sun. After spending the winter working out in gyms or doing crunches at home, exercising outdoors can be a lot more enjoyable as well. Whether you enjoy hikes, jogging, or biking, spring gives us a chance to smell the grass, take in the rays, and enjoy the blue sky—all senses that we just can’t duplicate at the gym.
If jogging or biking isn’t your cup of tea, we encourage you to try a sport! Sports have some amazing qualities that we often overlook. Team sports like baseball and soccer, and individual sports like golf and tennis can improve your coordination and agility, in addition to building determination, confidence, drive, hard-work, pride, leadership, and time management.
We always encourage our patients to stay fit by exercising or participating in sports. However, we want to remind you to always wear a mouthguard or other form of facial protection when playing sports. To learn more about how often your child should exercise, or to ask us about obtaining a mouthguard, please give us a call!
April 25th, 2013
Cheese, as our team at Sandy Point Dental will tell you, is one of the healthiest snacks for your child’s teeth. In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also helps fight cavities. Cheese helps stimulate the body’s salivary glands to clear your child’s mouth of debris and protect them from acids that weaken them. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal. Calcium and phosphorous found in cheese reduce or prevent decreases in the plaque’s pH level and work to re-mineralize the enamel of your child’s teeth, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
We hope this helps! If you or your child have any questions about cheese or calcium, or want to schedule an appointment, please give us a call!