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Monday, August 13, 2018

Dry mouth is a common problem that can harm your teeth

If your saliva flow is reduced, this can cause dry mouth which often leads to increased tooth and gum problems.
Dry mouth known as xerostomia – is a common problem especially among older adults. Its caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.
The common problems associated with dry mouth include:
– Constant sore throat
– Burning sensation
– Problems speaking
– Difficulty swallowing
– Hoarseness or dry nasal passages
When there is not enough saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, there is a risk of extensive tooth decay.
If you are at risk from this condition, your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture.
For example, sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses.
As dry mouth is a potential side effect of many prescribed and over-the-counter medications it is a very common problem.
These medications can include antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinsons disease medications, antidepressants and many others.
Fortunately there are many simple solutions available to reduce the risk to your oral health caused by dry mouth so talk to your dentist if you are on any kind of medication or you feel you may be at risk from this issue.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Common mouth sores: causes and cures

Mouth sores can be very annoying and painful and can have many causes.
The causes can range from infections – bacterial, viral or fungal – to a loose orthodontic wire or a denture that doesn’t fit or a sharp edge from a broken tooth or filling.
But mouth sores may be symptoms of an underlying disease or problem.
So, if you’ve had any mouth sore that lasts a week or longer, its a good idea to get your dentist to check it out.
Here are some of the most common mouth sores:
Canker sores: These are small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. They appear inside the mouth and are not contagious though they often return. Problems such as poor immune systems, viruses or fatigue and stress may be involved. They usually heal on their own after a week or two.
Cold sores: Cold sores are annoying and painful. They are also known as fever blisters or Herpes simplex and are groups of fluid-filled blisters. They often erupt around the lips and sometimes under the nose or around the chin. Cold sores caused by herpes virus type 1 are very contagious and the virus stays in the body. Cold sore blisters usually heal in a week by themselves.
Candidiasis: This fungal infection (also called moniliasis or oral thrush) occurs when the yeast Candida albicans reproduce in large numbers. It is common among denture wearers and people who have dry mouth syndrome are very susceptible to it. The focus is on preventing it or controlling the conditions that caused the outbreak.
Any mouth sores that last more than a few days should be checked with your dentist.

Monday, July 30, 2018

What dentists are doing to improve services for older adults

As people are living longer and enjoying good health for many years, dentists are increasingly offering improved services to recognize the special needs of older adults.
This growing segment of the population is wearing fewer dentures and they are keeping their natural teeth longer. They are also concerned to maintain good health and a great smile for many years.
However, patients in this group sometimes require special consideration because reduced mobility and dexterity may make daily oral hygiene difficult.
And certain medical conditions and impairment may make them more anxious when visiting the dentist.
For example, problems with vision or hearing loss may cause worry. Always let the dentist and staff know if you have any concerns so that they can adjust their treatment and their pace to meet your needs.
Older patients can sometimes put up with problems such as toothaches, bleeding gums and clicking dentures because they are not aware of the wide range of treatments and techniques now available.
Dentists are increasingly sensitive to the special needs of and the importance of dental health in the older patient.
As many older patients are more health conscious than ever before, regular visits to the dentist ensure their oral health is an important part of their overall health.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Treating Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth is a common problem that causes many people to feel discomfort with hot or cold foods and drinks.
It can also make it uncomfortable to brush or floss the teeth and therefore can lead to further oral problems.
However, sensitive teeth can be treated.
If you suffer from this, your dentist may suggest that you try a desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve.
For desensitizing toothpaste to work, you normally have to make several applications.
If the desensitizing toothpaste does not help, your dentist may suggest further solutions.
For example, fluoride gel – which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations – may be applied to the sensitive areas of the teeth.
If the sensitivity is caused by receding gums, your dentist may use bonding agents that “seal” the sensitive teeth.
The sealer is usually made of a plastic material.
If there is severe hypersensitivity which cannot be treated by other means, there is the option of endodontic (root canal) treatment.
Sensitive teeth is a problem that can stop you enjoying your food but is one that can often be solved.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Tips for people with difficulty handling a toothbrush

There are many people who find it difficult to look after their dental health properly because they have problems handling a toothbrush.
This can be due to a severe physical disability or simply basic dexterity problems.
There are a few simple steps you can take to make it easier for people who find it difficult to hold on to a toothbrush or dental floss.
Here are some simple ‘home remedies’:
– Use a wide elastic band to attach the brush to the hand
– Enlarge the brush handle with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle handle grip
– Wind an elastic bandage or adhesive tape around the handle
– Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, popsicle stick or tongue depressor
– Tie floss into a loop for easier handling
– Use an electric toothbrush or commercial floss holder
Your dentist will be able to provide specific guidance and further tips for people who need an easier way to handle a toothbrush and floss.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Is it safe to have an X-ray while pregnant?

Some women worry about whether it's safe to have an X-ray exam while they are pregnant.
This can cause them to put off treatment they need.
However, untreated dental infections can pose a risk to the fetus, and dental treatment may be necessary to maintain the health of the mother and child. Sometimes this will mean an X-ray is necessary.
Radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low but every precaution is taken to minimize radiation exposure.
For example, a leaded apron reduces exposure to the abdomen and should be used when a dental radiograph is taken.
In addition, a leaded thyroid collar can protect the thyroid from radiation, and should be used whenever possible. The use of a leaded thyroid collar is strongly recommended for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and children.
Overall there is no reason to avoid dental radiographs (X-rays) while pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to become pregnant.
Follow your dentist's advice and ask questions if you have any concerns.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Why your routine dental cleaning is not routine

For many patients, the dental cleaning appointment may seem little more than a more complicated version of brushing your teeth.
However, this appoinment plays a crucial role in patient education and prevention of dental disease.
The appointment is called a dental prophylaxis, or prophy and it’s one of the most important steps in your dental care program.
Here are some of the elements that it may include, depending on your needs:
– Oral hygiene evaluation
– Tooth brushing and flossing instructions
– Scaling above the gum to remove plaque and tartar
– Debridement of tartar beneath the gum
– Polishing the teeth
– Periodontal charting
It’s important to remove plaque from the teeth as it ultimately forms a hard, rough sediment known as tartar or calculus, which must be removed by a dental professional to help prevent periodontal disease.
Polishing the teeth removes stains and creates a feeling of fresh breath and a clean mouth.
The hygienist or dentist may recommend a prophylaxis visit every two to six months.
Although insurance may only cover two prophies a year, recall frequency depends on many factors and should be based on individual needs.
These appointments can help you have much better dental health and could save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.