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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Why dry mouth can be a problem and what to do about it

Your saliva plays an important role in your oral health and reduced saliva flow can lead to health problems.
Reduced saliva flow can lead to a dry mouth and this is a common problem among older adults.
It can be caused by various medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.
Dry mouth can be associated with various problems such as a constant sore throat, burning sensation, problems speaking, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or dry nasal passages.
Drying irritates the soft tissues in the mouth, which can make them inflamed and more susceptible to infection. Without the cleansing effects of saliva, tooth decay and other oral health problems become more common.
So, if dry mouth is not treated, it can damage your teeth.
Without adequate saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food, and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive decay can occur.
Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture. Sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Maintaining proper nutrition as an older adult

Maintaining proper nutrition is important for everyone, young or old but many older adults find it difficult to eat a balanced diet.
They may avoid meats, raw vegetables and fresh fruits because they have trouble chewing or swallowing.
These problems can be caused by painful teeth, ill-fitting dentures, dry mouth or changes in facial muscles.
Others find their sense of taste has changed, sometimes due to a disease or certain medications.
As a result, older adults often have diets lacking in calcium, protein and other nutrients essential to dental and overall health.
A balanced diet has to be based on the five food groups:
– Milk and dairy products
– Breads and cereals
– Meats and dried beans
– Fruits
– Vegetables
Sometimes a multi-vitamin or mineral supplement will help but its best to use supplements only after discussion with your physician.
If your teeth are stopping you from eating the food you enjoy or that you need for good health your dentist will be able to help you find a solution.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

How cancer treatment can affect your oral health

More than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year and many of them will develop problems with their oral health as a result of their cancer treatment.
While its natural that they'll be focused on their cancer treatment, its important not to overlook the importance of a dental examination as part of the process of maintaining overall health.
For example, radiation therapy of the head and neck area may lead to certain complications such as dry mouth, sensitive lesions in the oral cavity, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay and difficulty swallowing.
Chemotherapy and other medication can also have significant effects in the mouth.
To help prevent, minimize and manage such problems, the dentist and oncologist can work together before and during cancer treatment.
Many medications lead to dry mouth, which can lead to a higher risk of gum disease and other problems. The dentist may therefore recommend a saliva replacement, an artificial saliva that is available over-the-counter at pharmacies.
Frequent fluoride applications may also be recommended.
If you are receiving treatment, schedule regular screenings with your dentist and contact your dentist or physician immediately on any sign of mouth infection. This may have serious implications for your overall health.
Your dentist and physician both want your treatment to be as safe and effective as possible.

Monday, October 31, 2016

How implants changed dentistry

Implants are one of the most important developments in dental care over recent years.
They have created opportunities that didn’t exist before for people to improve their dental health and create the smile they want.
Implants were discovered by Swedish scientist and orthopedic surgeon Dr. P.I. Brnemark and they have transformed the quality of life for people who have missing teeth.
The basis of a dental implant is a titanium rod about 1cm long. This is placed inside the jawbone and is designed to serve the same purpose as tooth roots.
Implants can either be used to replace lost teeth or to help keep dentures in place more securely.
One of the reaons implants have changed dental care so much is that, previously, there was often no other way to replace missing teeth permanently.
And there are many people who cannot tolerate removable dentures or don’t want to wear them for some other reason.
The introduction of implants had made a big change in their lives.

Monday, October 24, 2016

How braces can be made to look good

Orthodontic appliances such as braces can be used to help straighten out crooked and crowded teeth.
This is not just about looking better; it also helps improve your dental health.
How they look may determine how you feel about wearing them but, these days, braces can be as inconspicuous as you want.
Brackets the part of the braces that attaches to each tooth can sometimes be attached to the back of the tooth, making them less noticeable.
The brackets can be made in a wide range of different materials such as metal, ceramic or plastic.
They can also be designed to look appealing. For example, they may be clear or tooth-colored. There can also be shaped in a variety of ways like hearts and footballs or created in favorite colors.
You could even go for gold-plated braces or glow-in-the-dark retainers!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Why cavities arent just for kids

Tooth decay or cavities result from destruction of the tooth enamel and can lead to a range of problems from toothache to bad breath.
Cavities occur when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, sugared drinks, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth.
Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.
Many people associate cavities with children but the changes that occur with aging make cavities an adult problem, too.
Recession of the gums away from the teeth, combined with an increased incidence of gum disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque.
Tooth roots are covered with cementum, a softer tissue than enamel. They are susceptible to decay and are more sensitive to touch and to hot and cold. The majority of people over age 50 have tooth-root decay.
Decay around the edges of fillings is also common to older adults. As many of them did not benefit from fluoride and modern preventive dental care when they were younger, they often have a number of dental fillings.
Over the years, these fillings may weaken, fracture and leak around the edges.
Bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices causing acid to build up which leads to decay.
You can help prevent tooth decay by following these tips:
– Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
– Clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaner
– Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking
Its also worth asking your dentist about supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth, and about dental sealants, a plastic protective coating which is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from decay.
In addition, its important to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Your saliva and why its so important

You probably don’t give too much thought to the saliva in your mouth but, if you think of it like a bloodstream you’ll realize how important it is.
Like blood, saliva helps build and maintain the health of the soft and hard tissues.
It removes waste products from the mouth and offers first-line protection against microbial invasion that might lead to disease.
Saliva is derived from blood and therefore can also be used to detect disease.
Saliva enhances enamel protection by providing high levels of calcium and phosphate ions. It contains the minerals that maintain the integrity of the enamel surface and helps protect against caries.
When salivary flow is reduced, oral health deteriorates – much in the same way body tissues suffer if blood circulation is disrupted.
Patients with dry mouths (xerostomia) experience difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing. A major cause of dry mouth is medication – almost eighty percent of the most commonly prescribed medications lead to dry mouth.
Chewing gum after a snack or meal stimulates salivary flow, clearing food from the mouth and neutralizing plaque acid.
Your saliva is important to your oral health both for preventing disease and in helping to diagnose problems.