Dry Mouth

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Ann Clark RDH 

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Is due to inadequate function of the salivary glands.  It can be temporary due to stress, nervousness or being upset, but if it is continuous it can lead to serious health problems.  Your saliva works in your mouth to help:  talk, chew, spit, wash away food, lubricate for eating, buffers acids, remineralize tooth enamel, and to aid your taste buds.  When your salivary production shuts down your mouth is greatly affected. Saliva is needed to moisten the mouth and digest foods.  It keeps you healthy and prevents infection by controlling bacteria in the mouth.  It is essential to help you taste what you eat and drink.  If untreated, severe dry mouth can lead to increased levels of tooth decay or thrush, an infection of the mouth.
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Causes for Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. Most often xerostomia is a side effect of the increased amounts of medications people take as they age. However, it can be a sign of a possible systemic disease like Sjogrens. Lots of times dry mouth is caused by the medications used to treat the ailment. These may include asthma, urinary incontinence, parkinson’s, epilepsy, stroke, mumps, alzheimer’s, diabetes, HIV, hepatitis C, lupus, arthritis, scleroderma, sarcoidosis, hypothyroidism, depression. The most common medications that cause dry mouth are related to high blood pressure, relaxants, depressants, heart disease, and antihistamines. Dehydration, fever, diarrhea, burns, exercise, blood loss, vomiting, radiation, menopause, surgical removal of glands and cigarettes can also cause dry mouth.
What can I do?
If dry mouth is effecting you it is critical to support your existing healthy oral pH. Dry mouth can cause an increased acidic environment which leads to a higher risk for dental decay. Here are some tips to help with dry mouth:
  • moisten the air overnight (humidifier)
  • avoid sugary and acidic foods
  • use Fluoride toothpaste
  • use Fluoride gel or rinse before bed
  • limit coffee
  • eliminate rinses with alcohol
  • stop tobacco use
  • drink water regularly
  • chew sugarfree gum over candy-the xylitol ingredient promotes production of saliva
  • breath through your nose
  • avoid histamines and decongestants
  • use OTC salivary substitutes: Mouth Kote and Oasis Moisturizing Mouth Spray contain xylitol. Cellulose containing products like Biotine Oral Balance
  • use rinses like Biotene or Act Total Dry Mouth
  • possibly alter your medication or dosage…always consult your medical doctor first.
  • visit your dentist regularly for exams, 2 exams per year
  • come in for your cleaning schedule treatment planned by your dentist

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

 

Sources:

1. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/expert-answers/dry-mouth/faq-20058424

2. http://www.medicinenet.com/dry_mouth/article.htm

3. http://www.aquoral.com/

4. gnackdds.com for picture source 

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The Link Between Mouth and Body-Exploring Possible Links

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Lindsay Whitlock RDH

 

oral-perio-systemic

The oral cavity is recognized as a portal of entry for many infections that affect overall health; including both physical health and emotional health. Among these infections are two leading widespread dental diseases: caries (decay) and periodontal disease (gum disease). The consequences of decay in the oral cavity and periodontal diseases are profound and often times underestimated in context of their negative impact on one’s physical health. More studies are needed but some researchers suspect that bacteria and inflammation linked to periodontal disease play a role in some systemic diseases and or conditions. Research suggests that although periodontal disease starts as a local infection in the mouth, it is generally accepted that associated bacteria and toxins gain access to the body’s blood supply and travel throughout the body. This creates a systemic inflammatory response, which may increase the risk for: heart disease, pneumonia, and complications of diabetes and pregnancy. Although periodontal disease may contribute to these health conditions, it is critical to understand that just because two conditions occur at the same time does not necessarily mean one condition is the cause for another. Researchers are continuing to work hard to examine the affects of when periodontal disease is treated within individuals suffering with these various health problems.

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Periodontal Disease – What You Should Know

Periodontal disease is a chronic infection within the oral cavity caused by bacteria. It begins when specific bacteria in dental plaque produce harmful toxins and enzymes that irritate the gums. An inflammatory response occurs if dental plaque is not removed on a daily basis. Plaque that remains on teeth over a short period of time can irritate the gums making them red and likely to become tender and bleed. This condition is called gingivitis, which can lead to more serious types of periodontal diseases. Gingivitis can be reversed and gums kept healthy by removing dental plaque daily with oral hygiene routine as well as having your teeth professionally cleaned.

If gingivitis is allowed to persist, it can progress to periodontitis (periodontal disease), a chronic disease in the pockets around the teeth. Inflammation that results may be painless however, it can damage the attachment method of gum tissue and bone to the teeth. Consequently advanced periodontitis is linked with other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stoke and bacterial pneumonia. Left untreated, teeth may eventually become mobile, fall out, or require removal by a dentist.

Given the link between periodontal disease and the systemic health problems, prevention is a critical step in maintaining overall health.

1. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes.

2. Clean between teeth with floss or another type of interdental cleaner once a day.

3. Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks.

4. Schedule regular dental checkups as recommended by your dental hygienist or dentist.

5. Tell your dentist about changes in your overall health.

Click this link that is presented by Listerine and Reach to watch a video further explaining the link between periodontal disease and our bodies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-BGfwCoJJA

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Images:

http://www.richmondinstitute.com/significance-behind-the-oral-systemic-connection

http://www.cvlsmiles.com/images/figure_2.jpg

http://smilesbygoh.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/human.jpg

“They are just baby teeth. So what does it matter”?

Peggy

 

Peggy Storr BSRDH

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Many people think that dental care of baby (primary) teeth isn’t really necessary. They aren’t permanent teeth and they will be lost eventually. The truth is that as soon as those little teeth appear, they should be cleaned daily. A tiny smear of toothpaste should start about the age of 1, as should the first visit to the dentist. Many of the baby teeth will be in your child’s mouth until he or she is 13 years old.

Look in your child’s mouth. White spots or lesions are early signs of demineralization or decay of the teeth. These lesions can be reversed with proper homecare and administration of fluoride and or MI Paste.

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www.recaldent.com

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http://www.babyorganics.co.id/general/dental-caries-on-children/

Decay (cavities or caries) in baby teeth is a serious health concern that is now known to be contagious. Dental decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in children. While decay in permanent teeth has declined, decay in baby teeth is increasing. Left untreated, cavities can lead to dental pain that can affect a child’s eating, speaking, and learning. It can lead to expensive treatment, malnourishment, disruption of growth and development, and may even cause life threatening infections. If the dentist simply pulls the decayed tooth, it can affect how the permanent teeth grow in. The space from the baby tooth must be preserved or the permanent teeth may erupt in a crowded and incorrect position.

Most people are surprised to learn that cavities are contagious. But bacteria, particularly Mutans Streptococci, are responsible for tooth decay and bacteria can be transmitted from one person to another. If mom cleans the baby’s pacifier by putting it in her own mouth, or shares a spoon, she can transfer bacteria to the baby. Being mindful of diet is a first step in prevention of tooth decay. Dipping a pacifier in honey or sugar is a bad idea, as is letting a child go to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or anything other than water.

Chewy, sticky foods (such as dried fruit or candy) are best if eaten as part of a meal rather than as a snack. If possible, brush the teeth or rinse the mouth with water after eating these foods. Minimize snacking, which creates a constant supply of acid in the mouth. Avoid constant sipping of sugary drinks or frequent sucking on candy and mints. The sticky sour candies kids love so much are the worst as they stay in the mouth longer and cause significant increases in the acid that cause tooth decay.

Dental sealants can prevent some cavities. Sealants are thin plastic-like coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This coating prevents the buildup of plaque in the deep grooves on these surfaces. Sealants are often applied on the teeth of children, shortly after the molars come in.

Fluoride is also recommended to protect against dental caries. People who get fluoride in their drinking water or by taking fluoride supplements have less tooth decay. Numerous studies report that products containing Xylitol decrease tooth decay. Gum or mints for children who are beyond the choking stage are recommended. Xylitol needs to be among the first three ingredients.

Dental disease can impact the total well-being of a child and is largely preventable.  So while they are “JUST BABY TEETH”, they are a vital consideration in the health of your child.  A healthy mouth contributes to the overall health every child.

Sources:

1. Ezer, Michelle, S, DDS, Swoboda, Natalie A DDS and Farkouh, David DMD, MS; Early Childhood Caries: The Dental Disease of Infants

2. Chow AW. Infections of the oral cavity, neck, and head. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 60.

3. Sleeper, Laura J, RDH, MA and Gronski Ashley; The Benefits of Xylitol; http://Dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/June 2014

4. http://www.thedentalleif.net

5. http:// twoothtimer.com

Vitamin D and Dental Health

Karen

Karen Kelley RDH

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I recently read two articles, the first by Dr. Richard Kim, a dentist who practices in New York City, and the second on the website doctorshealthpress.com. They both have information from a Boston study about the correlation of Vitamin D and Dental health. I was interested to learn that so many people have a deficiency of Vitamin D and how it can affect dental health.

This is a portion of Dr. Kim’s article:

“Medical researchers have long known that Vitamin D has many oral and overall health benefits, but there is growing concern that deficiency of this critical nutrient is more common than once thought. Understanding the benefits of Vitamin D, where it comes from and who is at risk for deficiency could make an important difference in your general and oral health.

Somewhere along the way you can probably remember being told to have plenty of calcium in your diet to build strong bones and teeth. Fortunately calcium is everywhere – readily available in many of the foods we all love like milk, cheese, ice cream and even commercially added to orange juice, breads and cereals. Perhaps you didn’t know that without Vitamin D, the body can’t absorb that calcium… no matter how much of it you swallow!

A diet lacking or low in vitamin D will contribute to a phenomena known as “ burning mouth syndrome”, symptoms of which can include dry mouth, a burning sensation of the tongue and oral tissues and a metallic or bitter taste. The condition is most common in older adults who, coincidentally, are frequently found to have a Vitamin D deficiency! Oral Health scientists have found that in addition to many general health benefits, Vitamin D helps to reduce inflammation in the body, which is widely known to have a direct impact on the development and severity of periodontal (gum and bone) disease. As a matter of fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Dentistry (1) among 6700 research participants, those who had the highest blood levels of Vitamin D were about 20% less likely to have gum disease.

Vitamin D is produced naturally by the human body when skin is exposed to sunlight, but more often than not people choose to protect themselves from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen and protective clothing may prevent getting enough vitamin D from the sun; and deficiency is common among people who live in northern latitudes or other areas that receive limited sunlight. Up to 50% of older adults have inadequate Vitamin D levels, perhaps partly due to decreased outdoor activity and sun exposure.

Although it is a rule of thumb that the best source of nutrients is a natural one, Vitamin D supplements are readily available over the counter and routinely recommended to individuals at risk for deficiency. Do you have unexplained body or mouth symptoms? Could you be at risk … or have you been recently diagnosed with low Vitamin D levels? Your doctor and dental professional can advise you about the benefits of a supplement, and a recent discovery of Vitamin D deficiency is a good reason to schedule your regular dental checkup.

1. Journal of Dentistry (2005), 33:703–10.”

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From the doctorshealthpress site:

Vitamin D isn’t just for your bones anymore.

This versatile vitamin is now showing promise in the fight against gum disease as well. According to a new study, vitamin D has both anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. (This means that it can reduce inflammation and boost your body’s ability to fight off infections.) It appears that people who have more vitamin D in their bodies run a lower risk of contracting gum disease.

The Boston-based study looked at 6,700 people who had never smoked before. They examined the gums and teeth of these people and compared their vitamin D status to the health and inflammation of their gums. Adjusting for age, previous dental work, dental hygiene, and other factors, it was found that people who had a higher intake of vitamin D also had overall healthier gums.

In fact, those who had the highest levels of the vitamin in their body reduced their risk of bleeding during oral examination by 20% when compared to patients who had the lowest intake of vitamin D.

So, if you thought this power-packed vitamin was only good for helping your bones, you were wrong. The evidence speaks for itself — vitamin D plays a double role. It acts as an anti-inflammatory and it may just help you walk out of your next dental appointment with less pain and bleeding.

So ensure that you allow your body to produce enough vitamin D. It’s a good reason to get just a few minutes of sun at least three times a week. Make sure you don’t overdo it, unless you are wearing sunscreen. If you can’t get outside, at least try taking a supplement in order to help you get all you need of this wonderful nutrient.

http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/food-and-nutrition-articles/vitamin-d-is-good-for-your-gums-too

After reading these articles, I started doing some of my own ‘research’. I began asking my patients who generally had good overall brushing and flossing habits, not stellar, but good, who’s gums generally looked healthy, but when I was scaling (cleaning) their teeth, they bled more than they should if their gums were truly healthy. (Healthy gums shouldn’t bleed!) Most of the patients that I asked told me they had been diagnosed with low Vitamin D levels! This was very interesting to me. I did some other reading about Vitamin D deficiency and found how common it is. It’s interesting to me that anyone living in the “Valley of the Sun” could be deficient in Vitamin D, but it actually is common.

I also found this article on Web MD entitled:

Keep That Smile! Calcium and Vitamin D Prevent Tooth Loss

“If you’re supplementing your diet with calcium and vitamin D to prevent bone loss, you may be more likely to hang onto your pearly whites, according to a report at this week’s meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Toronto. Even so, older adults need to floss their teeth and see the dentist regularly because with increased age come increased risks for losing teeth.

“Studies have shown that calcium and vitamin D decrease bone loss in the hip and forearm, but we weren’t sure if they had an effect on tooth loss,” says lead author Elizabeth Krall, MPH, PhD, a researcher at Boston University Dental School and Tufts University Nutrition Research Center. “Now we know that supplementation may also improve tooth retention, along with routine dental care and good oral hygiene,” she tells WebMD. To explore the role of supplementation on tooth retention, the researchers followed more than 140 older adults for five years. Participants took either a placebo or 500 mg of calcium plus 700 units of vitamin D daily for three years. Both during and after the trial, their teeth were examined periodically. For those who took supplements, the likelihood of losing one or more teeth was 40% less, even two years later.” ( http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/news/20000927/keep-that-smile-calcium vitamin-d-prevent-tooth-loss)

Anything that gives our patients a 40% less chance of losing a tooth and 20% less gums disease and bleeding during their dental visits is certainly worth looking into further. If a person is low in Vitamin D, it is an easy thing to implement a supplement or sun into a daily routine. The National Institute of Health recommends 10 to 15 minutes of outdoor activity two times a week to get enough Vitamin D. They also suggest for areas where they don’t have as much sun as we do, that vitamin D can be received by consuming milk, eggs, and fish. The Vitamin Council gives further instructions to individuals with periodontal (gum) disease. The Council says for someone with gum disease they may want to consider taking measures to raise their vitamin D blood levels to 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L). They also suggest moderate UVB exposure (without sunburn) but additionally recommend oral intake of vitamin D and calcium supplements.

If you’re over 50 and have some symptoms of gum disease, ask your MD what your Vitamin D levels are now (they can do a simple blood test) and what you should be doing to raise your Vitamin D to an acceptable level.

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Keep smiling, Karen Kelley R.D.H.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/periodontal-disease/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3768179/

http://www.easy-immune-health.com/Vitamin-D-and-Teeth.html

http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/food-and-nutrition-articles/vitamin-d-is-good-for-your-gums-too

http://nydentallife.wordpress.com/author/nydentallife/

Photos:

www.hayleyhobsonblog.com

https://www.google.com/search?q=vitamin+d&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS566US566&espv=2&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=u8OkU73hM4PfoATSoYKACA&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAw&biw=1366&bih=600#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=iGoDW3mN-d0KYM%253A%3Bw3KmMBNAyyu8KM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fimages.iherb.com%252Fl%252FNTA-26132-2.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.iherb.com%252FNature-s-Answer-Vitamin-D-3-Drops-4000-IU-15-ml%252F20745%3B1600%3B1600

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