Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)


Cortney Davis, RDH

 

Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

            Xerostomia is a medical term meaning dry mouth due to the lack of saliva present in your mouth. Individuals that have a dry mouth don’t have enough saliva to keep their mouth moist. Saliva is important because it is a person’s primary defense against tooth decay and helps maintain the health of hard and soft tissue in the mouth. Saliva also is important because it washes away small food particles and debris that would sit on the teeth, has shown to protect against gum disease, helps carry minerals that help rebuild he enamel surfaces of teeth, and can also help neutralize acids in the mouth during and after eating.

What causes dry mouth? Dry mouth is a common side effect of many non-prescription and prescription drugs including drugs to treat anxiety, pain, allergies, colds, depression, etc.. Another common cause of dry mouth is side effects from certain medical treatments. Many people undergoing radiation to the head and neck and chemotherapy have damage to the salivary glands and it reduces the amount of saliva produced. The last common cause of dry mouth is from side effects from infections and diseases including but not limited to Sjorgrens Syndrome, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and strokes.

Common symptoms of dry mouth include; frequent thirst, a sticky dry feeling in the mouth, problems speaking, chewing and swallowing, bad breath, and a dry red tongue.

If you have dry mouth make sure you drink plenty of water every day to help stimulate saliva flow, talk to your healthcare provider to find the cause of your dry mouth and what your treatment options are, keep up good dental care by brushing and flossing and going to your dentist for routine check-ups, try over-the-counter saliva substitute’s containing xylitol, and try mouth washes and toothpaste designed for dry mouth such as Biotene.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://oralhealth.deltadental.com/Adult/GeneralInformation/22,DD205

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

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-health-dry-mouth#1

Christmas Stocking Stuffers

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen, RDH

 

Christmas Stocking Stuffers

Christmas is the topic of mostly everyone this time of year.  So many of us love to see what Santa has left for us in our stockings.  When considering stocking stuffers, we have some recommendations to assist in keeping your child’s mouth and teeth at their healthiest.

When parents start thinking of what to place in their child’s stocking, they rarely think to put items that will benefit dental health.  Most parents fill their children’s stockings with candy, nuts, socks, hair bows, lotion or Chap Stick.  The list can be endless with what is placed in stockings.  So this year, why not give them items to help with their dental home care.

A New Toothbrush

Everyone loves a new toothbrush.  For the holidays, pick one that will get your kids excited about brushing their teeth.  There are character brushes, brushes that light up and even brushes that play music while you clean your teeth!  Be sure to choose a soft-bristled brush with the appropriate sized head for smaller mouths.

A Tooth Timer

If brushing the correct amount of time is difficult for your kids, consider getting a small timer to keep in the bathroom.  Most kids brush an average of 14 seconds but in their minds it was for two minutes.  A timer will insure that your child is brushing for the approiate time.   You can even join them by brushing together to make sure the family is brushing for two minutes.

A Fun Toothpaste Flavor

So many people choose mint or bubble gum for their toothpaste flavor.  You can look online and find some fun flavors.  Try giving your kids something silly that you wouldn’t usually pick.  There’s Bacon, Pickle, Cupcake, Oreo, Vanilla and Orange.  The list keeps growing.  Amazon has some great choices.

Flavored Floss

Floss is normally pretty plain, but it doesn’t have to be.  Like toothpaste, there is bacon, cupcake or pickled-flavored floss to match.  If those flavors don’t do the trick, there are banana and cinnamon-flavored options for kids to enjoy.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gum with Xylitol

Did you know that chewing gum can actually be good for your teeth? While not a substitute for brushing, sugar-free gum can help in the production of saliva which washes away trapped food particles.  Further, gum containing xylitol has actually been proven to help reduce cavities.

Holidays are such a special time to share with your family and friend’s.  Signature Dental would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.xlear.com

http://www.colgate.com

http://www.oralanswers.com

What is Xylitol?

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Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

What is Xylitol?

What if I told you there was a sugar that actually prevents cavities?  Would you believe me?  Well, you should!  And it called Xylitol (pronounced zai-li-tall).

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener found in plants, fruits, and vegetables.  It looks and tastes just like sugar (sucrose).  Xylitol has about a third the calories as table sugar, and is a healthy alternative for diabetics. Not only does it make an excellent sugar substitute, but it aids in the prevention of dental caries, and reduces plaque formation.

How does it help prevent cavities?

Everyone has bacteria in their mouth all the time.  Bacteria is highly attracted to the sugars found in the foods and beverages that we eat and drink.  Most people think this means sweets, candies, etc.  While that is true, it also can mean carbohydrates (which are complex sugars) or fruit (which has fructose, a sugar) or any number of things.  The bacteria in our mouths eat all those sugars and excrete acid.  That acid is what causes cavities.

Now bacteria is way more attracted to xylitol than regular sugar.  The Bacteria head right for xylitol!  But bacteria cannot break down xylitol.  Meaning if they can’t “eat” it, they can’t excrete it.  The bacteria dies not able to make acid to cause cavities.  That is how xylitol can help prevent cavities!

How does it help dry mouth?

Many things, including prescription medications, can cause dry mouth.  But why is dry mouth such a big deal?  Dry mouth can effect you quality of life!  It decreases your ability to taste.  It can cause bad breathe.  It can make eating difficult.  It can make talking difficult.  It can even significantly increase your susceptibility to getting cavities!

Xylitol has a cooling effect, quenching the burning of dry mouth.  Xylitol also stimulates saliva flow, which fixes all of the problems previously mentioned.  Xylitol is also an humectant, which means it attracts moisture.  And Xylitol neutralized saliva’s pH.  An acid pH leads to dry mouth, a basic pH can lead to an overgrowth of plaque bacteria.  Nice neutral pH is where your mouth is the happiest!

Who can have Xylitol?

Xylitol is safe for all ages!  Great for the whole family!

Even diabetics can use xylitol.  “The body does not require insulin to metabolize xylitol. For this reason polyols like xylitol produce a lower glycemic response than sucrose or glucose. This has made xylitol a widely used sweetener for the diabetic diet in some countries. If you do have diabetes, however, it’s important to consult your doctor or diet professional before incorporating xylitol into your daily diet. (1)”

And, like chocolate, onions, raisins, or avocados, xylitol is not safe for our 4-legged furry family members.  Please do not share it with them.

Where can you find Xylitol?

Xylitol can be found in a wide array of products.  Most commonly, chewing gum, candies, and mints.  It is also found in tooth pastes, mouth sprays, and even as granulated crystals to replace table sugar.

Hope this has been informative and you have found a new way to incorporate the many benefits of Xylitol in your life!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.xylitol.org

http://www.xlear.com

Dry Mouth…What Should I Do?

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Wendy Parker, RDH

Dry Mouth…What Should I Do?

            I know we live in a desert, but our mouths don’t have to BE a desert of dryness!  The first step is to figure out where is the dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is coming from.  There are several factors that can contribute to dry mouth including damage to the salivary glands, medications or medical conditions, and life style habits such as smoking, drinking, or alcohol or caffeine use.  There are so many variables and sometimes it’s a combination of a couple of factors.

Often times, there is nothing you can do to reverse dry mouth, however, here are some of the things you can do to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth (1):

  • Be sure to REGULARLY take sips of water throughout the day. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.
  • Practice good Oral Hygiene – brushing 2x daily and flossing 1x daily. You can also use mouth rinses WITHOUT alcohol in them.  The alcohol will dry out the mouth and makes symptoms worse.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Chew Sugar-Free gum or suck on Sugar-free lozenges
  • Limit alcohol, caffeine, and sugar intake

There are several companies that provide products that aid in dry mouth relief.  Some products and brands work well for some while others work better for others.  It truly is a trial and error process to see what works best for you.

Biotene is one of the biggest companies that focus on relieving dry mouth.  They have an array of products ranging from mouth rinses to chewing gum to saliva substitute.  It is sold in several stores, including Target and Walgreens.  Xylitol also has a variety of products that you can order including nose sprays, toothpastes, mints, and artificial sweeteners. (2) And of course, there are natural remedies that can help relieve symptoms as well.  Here is a good website that has a variety of things you can try to see if they alleviate any discomfort. (3)

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-dry-mouth1.htm

Dry mouth is NEVER easy to deal with, but hopefully with time and a little patience you’ll find something that will work for you.  If you need more suggestions, please don’t hesitate to ask your hygienist or dentist for other solutions.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

  1. https://www.biotene.com/dry-mouth-health-impacts/dry-mouth-relief/
  2. http://www.epicdental.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=xylitol-products
  3. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-dry-mouth1.htm

Keeping Your Teeth For a Lifetime

KarenK

Karen Kelley RDH

Keeping Your Teeth For a Lifetime

Our dental practice has more over 50 year olds than under 50.  As aging adults, we need to be aware of certain things that can keep us from retaining our teeth our entire lives.

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Judith Ann Jones, DDS, a spokesman on elder care for the American Dental Association and director of The Center for Clinical Research at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine spoke about 5 things that are especially important to the over 50 crowd.

Tooth Decay:  Contrary to what many people believe, adults keep getting cavities!  I’m always surprised when people are stunned to learn they have a cavity as an adult.  Areas of the teeth that have never had a cavity can decay, but  areas  where we see more problems are where an old filling is leaking and at the base of an older crown.  The best prevention is brushing well each day along the gumline.  An electric toothbrush is very helpful in accomplishing this as well as the use of fluoride.  An over the counter fluoride rinse nightly is great and in our office we have special prescription strength fluoride that is wonderful for cavity prevention as well as help with sensitivity.
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Dry Mouth:  Keeping Your Teeth For a Lifetime We see so many people with this problem.  “Saliva protects our teeth.  The calcium and phosphate present in saliva prevent demineralization of your teeth”, Jones says.  Many drugs cause dry mouth as well as some diseases and as we get older, we are on more medications thus we see this commonly in older adults.  This is a difficult one to deal with for those affected.  The best thing is to drink lots of water, use saliva substitute and try xylitol products.  Also, if you smoke, stop, it just makes your mouth drier.

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Gum Disease:  If your gums are swollen, red, or bleed easily, you have gum disease.  If left untreated, gum disease (gingivitis) will become more serious and will cause deterioration of the bone that holds the teeth, we call this periodontitis.   If this condition continues without treatment, it can cause the loss of the teeth.  The best way to prevent gum disease is to clean your teeth well each day with brushing, flossing, and use of interdental cleaners like soft picks or go betweens. And of course, seeing your friendly dental hygienist as often as recommended.  We can remove the mineralized bacteria from your teeth that you can’t remove with brushing.

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Tooth Crowding:  “As you age, your teeth shift”, according to Lee W. Graber, D.D.S., M.S, Ph.D., Past President of the American Association of Orthodontists. And “that can be problematic, not because you’ll look different, but because it can make your teeth more difficult to clean, leading to more decay.  It’s also of concern because misaligned teeth can lead to teeth erosion and damage to the supporting tissue and bone”, Graber says.   “Add to that the tendency of older adults to have periodontal disease, and you could end up losing your teeth even faster.”   If your teeth have really shifted, and you find you are having a difficult time keeping your teeth clean and food keeps getting caught in certain areas, ask our doctors about orthodontics.  We offer Invisalign to our patients and we’ve had patients in their later years choose to straighten their teeth.  I just finished with my invisalign treatment.  I had braces when I was a teenager but my teeth had shifted and I was experiencing these problems I just mentioned.  I decided to do Invisalign.  It’s easy to do and my teeth are so much straighter.   They are now in the correct alignment and my teeth and gums will be healthier.   If you choose not to do orthodontics, more frequently exams and cleanings may be necessary.

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Oral Cancer:  According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancers this year, and more than 8,000 will die from it.  “Oral cancer incidence definitely increases as you get older”, Jones says, and “is very often linked to smoking and heavy alcohol use.”   Jones also said, “Only about half of people who develop oral cancer survive the disease.”   If discovered early, there is an 80 percent chance of surviving for five years.  When we do your periodic exams when you come in for your cleaning, you will be checked for oral cancer.  We also offer Velscope, Identafi, or Oral ID technologies to help in finding oral cancer earlier.

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Keep brushing, flossing and smiling!  We want to help you keep your teeth healthy your entire lives!

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Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/28/common-dental-problems-_n_5844434.html

https://aga.grandparents.com/

What is Xylitol?

LindsayW

Lindsay Whitlock, RDH

“Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants.”

What Are The Dental Benefits of Xylitol?

Splenda (Sucralose) is a commonly used artificial sweetener that one would use to sweeten their iced tea. Once you drink your sweet tea, your teeth are splashed with the sugary beverage, and the Splenda begins to break down in your mouth. Bacteria already thriving in your mouth are immediately drawn to the sugars on your teeth. During this process, the bacteria, for lack of better words, “poop” out acid onto your teeth, and begin the cavity process.

Xylitol does not break down in the mouth like typical sugars (Splenda). Because acid-producing bacteria cannot digest Xylitol, the growth of bacteria is greatly reduced in your mouth, up to 90%. After taking xylitol, the bacteria are unable to stick to the surfaces of your teeth, and thus results in decreased plaque.

Your saliva in your mouth is naturally trying to keep your mouth at a neutral pH, as one is ingesting sugars. If sugar is only consumed a couple times per day, the saliva can protect your mouth and teeth on its own. But for most, sugar is so often consumed that your natural defenses (saliva) are not enough, in the battle of cavity prevention. Xylitol can also increase a neutral pH saliva flow, which could decrease your risk of cavities.

Other Benefits of Xylitol?

  • Xylitol serves as an effective sugar substitute for diabetics and non-diabetics
  • Delicious sweet taste… with no unpleasant aftertaste
  • Provides one third fewer calories than sugar
  • May be useful as a sugar alternative for people with diabetes (on the advice of their healthcare providers)
  • It’s 100% natural. Xylitol is not an artificial substance, but a normal part of everyday metabolism. Xylitol is widely distributed throughout nature in small amounts
  • It’s safe
  • It’s convenient to use
  • Xylitol can be conveniently delivered to your teeth via chewing gum, tablets, or even candy. You don’t need to change your normal routine to make room for Xylitol

How Much, and How Often Should I use Xylitol?

Strive For 5:

  1. Use Xylitol toothpaste, mouthwash, and nasal spray upon waking up
  2. After breakfast use Xylitol gum, mints, or candy
  3. After lunch use Xylitol gum, mints, or candy
  4. After dinner use Xylitol gum, mints, or candy
  5. Use Xylitol toothpaste, mouthwash, and nasal spray upon going to bed

For a complete this of Xylitol containing products, follow this link: http://xylitol.org/xylitol-products

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Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources: 

http://www.Xylitol.org

“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

Early-Childhood-Caries1

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

Kids and Dentistry

I have to say that my favorite appointments are the ones with patients who are 18 and younger. No offense to the rest of the adult world, however, kids are the best. They are like little sponges soaking up all the dental knowledge I can share. Being a future parent I want to know all the information I can get to help my children have smooth transition into new experiences. Here are some kid tips for in office and at home to help our children have a great time at the dentist.

Office Tips:

When should my child first come to the dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) children should come no later than 12 months of age. That may sound early to most people. However, this helps create a dental home for the child. We can also answer questions that the parents may have. Your dentist and hygienist will give advice on snacking habits, teach oral hygiene tips and make sure your child’s teeth are coming in on schedule.

The first visit is called a “Happy Visit”, we show them the instruments and the dentist checks their teeth. Cleanings are dependent on the temperament of the child. Whatever they are comfortable with. We want a happy, calm visit.

Regular Check ups

Cleanings are to be 2 times per year. The dentist checks for dental decay, orthodontic needs, discuss sports guards and if sealants should be placed. Hygiene cleanings are performed. Fluoride treatments are given and oral hygiene instruction is tailored to the child’s needs.

What if my child has a cavity?

Then you are at the perfect place. At our offices we have wonderful doctors and staff who help each and every patient have a great experience. Start off by setting a good example to your child by being calm. The child will always be well-informed on what is going on during the appointment. Believe it or not we have had better experiences with not having the parent in the room during the procedures. This helps the child develop trust with the doctor and the child will more likely communicate with the dentist about his or her needs rather than the parent.

Nitrous Oxide or laughing gas is very effective for children. It is fast acting, calms the patient quickly, it is safe, reversible, and is affordable for most patients. Kids respond well to the nitrous. Just like adults your child will always have localized anesthesia to make the procedure virtually painless.

We may refer some patients to a pediatric dentist. This is decided by the child’s temperament, if there is a large amount of dental work to be done, or they need to be sedated. However, most of the time we can take care of all dental needs presented.

Home Tips:

Oral Hygiene Habits
Brush 2 times per day for 2 minutes. Make sure the brush has soft bristles. An electric toothbrush helps kids brush for longer and it is more fun.

It is recommended for parents to help children brush and floss until the age of 8.

Floss at least 1 time per day if not more.

Sequence-

  1. Rinse with mouthwash
  2. Floss
  3. Brush, spit in the sink and do not rinse afterwards. We want the fluoride to stay on the teeth.

Infants should have their oral cavity wiped with a clean damp cloth before bed at night.

Tooth brushing charts are a great motivator for kids who have a hard time brushing.You can find many online to print out.

Fluoride

Under 2 yrs smear fluoride toothpaste onto the brush. 2 yrs and above a small pea size should suffice. According to the AAPD.

Parents should dispense toothpaste to prevent from too much being digested.

Further questions about fluoride and its benefits consult your dentist or hygienist.

Diet

Have a balanced diet of veggies, fruit, meat and beans, dairy, and whole grains. Limit amounts of starchy and sugary foods.

Significantly decrease amounts of soda and fruit juices

Limit frequency of snacking.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that also helps prevent cavities. It is put in gums such at Ice Breaker Ice Cubes, Trident and others. It also can be bought to be used in baking. Xylitol is a great way to keep sweets in our lives with benefit of not getting cavities.

Dental Caries is the number one disease that affects children. The good thing is that cavities are preventable. Health in the oral cavity affects our entire bodies. With these tips and many others our children are on their way to a life of happy, healthy, smiles.

-Kara Johansen BSRDH

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Dental Care For Your Baby. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Nitrous Oxide. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask your Dentist About Diet and Snacking. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Regular Dental Visits. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/