Dry Mouth: Symptoms and Treatment

Reduced saliva flow that results in a dry mouth is a common problem among older adults. It is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.

Some symptoms you may experience if you have dry mouth are:

  • A constant sore throat
  • Burning sensation
  • Problems speaking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Dry nasal passages

Left untreated, dry mouth 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. Semiannual dental visits are essential in order to ensure the health of your mouth. Schedule your semiannual dentist appointment today using your True Dental Discount plan and save big while sustaining your oral health.

Q: What is sialadenitis?

A: In short, sialadenitis is a disorder of the salivary gland. One of several related disorders, this condition is caused by a painful bacterial infection in a person’s salivary gland. Many times, this infection is caused by staphylococcus or anaerobic bacteria. According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, sialadenitis is most common in elderly adults and very young infants. Symptoms include a painful lump in the cheek or under the chin, or foul-tasting pus released into the mouth from the salivary duct. In severe cases, the person may experience flu-like symptoms, including a fever and chills. The most severe cases usually occur in elderly people who do not receive treatment for their symptoms.

Researchers suggest that several factors may increase a person’s risk of developing sialadenitis, including dehydration, malnutrition, chronic illness, and certain medications like antihistamines and diuretics. Infants who are born prematurely and people in professions like trumpet-playing and glassblowing may also be at increased risk. If you or someone in your family is faced with sialadenitis, it is important to seek the help of a health care professional. A doctor or dentist can gently examine your head and neck to check for any potential gland issues. Fortunately, sialadenitis can typically be cured with an antibiotic that causes symptoms to subside within a couple days. In more severe cases, surgery can be performed to drain the gland.

So remember: If you ever notice a lump or swelling in your neck, jaw, or mouth, contact a dentist on your True Dental Discounts, dental plan immediately – particularly if the lump is painful or makes it difficult to chew or swallow. Awareness of your body is the first step toward remaining healthy, so stay alert and seek help when needed.

Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?

The FDA has issued amalgam fillings harmless, however some people are not convinced. Amalgam fillings are silver and color and have a mixture of mercury, powdered silver, tin, and copper.
The reality is that there are few things in the dental industry that have gotten more attention than these fillings. In December of 2010, the FDA advisory panel got together again to reevaluate the safety of amalgam. They decided to uphold the prior statement, however they advised the FDA to continue in the evaluation of the safety of these fillings.

Amalgam fillings have been used 150 years. They have been the fillings of choice for so long because it is a very soft metal.

So you may be asking yourself what is the big concern over amalgam fillings. Well some critics have suspect that the fillings lead to neurological problems in fetuses and young children. The FDA acknowledges that the fillings do release very low amounts of mercury vapor that can be inhaled. The FDA concluded that the levels were too low to have any health implications to children above the age of 6. They also stated that the amount of mercury was so low that it did not affect the quality of breast milk to any amount that would affect the infants.

However, despite all this the FDA reclassified dental mercury from a class I device to a class II device. A class II needs special considerations and the dentist needs to warn the patient of any potential side effects.

There are alternatives to amalgam fillings and the truth is most dentists do not use them anymore. There is a new composite resin material that is used in place of the amalgam fillings. In addition to being safer this new style of filling is also white so it blends in perfectly with the other teeth.

Some people with amalgam fillings are concerned about the potential health risks and are seeking treatment to have their old amalgam fillings removed and replaced with newer white composite fillings. Having this done can be expensive, especially if you have more than a couple cavities; unfortunately dental insurance does not cover this, but there are options like discount dental plans, provided by TrueDentalDiscounts.com that do help to offset the costs of amalgam removal by 20-60%.

Maintaining a Tooth-Friendly Diet

Eating heavily affects your dental health.  Dental health is important because it fosters healthy teeth and gums.  Some foods are tooth and gum friendly and actually prevent tooth and gum disease.

Learning what foods are good for your teeth is the 1st step in maintaining a healthy dental lifestyle.  The things that you eat affect your mouth, teeth, and gums – but more importantly it also effects your teeth and gums.

There are foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, unsaturated fats that all are beneficial foods to eat.  However there are a few foods that really are above the rest, when it comes to dental health.

Calcium
Milk is an important food to keep your teeth healthy.  Milk is loaded with calcium and  is extremely important for tooth and bone development in children and teens.

But the benefits do not stop there they continue as you get older.  A diet that is loaded with calcium also is show to prevent tooth decay.  When diets are lacking calcium, the body  uses minerals from the teeth and bones leaving your teeth and bones vulnerable.

In one study it was shown that having a daily intake of less than 500mg of calcium almost doubled the likelihood of developing periodontitis.

The FDA recommends that women younger than age 50 should take 1000 mg of calcium daily and 1200mg for women over 50.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential part of dental health.  Vitamin C works to repair connective tissue and help fight off infection.  A study was conducted and it shown that those who eat less than the recommended 75-90 milligrams each day are 25% more likely to get gingivitis compared to those who only consume 3X the recommended dose.

If you eat one orange a day it will help you meet the in maintaining  your Vitamin C intake.

Fruits & Vegetables
Crunchy foods are also good for your teeth, so make sure you put some crunch apples, pears, celery, and carrots into your lunch.  These foods work to remove bacteria and plaque from your mouth.

Tea
While you may think that tea would be bad for your teeth a study conducted has shown that black tea actually destroys cavity causing bacteria.

Eating the right foods will help your teeth, but it is not a total solution.  It is also important to brush after every meal, plus in the morning and at night.  Also floss at least once a day and use a fluoride mouth wash to help restore your enamel.

Can Oral Care for Babies Prevent Future Cavities?

Cavities are the most prevalent infectious disease in U.S. children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Statistics show that the most prevalent disease in U.S. children is tooth decay.  The reality is that before the child reaches kindergarten nearly 40% will have at least 1cavitiy.  The problem is even more predominant in areas of low socioeconomic demographics.

Research is being done that is changing the preconceived belief that the children ages 19 and 33 months are most susceptible to tooth decay; now more and more researchers believe that this window occurs at a much younger age.

The bacteria in infant’s mouths have been shown to be much more diverse and the soft tissue of the mouth works as a reservoir of pathogens prior to the teeth erupting.  It is important to refrain your infants from formula containing sugar and you should wipe off the infants gums with a wet cloth to remove harmful bacteria formation that occurs on the gum line.

The advantages of X-rays at the dentist

If you’ve ever seen an X-ray photo of your mouth, you’ve probably noticed that your teeth appear much lighter than the rest of the surfaces. This is because X-rays cannot penetrate hard surfaces like teeth as easily as they can gums and tissue. But why is it so important to get these high-tech photos of your mouth? The main reason is because many oral health problems cannot easily be detected during a normal examination. It’s possible for a patient to have spots of decay that are not visible to the dentist. By looking at an X-ray, dentists can look for signs of decay between teeth, gum disease, bone infections, and many other serious conditions, including hidden tumors.

The American Dental Association suggests that children are especially good candidates for X-rays, as their teeth are still developing and are more prone to tooth decay. Another benefit of X-rays is that patients can save time and money by catching any hidden problems early. X-rays may even help someone avoid having to undergo the complicated procedures that advanced-stage conditions often require. Talk to your dentist about your X-ray schedule and ask if you (or your children) are due for another screening. A little extra time in the chair at your next visit could pay off dramatically down the road.

The connection between periodontal disease and menopause

Menopause is a time of great change for women’s health and bodies. One area that is often overlooked, though, is the change women go through regarding their oral health at this time. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, women who are menopausal or post-menopausal may discover that their mouths have become uncomfortable. Many experience dry mouth, gum tissue pain, and a changed sense of taste, particularly in salty, peppery or sour flavors.

A small number of women also experience menopausal gingivostomatitis, which involves gums that look dry/shiny, bleed easily and are abnormally colored (very pale to very dark). The academy notes that estrogen supplements and Hormone Replacement Therapy may help protect women’s teeth and get rid of these symptoms. It’s important to talk to your doctor and dentist about the changes you notice in your mouth during menopause so you can start returning to normal as quickly as possible.

Is there too much sugar in your diet?

We all know that eating a lot of sugar can have negative effects on our physical health. It can cause weight gain, energy swings and a weakened immune system. But what effects does sugar have on your oral health? According to the American Dental Association, when bacteria/plaque comes into contact with sugar in a person’s mouth, the acid that gets produced can damage teeth for 20 minutes or longer. Over time, this damage results in tooth decay. In addition, foods that are high in sugar are often filled with empty calories and lack other nutrients that are good for your health. These sugary foods can lead to poor nutrition, which the ADA suggests can lead to faster progression of gum disease.

Dietary habits are often developed in childhood, so it’s especially important for adults to teach their kids to eat healthily and get plenty of fruits, vegetables and calcium from a young age. Other precautionary steps include drinking a lot of water, limiting snacks in between meals, brushing twice a day, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly. It may also help to keep track of all the food you eat so you can chart your progress and notice patterns of sugary food consumption. Talk to your dentist about your eating habits and develop a plan to cut back on sugar-filled foods. It’s a commitment that will benefit your body and your teeth!

Causes of a painful tongue

People often think about the dentist as a professional that deals with teeth. In reality, however, dentists are concerned with the entire mouth – including your tongue. For this reason, he or she may talk to you about the appearance of your tongue and why your tongue affects your overall health. One of the biggest problems people experience with their tongue is having it be sore and bumpy. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, there are several causes of a sore tongue, including trauma, canker sores, smoking, and oral cancer. The most obvious cause, trauma, can be a result of biting your tongue or burning it on something that’s too hot.

When this happens, the tongue may continue to be sore until the injury heals. Smoking, however, is a more permanent habit that causes damage through irritation; people who smoke frequently may find that their tongue feels unpleasant. Canker sores – or mouth ulcers – can also cause temporary pain and bumps on your tongue. No one knows what causes these sores, but stress is thought to be a trigger. Finally, although not common, sores/bumps that do not go away after a couple weeks could be a sign of oral cancer. Talk to your dentist about any tongue abnormalities you notice so you can get started on a treatment plan if necessary. By taking care of your tongue, you can improve your overall health.

Protecting your teeth from sports injuries

Sports are a great way to stay active, but they can wreak havoc on a person’s teeth in case of an injury. This is especially true for contact sports such as football, hockey and basketball. One of the best ways to protect your teeth is by using a mouth guard. These plastic protectors can prevent broken teeth or tissue damage in the case of a stray ball, tough tackle, or other impact to the face. The three main types of mouth guards are stock, “boil and bite,” and custom – each offering differing levels of protection for a range of prices. Stock mouth guards can be found in any sporting goods store and are already pre-formed.

Depending on the size of the athlete’s mouth, these may not fit well and can be uncomfortable. They do, however, still provide a minimal amount of protection. “Boil and bite” guards can also be purchased at sporting good stores, but these are able to be fitted to a person’s mouth by allowing the plastic to become flexible in hot water and then molding them around the teeth. This is usually a better option than stock mouth guards, but they can be a bit pricier, running up to $40 or so. The final option of custom mouth guards are the most expensive, but they also provide the highest level of protection. These guards are typically made by a dentist and are designed to custom-fit an athlete’s mouth. A dentist takes an impression of the person’s mouth and then fills it with plaster to create a model of that individual’s teeth and gums. Custom mouth guards are generally the most comfortable and are priced anywhere from $100 to a few hundred dollars.

The American Dental Association highly recommends wearing a mouth guard during all sporting activities, particularly for people who have braces. Braces can easily cut into gums and other soft tissue, creating an extra hazard for their wearers. It’s important to make an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist to discuss your options for wearing a mouth guard. With the addition of this small safety precaution, you can help ensure that you have a beautiful smile all year round.