Normal flow of saliva provides lubrication for swallowing and begins the process of digestion while you chew. Saliva also protects your teeth by neutralizing and washing away acids, sugars, and other particles left behind after eating. From time to time, we all experience some amount of dry mouth. Hot weather, exercise, and dehydration can all cause a temporary decrease in saliva production. However, if you have chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia, you could be at risk of serious oral health complications.
Some of the oral health issues commonly associated with dry mouth include:
- Much higher rates of tooth decay
- Oral yeast infection
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Constant sore throat
- Soft tissue infections
- Difficulty swallowing
- Denture discomfort
The most common cause of chronic dry mouth is medication. More than 400 over-the-counter and prescription medications include dry mouth as a frequent side effect. Dry mouth is also associated with stress, autoimmune and other systemic diseases, hormonal changes, radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancers, and salivary gland disease.
You may find relief from dry mouth through a variety of methods. Some easy options to help alleviate your dry mouth include:
- Increased water intake
- Sugar-free candies or gum
- Artificial saliva, as recommended by doctor or dentist
- Alcohol-free mouthwash
- Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated soft drinks
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home
- Change in medication, only as directed by doctor
Brush and floss regularly to help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other complications.
If you are experiencing dry mouth, make an appointment and be sure to tell our New Castle dentist. We will review your medications and perform a thorough dental exam to check for any potential underlying oral health issues.
Are you embarrassed to show your smile because of missing teeth? For many people, missing teeth can create a feeling of diminished self-confidence. Modern dentistry can not only replace the gaps in your smile, our team can also create long-term replacements that look and feel just like your natural teeth. You have options. Here are a few of the most common tooth replacement solutions.
Dentures are a solution for those who have lost many or all their teeth. They create a realistic, aesthetically pleasing smile. They are ideal for patients that are missing multiple teeth on either the top or bottom. Our team will start by taking an impression of your mouth. We will then send the impression to a lab for a customized set of dentures to be created. Once your dentures are ready, we will ensure a proper fit and make any necessary adjustments. Dentures should be cleaned regularly with a non-abrasive cleanser. Our team will provide you with all the information you need to take care of your dentures.
You may have heard of dental bridges referred to as partial dentures. Dental bridges are a replacement solution for one or more missing teeth. They help prevent your existing teeth from shifting into the empty gaps of your missing teeth. Bridges utilize your surrounding teeth as an anchor for your replacements. Our New Castle Dentist can match the bridge to look like your natural teeth; no one will even notice the difference.
Dental implants are a long-lasting tooth replacement option. Unlike dentures, which may require replacement, dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care. Our team will ensure your gum tissue is healthy enough with adequate bone support to anchor the implant. For some patients, additional preparations may be necessary such as a bone graft to guarantee your implant has a strong, stable foundation.
The gaps in your smile can be filled. Our New Castle family dentist can help you decide on a tooth replacement solution based on your individual needs. It is important to fill the gaps of missing teeth to prevent deterioration to your gums and the shifting of teeth into these empty spaces. Additionally, tooth replacement solutions such as dentures, bridges, or implants can help improve your speech and comfort.
A happy smile is a healthy smile! There are a number of steps you can take to keep your smile healthy by reducing your risk of developing tooth decay. Here are a few suggestions from our team.
Eat a Tooth Friendly Diet
Reduce the amount of sugars and carbohydrates in your diet. Decay-causing bacteria in the mouth feed on these substances.
We suggest you reduce grains, beans, seeds, and nuts in your diet when possible. These foods can lead to demineralization of your teeth and bones due to their acidic content. Consider adding foods high in minerals and vitamins to your diet such as apples, leafy greens, celery, or carrots.
Brush, Floss, Rinse, Repeat
Routine brushing at least twice a day followed by flossing and a mouth rinse is the optimal at home dental care routine. Brush for at least two minutes in the morning and at night. Use a soft bristle toothbrush that is small enough to reach every tooth.
Children often get dental sealants to protect the hard-to-reach teeth in the back of their mouths. However, dental sealants can benefit adults and those who have a higher risk of decay. Dental sealants are a layer of plastic-like material that coats the top surface of the tooth. Sealants protect the crevices in the tooth where bacteria reside and minimizes exposure of the tooth to harmful acids and sugars that wear down enamel.
When left untreated, tooth decay can cause discomfort and spread to other healthy teeth. You can combat tooth decay by reducing sugars and acids in your diet and brushing and flossing regularly. For some patients, dental sealants might be a solution.
Don’t forget to schedule your next visit to our office. Our team can provide a professional cleaning and check for signs of tooth decay.
There are over 12 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year. There are a large variety of different kinds of cancer, some of which are more preventable than others. It might seem obvious that brushing and flossing each day as well as avoiding tobacco can help protect you from oral cancer. However, there are types of oral cancer and other cancers that can be prevented through optimal oral care as well.
Dental Care and Oral Cancer
While it’s long been known that tobacco and heavy alcohol use are the main causes of oral, head, and neck cancer, poor oral health has recently been added to the list. A 2007 study published in American Journal of Epidemiology found that poor mouth health and missing teeth were strongly linked to the development of oral cancer. Likewise, patients with healthy smiles were found to be far less likely to develop oral cancer. If you have been diagnosed with oral cancer, know that common oral health problems such as gum disease and tooth decay could be making the condition worse. Visiting our dental office regularly for professional cleanings, examinations, and oral cancer screenings to help catch signs of oral cancer early and make treatment easier and more effective.
Oral Health and Other Cancers
Poor oral health has been shown to be tied to other types of cancers outside of the mouth. For example, a recent study conducted by NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center found that certain types of bacteria in patients with gum disease was tied to a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. While esophageal cancer only accounts for 1% of new cancer cases diagnosed annually, over 90% of patients will die of the disease. Untreated gum disease opens up the tissues around the teeth to bacterial infection, allowing these harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream and infect other parts of the patient’s body. Maintaining optimal oral health can help protect you from this threat.
Your oral health effects much more than just your mouth. If you’re not taking care of your teeth, tongue, and gums, you could significantly increase your risk of developing cancer without even realizing it. If you’d like to learn more about the connection between oral health and cancer, contact our dental team to schedule an examination and cleaning today
Blood thinning medications are helpful in regulating your body to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other serious issues. However, if you are scheduled for oral surgery, it is vital that our oral surgeon is aware of all medications you are using.
How Blood Thinners Work
There are two types of blood thinners. The first type works to prevent blood clotting. Medications ranging from aspirin to Plavix fit into this category. The other type of blood thinners work to prevent blood from coagulating; Coumadin or warfarin accomplish this.
What Our Oral Surgeon Should Know
When you have your oral surgery consultation appointment, be sure to share with us any medications you are taking. We need to have your complete medical history to ensure your safety and proper treatment. Our dentist might also ask you the purpose of each medication you are taking to better understand any side-effects or other medical issues that could affect your oral surgery.
Steps to Take Before Surgery
Never stop any medication without consulting your doctor. Depending on your medical history, your doctor might suggest specific blood tests before having oral surgery. Communication is key, both between you and your primary physician, and between you and our office. If your treatment requires additional medication to be taken, ask about potential drug interactions.
Steps to Take to Minimize Oral Bleeding
Bleeding resulting from oral surgery can occur, but each patient will have different results. The most effective way to minimize oral bleeding is to firmly apply pressure to the area for up to 30 minutes. Gauze is recommended for applying gentle pressure to stop bleeding. Depending on the oral surgery procedure, we may ask you to refrain from drinking hot liquids and rinsing your mouth for the first day. We suggest avoiding rough or sharp foods that might cut your mouth.
Prior to having any oral surgery, it is important that our experienced surgical team has a thorough knowledge of your medical history. This enables us to find the best possible solutions for your needs, while ensuring your safety.
If you have any questions about medications and oral surgery, contact our office.
Men, dental examinations and treatment are important for you, too. Did you know according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), by age 72 men lose an average of 5 teeth? That number jumps to 12 if you are also a smoker. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your mouth healthy. Follow these tips and you can beat the odds stacked against men and their oral health.
Men are more likely than women to suffer from periodontal, or gum, disease. Men also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer and throat cancer, and men tend to lose more teeth than women. A poll conducted by the AGD found that 45% of men who responded felt there was no need for them to visit the dentist. This is a troubling statistic for a group more prone to oral health issues. A visit to our office can help us identify problems early.
Certain medications can directly impact your teeth. Others can cause side effects such as dry mouth, which decreases saliva. Saliva is important in keeping your teeth’s enamel strong. Smoking or chewing tobacco, including smoking electronic cigarettes, have been linked to increasing your risk of developing oral cancer and other oral health issues. If you play sports, especially football or hockey, get fitted with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from extensive damage. You should avoid or limit energy drinks and sports drinks, as these contain acids and sugars that can lead to decay.
Men are at a higher risk for developing periodontal, or gum, disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of hardened plaque on teeth and gums. This buildup, known as tartar, can inflame your gums. Studies have linked periodontal disease to increasing your risk for strokes, heart attacks, diabetic complications, and more. If your gums are red, bloodied, or sore, you should make an appointment to see us. Our experienced, professional dental team will assess your gum health and work to find a treatment for you.
Take These Steps at Home
A visit to our office will provide you with a complete dental examination and cleaning, but you should also practice good oral hygiene each day at home. This starts by brushing your teeth twice each day, for two minutes each time. When you brush, use an appropriate toothpaste. Ask our team if you are not sure what kind of toothpaste is best for you. Make sure you are also using dental floss. Taking care of your teeth at home will make your next visit to see us easier.
Men, your teeth are important so take good care of them. Practice good brushing and flossing habits at home. Reduce your risk of developing decay and oral disease by cutting back on sugary or acidic drinks, avoiding tobacco and smoking, and keeping our office up to date on any medications you are using. Get into the habit of coming to our office regularly, your smile depends on it.
For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next dental examination, please contact our office.
The human body is a network of interconnected systems and organs. Unfortunately, issues that impact one particular area of your body can also effect the health and function of other areas. Recently, studies have highlighted evidence for links between gum disease and heart disease.
While the exact nature of the connection is still being researched, heart disease is almost twice as likely to occur in people who have gum disease. Nearly half of all Americans have undiagnosed gum disease. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death, making it pertinent that you maintain a healthy heart. The first key to doing so might lie in keeping your gums healthy.
While gum disease may be a contributing factor to heart disease, it is not the only cause. It is essential that you maintain regular visits to your primary care physician as well to measure your overall health. Other factors and lifestyle choices can impact your heart health.
Diet and exercise. Maintain an active lifestyle with activities you enjoy, such as taking walks, riding bikes, playing sports, or doing yoga. Avoid foods high in starches and sugars, including carbonated soft drinks, as they can also damage your teeth.
Don’t smoke. Whether you’re smoking or vaping, nicotine has a detrimental effect on your cardiovascular system and can damage teeth, gums, and lungs. Recent studies have connected vaping to a rapid loss in healthy cells that line the top layer of your mouth. These cells play an essential role in keeping your mouth healthy.
Brush your teeth. The most basic part of oral hygiene is also the most effective. Make sure you brush and floss at least twice a day.
By keeping a balanced, exercising regularly, and taking care of your teeth, you’re taking a holistic approach to your well-being and minimizing your risk of developing heart disease.
As with other diseases, preventing gum disease alone will not completely remove the risk of developing heart disease. However, you can take a proactive approach to keeping your body healthy, starting with your oral health.
To schedule a cleaning and examination, please contact our office.
Is anxiety or nervousness preventing you from visiting our team? Dental treatments should not be a cause of stress. If you worry about pain, embarrassment, or loss or control during a dental examination, we want you to know two very important things: You are not alone and We can help.
Dental Anxiety Is Common
Research has shown that most patients experience some degree of anxiety when visiting the dentist. Between 10 and 20% of the general population encounters such a high level of stress and nervousness that they ignore oral healthcare altogether. This can increase the risk of developing severe oral health complications, requiring additional care.
In many cases, dental anxiety has two main causes. First, patients may have had a negative experience in the past, leaving them apprehensive towards their next appointment. Second, is through influence. This is particularly true for children. Children learn through imitation and are influenced by their parents. If you dread going to the dentist, your child may pick up on the behavior and develop similar fears.
Our Team Can Help
The first action you can take is to let our team know about your feelings of nervousness and anxiety. We have a number of techniques to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Our compassionate team is always open to discussing your options with you.
We will consult you regarding what your visit will entail, and work together to find a comfortable pace at which you feel comfortable.
If nervousness, stress, fear, or anxiety have caused you to skip appointments or avoid dental care completely, please contact our team. Dentistry is constantly evolving by offering new technology and treatment methods with patient safety and comfort in mind. Talk to our team about your fears or concerns and allow us to work with you. Ignoring your oral health can have serious repercussions and lead to more necessary treatments.
Contact our team to schedule your visit today.
It’s common knowledge that plenty of beverages are not good for your health. The excessive amounts of sugar, caffeine, or alcohol found in a lot of popular drinks have well-documented impacts on your body. However, you may not be aware of the immediate impacts that these beverages can have on your teeth. Below is a list of some common beverages and tips for enjoying them responsibly.
Soda, Juice, and Energy Drinks
The high sugar content in these drinks can have a negative impact on your physical health. Less obvious however is the effects that they can have on your teeth. As with any sugary food, prolonged exposure can lead to the damage and decay of your enamel, opening the door for cavities and other issues to occur.
Many popular coffee drinks contain just as much sugar as sodas and juices. However, even people who drink their coffee black run the risk of damaging their smile. Excessive coffee consumption can stain your teeth, though the amount of discoloration experienced varies from person to person.
Wine, Beer, and Liquor
Though it seems obvious that red wine can stain your teeth, all wines pose a similar risk of damage. Likewise, darker beers can gradually stain your teeth depending on the frequency of consumption. While hard liquors generally don’t pose as much of a risk to your enamel on their own, the mixers they’re often served with can.
How to Protect Your Teeth
After consuming one of these beverages, your first impulse might be to brush your teeth as soon as possible. However, rushing to brush could actually be doing more harm than good. All of the aforementioned beverages contain high levels of acid. This acid has a softening effect on your enamel, and the pressure applied during brushing can potentially further this softening. Instead, it’s recommended that you follow sugary or acidic drinks with water and wait 30 minutes to brush. It is also beneficial to swish the water around as you drink it, as this will help gently rinse off all of your teeth and allow the enamel to harden before you brush.
Watching your diet can benefit your teeth as much as it benefits the rest of your body. However, moderate consumption of any of these beverages won’t cause an issue provided you maintain a proper oral care routine that includes regular brushing and flossing, as well as professional cleanings at least twice a year. Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment!
Do you suffer from regular sensitivity? Teeth sensitivity is often misunderstood, but our dental team can help you find relief. We’re here to separate the fact from fiction in sensitivity.
MYTH: People’s teeth are supposed to hurt when they bite into cold or hot foods.
Feelings of sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods should not be a typical experience. If you suffer from hypersensitivity, it can actually be a sign that something is wrong. There are many causes for hypersensitivity including cavities, older dental fillings, worn tooth enamel, gum disease, and exposed tooth roots. Dentin hypersensitivity is a common issue. A visit to our dental office can help you find relief
MYTH: Desensitizing toothpastes are not effective in reducing teeth sensitivity.
Desensitizing toothpastes include compounds like potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients work by preventing pain signals being transmitted between the surface of your tooth and the inside nerves. It may take several applications of the toothpaste until you will feel a noticeable difference. Prescription strength toothpastes are also an option for more severe and prolonged feelings of sensitivity. Ask our dentist to recommend a toothpaste for your needs.
MYTH: You shouldn’t drink coffee or eat ice cream if you have sensitive teeth.
You don’t have to be limited from eating or drinking your favorite foods. It is important to check with our dentist to determine the root cause of your discomfort. Based on your cause, we may recommend a prescribed toothpaste or another treatment. You should always maintain proper oral care to prevent sensitivity.
MYTH: Sensitivity never results in tooth loss.
Sensitivity may in fact be a precursor to tooth loss. Gum recession, which exposes the roots of your teeth, can cause general sensitivity among several teeth at the same time. Prolonged and untreated gum recession can lead to tooth loss. Tooth decay can also cause sensitivity. When left untreated, it may lead to an infection in the gums or jaw and risk spreading to other areas in the head or neck. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a difference in keeping your smile healthy.
MYTH: Sensitivity does not have a cure.
Depending on the cause, there are many ways to treat teeth sensitivity. Proper oral hygiene is the best way to prevent any sensitive tooth pain. If you experience sensitivity, schedule a comprehensive dental examination today.
We look forward to seeing you. Contact our team to schedule your next visit.