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Archive for May, 2014

Look Carefully at Dry Mouth: Causes and Treatment

Monday, May 26th, 2014

dentist South LoopSaliva is the body’s natural way of cleansing the mouth and teeth. Because of the pH level present in saliva, it can neutralize harmful acids that damage tooth enamel and rinse away leftover food particles while controlling bacterial and fungal growth in the mouth. Some patients suffer dry mouth, which can affect oral and dental health negatively and increase a patient’s risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Our dentist helps determine the underlying cause of dry mouth and offers treatment for this oral health condition.

Causes of Dry Mouth

The clinical term for dry mouth is xerostomia. A common contributor to dry mouth is medications. Over the counter and prescription medications can decrease saliva production. Common medications that cause xerostomia include:

  • Allergy medication
  • Depression and anti-anxiety medication
  • Medications for acne and skin disorders
  • Anti-histamines and decongestants
  • Medications used to treat epilepsy

Other contributors to dry mouth include diseases such as Alzheimer’s, HIV, diabetes, anemia, and many autoimmune disorders including rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, dehydration is a factor that causes dry mouth. Lifestyle habits like smoking affects saliva production, too.

Dry Mouth Symptoms

Common dry mouth symptoms include cracked lips and persistent sores on soft tissues inside the mouth and along the lips. Dryness of the nasal passages and throat along with a hoarse voice are typical symptoms as well.

Treatment for Xerostomia

The first step in treating dry mouth is determining the underlying cause of diminished saliva production. Our dentist will ask questions about your lifestyle, overall health, and use of prescription and non-prescription medications. Your primary physician may need to adjust your medication to help increase saliva production. Prescription mouth rinses and medication may be used to keep the mouth moist and help prevent the likelihood of developing dental conditions.

Some patients may benefit from altering their lifestyle habits. Using a humidifier to dampen air while sleeping along with chewing sugar-free gum during the day can help keep the mouth moist.

To schedule an appointment with our dentists and compassionate team, contact us today.



Nail Biting May Lead to Dental Issues

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

dentist Gold CoastWhen feeling stressed or anxious, do you find yourself biting your nails? While many people view this as just another annoying habit that affects the appearance of one’s hands, biting your nails can actually affect your oral health in negative ways. Habitual nail biting can lead to the development of dental conditions.

Teeth Are Only Meant to Bite Food

Teeth are biologically designed for tearing, biting, and chewing food. While teeth are strong and durable, they are not designed to tear or chew non-edible objects such as pen caps or finger nails. In fact, chewing or biting hard objects can wear small cracks in tooth enamel over time. Tooth enamel is a protective barrier that surrounds teeth above the gum line and helps protect sensitive interior tooth structures from developing cavities.

Sharp Edges of Fingernails Can Damage Gums

Biting your fingernails also damages gum tissue. The sharp edges of fingernails and corners of broken pieces of nail can cut gums. Open sores and lacerations in gingival tissue can become infected and inflamed because their interior tissues are exposed to harmful oral bacteria.

Hands and Fingers are Covered with Bacteria

Think of everything you touch in a day’s time. For example, things you touch multiple times a day like doorknobs at home and in public places are riddled with germs. Even if you wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, you will still have bacteria on your fingers and hands. Bacteria frequently become trapped underneath fingernails. When you chew and bite your nails, you can potentially transfer these bacteria to your mouth.

Because of the varied dental problems associated with biting fingernails, our dentist strongly urges patients to break this potentially destructive habit. Our team recommends managing stress and anxiety with healthier habits such as deep breathing.

In addition to breaking bad dental habits, patients should adopt a proper oral hygiene regiment that includes brushing teeth thoroughly twice a day and flossing in between teeth daily. To schedule an appointment for a cleaning or checkup, contact any of the convenient locations of Ora Dental Studio today.



Is oil pulling just a passing fad?

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

By now, you’ve probably heard about the proposed benefits of oil pulling – some say it can improve oral health and even provide overall health benefits for your skin and body.  It’s an interesting fad, to say the least, but it certainly isn’t a replacement for the benefits of  bi-yearly dental check-ups and cleanings.  To learn more, check out this article from US News and World Report.

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Why Do I Keep Getting Canker Sores?

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

dentist River NorthA dental condition, canker sores are painful lesions located inside the mouth on soft tissue like the lining of lips and gum tissues. These lesions may also form on the tongue and the insides of cheeks. Unlike cold sores, which are caused by a virus, the cause of canker sores is unknown. However, many medical professionals believe that stress and damage to soft tissues in the mouth triggers the development of canker sores. Estimates indicate that one out of every five people in the United States have had or will have a canker sore in their lifetime. Our dentist offers treatments to improve symptoms of discomfort and reduce infection related to canker sores.

Types of Canker Sores

There are two types of canker sores, simple and complex. Simple canker sores only develop a handful of times each year and usually only last about seven days. Complex canker sores, on the other hand, are less common among people yet those who have them develop complex canker sores more frequently and they can last longer than a week.

Canker Sore Irritants

Stress has been found to be a common trigger of canker sores. Furthermore, acidic foods—especially citrus—can irritate canker sores and produce pain. Oral appliances including braces and dentures can exacerbate or trigger canker sores because of their sharp edges.

Treatment Options

For most patients, canker sores occur infrequently and when they do, they normally heal on their own. Discomfort associated with these sores usually only lasts a couple days. However, if sores do not heal, seem to spread, or change in color, you should schedule an appointment with our dentist for an examination. Severe cases of canker sore stacks may produce fevers and engorged lymph nodes in patients. If these symptoms occur, patients should contact their primary physician.

To help ease discomfort and promote healing, our dentist may prescribe mouth rinses and ointments to reduce inflammation and infection. The frequency of canker sores can be prevented with thorough yet gentle oral hygiene practices after meals and the avoidance of foods that irritate the mouth such as citrus and spicy dishes.

To schedule an appointment, contact our compassionate dental team at 312-328-9000 today.