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:
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
Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated soft drinks
Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home
If you are experiencing dry mouth, make an appointment and be sure to tell our team. We will review your medications and perform a thorough dental exam to check for any potential underlying oral health issues.
For more information about dry mouth, contact our office in Stamford, CT.
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.
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.
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.
The human body is a network of interconnected systems and organs. Unfortunately, issues that impact one particular area of your body can also affect 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 balance, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you suffer from regular sensitivity? Teeth sensitivity is often misunderstood, but our Stamford dental team can help you find relief. We’re here to separate 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 in Stamford 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.
A canker sore can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult and even painful. Maintaining your oral health by brushing and flossing may also be difficult with a sore in your mouth, but keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine is an important step in the healing process. We’ve put together a short guide to everything you need to know about canker sores.
What do they look like?
Canker sores are usually small, round reddish sores. You’ll find them on the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your tongue, the sides of your mouth, and at the base of your gums. Occasionally, a sore might have a yellow or white colored center.
What causes them?
Among the most common causes of canker sores are injuries. This can happen from biting your lip or cheek, an injury from sports, or even vigorous brushing. Certain people are sensitive to toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate, leading to sores. Foods may also cause canker sores in certain people. Chocolate, eggs, nuts, and spicy foods have been known to cause the sores. At times, a diet that is deficient in vitamin B-12 or zinc is the culprit.
What can I do?
Your best defense is to keep your mouth healthy. This means keeping up with your twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. With a mouth sore, it may be tempting to avoid the area when brushing your teeth. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Aid the healing process by keeping your mouth clean and healthy. You may also try a mouthwash formulated for mouth sores. When in doubt, or if pain persists, talk to our team.
Brush thoroughly but gently around sores. Most canker sores heal within a week. If you find you are regularly getting sores, or they are taking longer than one week to heal, schedule a visit to our office. We will assess your oral health and provide you with our expert advice.
During pregnancy, it is essential that you don’t neglect your oral health. A fluctuation in hormones can cause drastic changes in your mouth. Oral health complications have been linked to increased risk in other significant overall health issues. Here are the most common oral health problems, how they can affect your pregnancy, and how to prevent them.
Oral Health Problems During Pregnancy
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, only 22 to 34 percent of women in the United States visit a dentist during pregnancy. Regular visits to Pearl Dental while expecting can allow us to detect potential issues early. Gingivitis is the biggest concern during pregnancy. The buildup of plaque is more likely to cause an expecting mother to have red, swollen, and painful gums that bleed. If the gums become even more swollen and irritated, it can cause non-cancerous pregnancy tumors. If oral health problems are left untreated they can lead to serious diseases.
Ways to Prevent Gum Problems
The best way to decrease any risk of getting gingivitis is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Make sure you brush the full tooth, all the way to the gums. Flossing your teeth regularly will also keep your gums healthy. Seeing your Stamford dentist more frequently for cleanings will reduce plaque and minimize any problems.
How Bad Oral Health Can Affect Your Baby
The Academy of General Dentistry suggests a link between gingivitis and having a preterm or low-birthweight baby. If an expecting mother has gingivitis, it can cause bacteria to enter in the bloodstream and travel to the uterus. The bacteria triggers chemicals that may induce early labor.
Maintaining good oral health is important in combating problems during pregnancy. Gingivitis is the most common concern that can be managed with the help of your Stamford dentist. Without proper treatment, gingivitis can lead to other health issues that not only affect you, but also your pregnancy. Keep yourself and your child safe by having a consultation with your dentist before or during your pregnancy. We also recommend that you bring your new baby to the dentist as soon as their first tooth grows in so they can get started on the path to a healthy life.