Posts for: August, 2016
There is much to contend with as we grow older, including a higher risk for dental disease. One possible contributing factor: dry mouth from a lack of saliva.
Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands secrete less than the normal two to four pints a day. Saliva performs a number of functions, but perhaps the most important for dental health is as an acid neutralizer. Within a half hour to hour after eating, saliva can restore the mouth's normal pH level to prevent acid from softening tooth enamel. When there isn't enough saliva, acid levels stay high leading to erosion of the enamel. This vastly increases the chances for tooth decay.
Although there are several causes for dry mouth, one of the more common is as a side effect from certain medications. It's estimated over 500 drugs — many taken by seniors — can cause dry mouth, including diuretics for high blood pressure and heart failure, antidepressants, and antihistamines. Some diseases like diabetes or Parkinson's may also reduce saliva flow, as well as radiation and chemotherapy.
If you've developed chronic dry mouth, there are some things that may help restore adequate saliva flow. If medication is the cause you can talk to your doctor about an alternative medication or add a few sips of water before swallowing the pills and a full glass afterwards. You should also drink plenty of non-caffeinated beverages (water is the best) during the day and cut back on sugary or acidic foods. And a cool-air humidifier running while you sleep may also help keep your mouth moist.
We may further recommend an over-the-counter or prescription stimulant for saliva. For example, xylitol, a natural alcohol sugar that's found in many gums and mints, has been found to stimulate saliva and reduce the risk of tooth decay as an added benefit.
Last but not least, be sure to brush and floss daily to remove disease-causing plaque and see us at least twice a year for cleanings and checkups (if your mouth is very dry, three to four times a year is a better prevention program). Managing chronic dry mouth along with proper oral hygiene will help ensure your mouth continues to stay healthy as you grow older.
If you would like more information on the causes and treatment for dry mouth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dry Mouth.”
A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.
“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”
That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.
Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:
- Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
- Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
- Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!
So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”
Small imperfections in your teeth can have a big effect on your smile. Chips, discolorations or uneven teeth may make you feel as though your smile has lost its charm. However, dental bonding can help you correct these issues and give you a smile you love. Learn more about dental bonding with your dentist at Cohasset Dental in Cohasset, MA.
What is dental bonding?
Dental bonding uses composite resin materials molded directly onto the tooth to repair small imperfections in your smile. Composite resin is a type of plastic approved for dental use which is soft and pliable until hardened with a special UV light. Bonding is a fast, easy and affordable way to correct aesthetic problems in your smile. The materials used in dental bonding procedures come in a variety of tooth-colored shades, allowing for a natural look which blends right in with your natural teeth.
What can dental bonding do for me?
Dental bonding is most often used to repair chipped teeth. However, it can also alter the size, shape, length or width of the tooth. Bonding can also improve the appearance of a stubborn stain or yellowed tooth. Your dentist at Cohasset Dental can help you determine if dental bonding is the best course of treatment for you and your teeth.
Dental Bonding in Cohasset, MA
Most dental bonding procedures last only a few minutes. Many appointments are under half an hour, depending on the size and complexity of the bonding required. Your dentist first cleans and dries the tooth in question, then applies an etching material which roughens the surface of the tooth. This provides the necessary environment for the adhesive to bond correctly to the teeth. Your dentist molds the resin directly onto the tooth, forming it into the desired shape. Once completed, a special UV light directed at the tooth activates the materials to harden them into a permanent part of your smile. Finally, your dentist polishes the tooth to a natural finish.
For more information on dental bonding, please contact Dr. Kevin Thomas and Dr. Aaron Chenette at Cohasset Dental in Cohasset, MA. Call (781) 383-9393 to schedule your appointment for dental bonding today!