Posts for: December, 2017
As your mother used to say, “A moist mouth is a healthy mouth.” Well, maybe she didn't — but it's still true. Without the constant flow of saliva, your teeth and gums would be less healthy.
That's because among its many functions, saliva helps keep the mouth from becoming too acidic. Just after eating, your mouth's neutral pH level tips to the acidic side of the scale. Acid is enamel's number one enemy, and it takes little time for it to begin dissolving mineral content. But in thirty minutes to an hour, saliva neutralizes the acid; it also helps restore some of the enamel's minerals.
Without adequate saliva flow, acid quickly gets the upper hand. In time, this can greatly increase your risk for dental disease. And for many people, inadequate saliva — dry mouth — is a chronic problem.
There are a number of reasons why. Salivary glands may not produce as much in our later years. In addition, as we age, we may begin taking more medications, some of which can cause dry mouth. Treatments for certain kinds of systemic diseases, particularly cancer, can also inhibit saliva or even damage salivary glands.
If you feel your mouth is continuously dry, make an appointment to find out the cause, which will determine the best course of action to alleviate it. If it's related to your medication, we'll see if there's an alternative. If not, you may need to drink more water when you take your medication and more throughout the day.
There are other things you can do as well. Reduce your intake of acidic foods or caffeinated beverages. Run a cool-air humidifier at night to keep your mouth and nose membranes moist. And you can also try saliva stimulants available by prescription or even over the counter. Chewing gum with xylitol (an alcohol-based sugar) has also been shown to stimulate saliva flow.
Above all, be diligent about daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings and checkups. Keeping a watchful eye will help ensure dental disease doesn't take advantage of your dry mouth.
If you would like more information on managing 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.”
Invisalign is a revolutionary solution for patients who need their teeth aligned, but it’s not for everyone. Only certain patients are a good candidate for Invisalign braces as an alternative to standard braces. If you are a candidate for Invisalign, the dental team at Cohasset Dental in Cohasset, MA could have you fitted for a new set of custom aligner trays in a relatively short period of time. Learn more about this orthodontic treatment, which has helped countless patients achieve a better-looking smile.
Invisalign: A Modern Orthodontic Solution
In the late 1990s, Invisalign was developed as a “clear alternative” to regular orthodontic braces. Up until then, patients who had even minor orthodontic problems had to wear metal braces to realign their teeth. With Invisalign, clear removable trays move your teeth gently into the right position. Thanks to a revolutionary computer modeling system, your dentist can see how your smile will look after the treatment period is finished.
Are You a Candidate?
You may be a candidate for Invisalign treatment by a Cohasset dentist if you have any of the following smile problems:
- There are small spaces between your teeth due to misalignment.
- A few of your teeth are slightly overlapping.
- The teeth are pointing in different directions.
- Overbite or overjetting teeth.
- Teeth are slightly turned or protruding out of position.
The main advantage of Invisalign is that it doesn’t interfere much with your daily life. When you’re wearing the trays you might even forget you have them on. They’re clear, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed when you smile in public. When you need to eat your food, just take them off for a short time. Invisalign also requires less of a treatment period compared to regular braces.
Come in for an Invisalign Consultation
You may be a candidate for Invisalign, but you’ll never know until you see a dentist at Cohasset Dental in Cohasset, MA for a consultation. Call (781) 383-9393 today to speak to a friendly staff member and schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin Thomas or Dr. Aaron Chenette.
Brushing and flossing every day are important for preventing dental disease. The object is to remove as much bacterial plaque, the thin biofilm most responsible for disease, from your teeth and gums as possible.
But how do you know your hygiene efforts are that effective? You can of course do the “tongue test” â?? feel your teeth with your tongue after brushing and flossing and see if they feel smooth and “squeaky” clean. We can also give you a “report card” at your regular cleaning appointment. There is, however, a more precise way you can find out at home by using a plaque disclosing agent.
A plaque disclosing agent is a formulation that when applied to the teeth will temporarily dye any bacterial plaque present a distinct color. While dental hygienists occasionally apply them, they’re also available over the counter for use at home. They’re usually found in a solution, tablet or swab form in various flavors.
To use the product you first brush and floss, then swish the disclosing liquid around in your mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting it out (or chew the tablet or apply the swab as directed). The agent will react with any remaining plaque and dye it a bright color. There are even two-tone agents available that can differentiate between old and new plaque and dye them different colors.
Examining your teeth in a mirror will give you a good idea where you need to concentrate your attention when brushing and flossing. If, for example, you see dyed plaque more along the gum line and less in other places, then that’s where you should focus your hygiene efforts.
While the dye will eventually wear off on its own, you should take the opportunity to brush and floss again to remove any remaining dyed plaque. Not only does this provide a more thorough cleaning at that moment, you’ll also get a better sense of how “thoroughness” feels for future brushing and flossing.
It’s always good to know how well you’re doing with your dental hygiene efforts. A plaque disclosing agent can give you just the right feedback to help you improve.
If you would like more information on proper oral hygiene habits, 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 “Plaque Disclosing Agents.”