Very often patients asked this question. They are concerned about a condition called Xerostomia, in which the salivary glands in the mouth don’t make enough saliva. Saliva is a very important element for the health of our mouth; it is considered a buffer that neutralizes acids produced by bacteria and limitsbacterial growth. Saliva also increases the taste and its enzymes help the digestion. Its absence can increase plaque, tooth decay and gum disease.
Some of the symptoms associated with Xero-stomia are:
Salivary glands not working properly may be the result of:
Medications: Antihistamine, decongestants, anxiety and hypertensive medications (blood pressure), muscle relaxants, urinary continence drugs, Parkinson’s disease meds, as well antidepressant.
Age: Older age can change the ability to process medications, or to have inadequate nutrition
Cancer Therapy: Radiations and Chemotherapy to the body especially head and neck can damage the salivary glands resulting in less saliva production
Nerve damage: an injury or surgery causing nerve damage to the head and neck area can result in dry mouth.
Tobacco: Chewing, smoking tobacco or vaping can increase the risk of dry mouth.
Other health conditions: Diabetes, stroke, autoimmune disease such as Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, also serious systemic disease, such as systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoidarthritis scleroderma, sarcoidosis, amyloidosis,
Medications: If the dry mouth is caused by a particular medication, the doctor will either alter the dosage or prescribe another drug which is less likely to cause.
Stimulating saliva production: Medication may be prescribed to stimulate the production of saliva, such as pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac).
OVER THE COUNTER SALIVA STIMULANTS: Saliva substitutes that contain xylitol, such as gums or mints, Spreyrain oral mist spray (Xlear), Biotine oral balance gel or rinse , Orbit sugar free gums, Trident gums with xylitol
FLUORIDE TREATMENT: To prevent cavities, fluoride traysmay be suggested, which will be fill with fluoride and wear overteeth at night. Also weekly use of rinses to control cavities may be recommended.
GOOD ORAL HYGIENE: Dentists or dental hygienist will reinforce the importance of regular brushing and flossing and may offer additional instructions regarding your daily oral hygiene. The ability to consistently accomplish these daily oral hygiene measures, as instructed, is one of the most important steps in successfully managing the complications of oral dryness.
Give us a call today and find out what Alameda Dental Care can do for you.
From March 1st – June 30th, our offices will be participating in Smiles for Hope.
Smiles for Hope helps and supports a wonderful charity, Hope Arising.
Hope Arising sends medical & dental teams to work in the local Ethiopian health clinics. Dr Jenkins and the Dental Clinic
They give services and training to education professionals in the local schools. Building a School
They develop small business training for microcredit loans to women, which also strengthen families. Hawa’s Story
And they have increased water and sanitation by the creation of a water pipeline. Creating the Water Pipeline
We welcome you to our office, whether it’s your first visit or you are a long time patient. Whitening companies donates the whitening materials, and our Dental team donates their time. Together, we offer professional teeth whitening services at substantially reduced prices (donations). You may choose between three different whitening options:
No proceeds stay in the office. 100% of your donation goes to the charity! And for you, it is all tax deductible!
Whitening helps you look and feel younger. And when you professionally whiten your teeth, you are ensuring a safer, more effective way of whitening. Over the counter items may be quicker and cheaper, but they are not tailored to your specific mouth and are not as effective. If you have ever wanted to whiten, now is the time. Everybody wins!
Have you ever had a dentist recommend a sealant for you or your child and wondered: “what is that” and “why do I need it”? Here are some answers to a few of your questions.
A dental sealant is a protective coating that is placed in hard to clean areas of the teeth where cavity-causing bacteria resides.
Sealants aid in preventing cavities that may form in the pits and grooves of teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach, making it difficult to clean, such as the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. If not properly cleaned, that bacteria sits in the grooves of those teeth and causes decay to form. The sealant provides a barrier, keeping bacteria from residing in those areas.
They can also minimize progression of lesions that are just beginning to form but have not yet progressed into full cavities.
Sealants are recommended when our permanent molars (and sometimes premolars) first come in, generally around the ages of 6 and 12.
Sealants last several years, but they do wear down over time. Your dentist can check them at each visit and may touch them up over time if needed.
The tooth is first dried and an etch material is placed on it, then after a few seconds it is rinsed off. This step helps the sealant material to form a stronger bond with the tooth.
Next the tooth is dried again and the sealant material is applied. Your dentist will use a blue curing light to make the sealant set and harden.
Activated charcoal toothpaste and powders have been gaining popularity the past few years. Ads have been flooding social media. You may have seen the YouTube videos and the Pinterest before and after photos. It has become a true dental fad. Charcoal is not only a trend right now, but historically ancient Romans used charcoal, amongst other products to clean teeth. As a dental hygienist, I get questions about charcoal toothpaste often. Does the toothpaste actually whiten the teeth? Does it help prevent gingivitis? Is charcoal toothpaste effective and safe to use?
Unfortunately, the answer is unclear on the effectiveness and safety of using activated charcoal toothpastes or powders. The Journal of the American Dental Association did a literature review of 118 articles and smaller studies done on charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes. The conclusion was that there was insufficient clinical and laboratory data to substantiate the safety and efficacy of charcoal and charcoal-based toothpastes. Larger-scale and well-designed studies are needed to establish conclusive evidence (Brooks, Bashirelahi, & Reynolds, 2017).
The Pharmaceutical Journal states, there have been no scientific studies published that support the effectiveness of charcoal toothpastes in tooth whitening, oral hygiene and any claimed preventative effects (Greenwall & Wilson, 2017).
From information I have gathered from journal articles written on the subject, activated charcoal toothpastes are seemingly effective in removing surface stains from coffee, tea, red wine,etc. This is most likely due to the abrasive nature of activated charcoal. There has not been enough evidence to show that activated charcoal toothpaste has an effect on whitening yellow teeth. Activated charcoal is characteristically absorbent,however in the form of a toothpaste, it may be the abrasiveness that is contributing to the removal of the stain.
The abrasive nature of activated charcoal can be seen as a potential concern as well. Activated carbon is more grainy than traditional pastes and can potentially cause damage to the teeth (Potts, 2018). There was not much information supporting gum health, however some reviews claimed that a side effect was gum irritation. There are a lot of positive claims and a lot of negative claims, yet no claim is supported by enough clinical evidence to be deemed as true.
In conclusion, we have to take this information lightly because there is not enough substantial evidence to support these claims. Because activated charcoal toothpastes and powders have grown in popularity, there are a lot of companies making this type product right now and some may be putting harmful ingredients into the mix. RDH magazine claims that some foreign brands of toothpaste may contain toxic ingredients. We must exercise caution when buying a product like this. Several charcoal toothpastes or powders on the market right now do not contain Fluoride, which is the key ingredient for cavity prevention. If you’re using a charcoal toothpaste without Fluoride, your dental professional may recommend supplementing with a Fluoride mouth rinse.
My recommendation would be to read the ingredients carefully when purchasing toothpaste, especially if it is not from a reputable company. Be cautious if using activated charcoal toothpaste or powder and do not use it long-term until more research has been published to support the safety and efficacy of the product.
Greenwall, L., & Wilson, N. H. (2017, July 13). Charcoal toothpastes: what we know so far. Retrieved February 16, 2019, from The Pharmaceutical Journal: https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/opinion/correspondence/charcoal-toothpastes-what-we-know-so-far/20203167.article?firstPass=false
Potts, K. (2018, July 1). Marketing Ingenuity or Beneficial Dentifrice? Retrieved Februrary 16, 2019, from RDH Magazine: https://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-38/issue-7/content/marketing-ingenuity-or-beneficial-dentifrice.html
Physicians and dentists may recommend that a patient takes antibiotics prior to certain dental procedures. This is called “antibiotic prophylaxis”. But why do physicians and dentists at times recommend antibiotic prophylaxis?
All of us have bacteria in our mouths, and many dental procedures allow bacteria to enter the blood stream. This is known as bacteremia. For most of us, this does not pose a problem. A healthy immune system typically prevents the bacteria from causing any harm.There is a concern, however, that for some people, bacteremia could potentially cause an infection elsewhere in the body.
Antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended for people who have specific heart conditions. In 2008, the American Heart Association released new guidelines identifying people who need to take antibiotics prior to dental care. Antibiotic prophylaxis should be considered for people with:
Certain congenital heart defects including:
The guidelines prior to 2008 suggested use of antibiotics for many additional conditions. Conditions for which antibiotic prophylaxis is no longer recommended include:
Antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines were also developed for those who have orthopedic implants, such as artificial joints. In the past, antibiotics were recommended for two years post artificial joint placement. And in rare occasions, more than two years. In 2012, the American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons updated these recommendations.
The new guidelines do not recommend routinely prescribing antibiotics for people with artificial joints. Due to these changes, dentists and physicians rely more on case-by-case assessments and consultation with patients to determine when antibiotics are appropriate with orthopedic implants. For example, antibiotic prophylaxis might be used for the patients that also have a compromised immune system which might increase the risk of orthopedic implant infection.
If you have a heart condition or an orthopedic implant, talk with your dentist or physician about whether antibiotic prophylaxis is necessary.
One of the most common concerns voiced in the dental office; here are a couple solutions. First we need to differentiate between gum and tooth sensitivity. If you have symptoms of sore, bleeding, or red gums, this would indicate gum sensitivity. If you drink cold or hot foods/drinks and begin to feel a “ZING” feeling to the tooth and nerves, this would indicate tooth sensitivity. First and foremost, the easiest method of gum sensitivity prevention it to brush, floss, and remain consistent with your dental re-care visits. In addition, there are different toothpastes and fluoride treatment that can help with tooth sensitivity.
#1- Home Care: By staying on top of a great home care routine of brushing twice per day for two minutes and integrating a method of flossing, there with be less plaque retention around the gums. This plaque can be causing irritation, inflammation, and in some cases bleeding. By improving your home care regimen, gum pain can reduce and furthermore protect your teeth from decay.
#2- Desensitizing Toothpaste: Sensodyne toothpaste, MI Paste, and PreviDent are created specifically for remineralization of the tooth but also help with sensitivity. Sensodyne is available over the counter while MI Paste and PreviDent are stronger strength and can be dispensed at the dental office. Remember when using these toothpastes to brush, spit, but do NOT rinse. It is important to allow the ingredients to sit on the teeth rather than rinse away with water.
#3- Fluoride Treatment: There are a few different methods of fluoride treatment available for patients. One in specific that has an easy and swift application would be a fluoride varnish. These vitamins are tooth-colored and painted onto the teeth after a cleaning. It is designed to assist with tooth sensitivity and promote remineralization of the tooth. Fluoride varnish is great for all ages and it comes in various flavors.
One size does not fit all to meet our patient’s needs for treatment of sensitivity. Ask your hygienist if you have any other questions regarding sensitivity to chose a possible treatment that is best for you.
When thinking about cleaning between teeth, floss will probably come to mind. This is a great way to clean between teeth, but it is not the only way! There are other oral hygiene aids that are available and it’s not one size fits all. Below are options with the benefits and uses for each one.
One person could benefit from using more than one type of inter-dental aid, depending on the area of the mouth. No matter what oral hygiene aids are used to clean between teeth, it is important to use proper technique in order for them to be effective. Speak with a dental professional for instructions on how to use any oral hygiene aids.
You can start before your baby even has teeth, it is best to incorporate mouth cleaning at bath time. This routine will help your baby get used to you cleaning their mouth, which can allow a smoother transition when you do begin to brushing their teeth. This will also help you to know when your babies teeth first start to push through their gum tissue.
The bacteria that lives in the mouth is not harmful to the gum tissue, but can be harmful to the teeth. The enamel on baby teeth are 50% thinner than adult teeth. Therefore baby teeth are more susceptible to the bacteria that causes cavities.
To clean your babies mouth before tooth eruption use a clean wet wash cloth. Wrap wash cloth around your finger then rub it gently around your babies gums.
When the teeth have started to erupt, this will be time to transition from a wash cloth to a baby tooth brush. Look for a tooth brush specifically made for infants. This will usually start around six months old. This will also be the time to change from bath time mouth cleaning to brushing two times daily.
It is fine to just dry brush with just tap water, or a fluoridated tooth paste can be used. When using toothpaste, use the tiniest smear. It is never too early to help create a good brushing routine for your child.
As a Dental Hygienist, I frequently get asked about bad breath. Many patients suffer from chronic bad breath, or halitosis, and are constantly seeking a cure! Here’s the deal with halitosis:
Cavities and periodontal disease are both caused by different types of bacteria. Infections are also caused by bacteria that feed on mucus produced by the body. Left untreated, all of these bacteria can cause odors in the mouth that contribute to bad breath. Poor oral hygiene can leave plaque and calculus on the teeth, also contributing to bad odors. An obvious cause of bad breath would be a diet of potent foods such as garlic and onions. Usually odors from these foods can be eliminated after brushing/flossing/rinsing, so if the odors persist, there is most likely a more pressing underlying issue. Saliva helps rinse the mouth and remove debris after eating. When saliva flow is decreased the removal of debris is also decreased and leftover food in the mouth could be one cause of bad breath. Smoking and/or tobacco use come with their own associated odors but can also contribute to periodontal disease, which can be a major cause of halitosis. Chronic conditions such as gastric reflux, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, etc. may also contribute to halitosis. Our mouths are connected to our bodies and chronic diseases may present with signs or symptoms in the mouth.
For specific questions or concerns about halitosis, ask your Dentist or Dental Hygienist.