Dental Tips Blog

Oct
9

Do You Have a Salivary Gland Disorder?

Is it a passing case of dry mouth, or something more?

Your saliva glands are small and easy to take for granted. Yet, they play a big role in dental hygiene by keeping your mouth clean, healthy, and comfortable. So, when something goes wrong with a saliva gland, it’s hard to ignore.

There are three major disorders that commonly affect salivary glands:

  • Sialolithiasis
  • Sialadenitis
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome

The first condition is where a salivary stone obstructs a saliva duct. The second is inflammation of the duct that often follows as the result of a stone blockage, but it may happen independently. Lastly, Sjogren’s Syndrome is a set of symptoms that affect moisture-producing cells all over the body.

Additionally, viral infections and tumors can also cause problems with your salivary glands.

Signs You May Have A Salivary Gland Disorder

If you have a stone blocking a saliva duct you may feel a small lump in the area. It will probably hurt more when you eat because food stimulates saliva flow, but the fluid has nowhere to go.

An infection in the salivary gland may present with some pus and even a fever.

Swollen glands can indicate a variety of diseases and are also characteristic of diabetes and excessive alcohol use.

Have Dry Mouth? What You Should Do

If your discomfort is accompanied by fever or swelling that makes it hard to swallow or breathe, contact a doctor right away.

A simple case of dry mouth in itself may not be quite as serious. Plan a visit to your local dentist to find out whether your lack of saliva is due to medication or a serious medical condition.

Posted on behalf of:
The Grove Family Dentistry
6200 Center St Suite I
Clayton, CA 94517
(925) 350-8592

Mar
27

You and Your Dry Mouth

So your mouth feels a little dry, but that’s not cause for concern – or is it? Xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth, is a reduction in saliva flow. It can range from being a problem you hardly notice to a complication you can’t ignore. At its worst, saliva loss can impact not just your oral health, but your overall well being.

What Causes Dry Mouth

In many cases, dry mouth is a side effect of over-the-counter or prescription medications. If you’re experiencing dry mouth, your dentist may be able to make recommendations to improve your salivary flow. If medication is not the culprit, then further investigation may be required todetect an underlying cause. Xerostomia may be the first symptom of a more serious illness.

Complications of Reduced Saliva

Dry mouth can often cause a persistent sore throat, hoarseness, dry sinuses and even lead to difficulties when swallowing or speaking. Not only does it affect your overall health, it can also have a great impact on your teeth, resulting in:

  • Tooth Decay or Loss
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Diminished Sense of Taste

Saliva plays a key role in keeping your mouth healthy and clean, by rinsing away food particles and cavity-causing bacteria. When the amount of your saliva is reduced, it creates an environment that encourages plaque and cavities to develop. Restoring saliva flow is vital for maintaining a healthy smile.

Dry Mouth Is Treatable

If you’re suffering from dry mouth, call your dentist and ask about options to reduce the symptoms. In the meantime, you can try increasing your water intake, avoiding salty foods, and rigorous oral hygiene. Prolonged symptoms could wreak havoc on your smile, so don’t delay in getting appropriate care.

Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
(212) 398-9690

Nov
22

The Top Three Causes of Dry Mouth

Dry mouth affects some 10% of Americans and tends to affect women more than men. If you suffer from dry mouth, then you know how frustrating it is to deal with. You may find yourself drinking a lot of water, but all that seems to accomplish is more trips to the restroom! Determining the root cause of your dry mouth may help you to cope with it. We’re going to talk about the three most common causes of dry mouth.

Medications

Whether prescription or over-the-counter, there are many drugs on the market which have dry mouth as a side-effect. This may be the most easily altered cause of dry mouth. Talk with your doctor if you feel that a change in your medication may help to alleviate this side-effect.

Symptom of Another Medical Condition

It is not uncommon for a number of medical conditions to have dry mouth as an accompanying symptom. Such common conditions include diabetes, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure, and rheumatoid arthritis. It may not be so easy to eliminate the cause of your dry mouth in such a case, but you can still take good care of your oral health and manage the effects of dry mouth.

Damage to the Salivary Gland

If you have ever had invasive surgery around your saliva ducts or perhaps were on a course of radiation or chemotherapy for cancer treatment, then your saliva gland could have been damaged. This was likely unavoidable and now irreversible. Here, again, you can still deal with the symptom of dry mouth by collaborating with your dental team.

Ask your dentist about the techniques and products he or she recommends for keeping your mouth moist, comfortable, healthy, and free of dry-mouth induced tooth decay.

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

Feb
6

Preventing Dry Mouth from Harming Your Smile

Dry mouth, or xerostomia as it is officially known, can be very annoying. It can also literally destroy your smile. Why? Because saliva is a natural lubricant that plays many roles in the overall health of your smile. Without it, you can be in for many dental problems. When saliva is decreased and your mouth is dry, problems that may develop include increased tooth decay and gingival infections.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Perhaps the biggest cause of dry mouth is the role that prescription and over the counter medications play in our lives. Xerostomia is the number one side effect of most medications. Other factors include radiation therapy or medical conditions that cause salivary glands to produce a decreased output. 

Keeping Your Mouth Lubricated

Drinking water frequently throughout the day will help wash away acids and biofilm, but it isn’t always enough. Some people require artificial drops or lubricating mouthrinses to keep their mouths comfortable; otherwise wearing prosthetics like dentures or partials can become very painful. Your dentist can recommend specific sprays, gums or rinses which are most effective for keeping your mouth lubricated throughout the day. Without enough lubrication, bacteria will sit for extended periods on your teeth and cause cavities at a much quicker rate.

What to Stay Away From

The most important part of managing dry mouth is to know what to stay away from. Many people hope to stimulate saliva by having mints throughout the day. Unfortunately even “sugar free” mints can cause cavities, so run these by your dentist before you rely on them. It’s also important to refrain from using mouthrinses that contain alcohol, as these can dry your mouth out even further. 

Regularly scheduled exams will help your dentist identify problems associated with your dry mouth condition. Because you are at an increased risk for dental problems, never wait longer than every 6 months for your dental check-up.

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

Sep
9

The Most Common Side Effect of Prescription Drugs

What’s something that nearly every prescription drug commercial has in common? The side effects listed at the end of the ad. And there’s one drug side effect that is one of the very most common ones, which can also impact your smile. What is it? Dry mouth, also known as “xerostomia.” Xerostomia means that there is less saliva production by your salivary glands, causing your mouth to be drier than normal. Dry eyes might happen in conjunction with dry mouth.

Why is dry mouth a problem for dental patients? Because when saliva flow is diminished, it means your teeth aren’t naturally being lubricated or cleansed throughout the day. The result? A higher amount of tooth decay. And while dry mouth can’t be avoided in some circumstances (after all, you really do need your medication), there are some things you can do to limit the effects of dry mouth on your teeth, thereby limiting the amount of tooth decay that you experience.

Drinking water frequently throughout the day will help rinse and cleanse your teeth of acids and biofilm that deposit themselves along their surfaces. It will also lubricate your mouth so that you won’t be prone to as many sores or irritated tissue. After all, dry tissues can sometimes burn and make it painful to eat. Some types of mouthrinses are formulated for dry mouth. Although they have a slightly “slimy” texture, they keep the tissues well lubricated and make it easier to chew or speak. Chewing gum that contains xylitol can stimulate saliva production as well as fight plaque inside of your mouth!

Routine dental exams and checkups can help identify problems before they start. Your dentist may recommend a prescription strength or over the counter fluoride rinse to keep your enamel strong as well. The next time you visit your dentist, be sure to bring an updated list of any medications that you take, regardless of whether they are over the counter or prescriptions.

Posted on behalf of Group Health Dental

May
8

Battling Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)

Xerostomia is commonly referred to as “dry mouth.” Certain types of medications, allergies, or nutritional factors can all affect the amount of saliva flow someone has, causing some people to experience lower saliva levels than normal. Patients that have been treated with radiation therapy may also have inadequate saliva levels due to damage to the salivary glands. It is normal for there to be some decrease in saliva flow overnight, as saliva glands shut down when we sleep. However, normal healthy saliva flow should resume soon after waking, or around the time we eat our first meal.

The lack of salivary flow caused by xerostomia can create discomfort, make it difficult to eat, and even increase the amount of tooth decay that a person may have. Saliva is a natural lubricant, keeping the mucosal tissues free to move, and cleansing the teeth. When it is inhibited, regular chewing or swallowing can be difficult. Prosthetics such as full or partial dentures may cause sore spots to develop due to the prosthesis rubbing against try oral tissue. In order to prevent this tissue irritation, it’s important to find a way to lubricate the mouth or resume saliva production.

If medications are causing your dry mouth, you should consult your doctor before discontinuing them. Treating xerostomia typically involves over the counter products such as mouth lubricating drops, toothpastes, and rinses. Chewing gum that contains xylitol will protect teeth against decay as well as encourage salivary production. Care must be taken in order to prevent excessive cavities from developing throughout the mouth. Routine dental check-ups, cleanings, and x-rays will identify areas of concern as early as possible, allowing your dentist to take preventive steps to counteract the effects of dry mouth. Topical treatments such as fluoride varnish or gel are also useful.

Posted on behalf of Randy Muccioli

Google

Jan
28

Prescription Drugs and Dry Mouth

Posted in Gum Disease

If you are one of the millions of American adults taking prescription medications, you should be aware of the sometimes serious oral complications of dry mouth, a common side of effect of such drugs.

Dry mouth occurs when the salivary glands stop producing saliva and the mouth becomes extremely dry. Sores and cracks can appear. You might have a raw, red tongue. You could become very thirsty and dehydrated.

But beyond the general discomfort, a dry mouth can eventually lead to more serious problems, such as tooth decay or gingivitis and gum disease. That’s because saliva helps break down food for digestion and, more importantly, helps to neutralize sugars and starches that can lead to plaque build-up and decay.

Common drugs that cause dry mouth include those used to treat anxiety, depression, pain, allergies and colds. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of muscle relaxants, sedatives and chemotherapy.

If you are on medication that dries your mouth, the solution is very straightforward. You should definitely talk first to the doctor or dentist who prescribed the medication. Sometimes, the dosage can be reduced, eliminating negative side effects, or there may be a safe alternative to the drug that is just as effective, but doesn’t have unwanted side effects.

Other remedies to mitigate the long term effects of dry mouth could include chewing on sugarless gum or sugarless candy to increase the flow of saliva, or drinking more fluids to keep the mouth moist. There are even saliva substitutes available over the counter or though your doctor or dentist.

Posted of the behalf of Justin Scott

Google

Aug
19

Uncomfortable, Dry Mouth During the Night

Posted in Gum Disease

A common complaint among people suffering from dry mouth is the discomfort they experience when they are sleeping, or first thing in the morning. The lack of lubrication makes it difficult to relax or start daily routines when their cheeks, lips and tongue all seem to stick together. While it is completely normal for us to have a reduced saliva flow during our sleep, patients with xerostomia may feel as if they have no saliva flow at all during the night.

Keeping a bottle of water on your night stand is one thing that you can reach for first thing in the morning, but here are some tips to help you make your rest more comfortable:

Avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol. Most popular over the counter rinses do contain some amount of alcohol, and using them can cause your oral tissues to dry up even further. Instead, rinse with a special formulated mouthwash that lubricates your mouth and is for people with xerostomia. While this may make your mouth feel slightly “slimy,” it helps things move around more and prevents tissues from sticking together. There are also artificial sprays that you can use immediately before bed or when you get up.

Assess what medications you are taking. Some prescription or over the counter medications list dry mouth as a common side effect. Do not discontinue your medications, but consider taking them first thing in the morning instead of right before bed.

Add a few drops of essential oil to your toothbrush at night. Some essential oils help stimulate saliva flow, in addition to freshening your breath and reducing your risk of gingivitis and gum disease.

Posted on behalf of Dan Myers

Google

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