Posts for: March, 2018
Perhaps you haven’t thought of it quite this way, but saliva is one of the true wonders of the human body. This unassuming fluid performs a variety of tasks to aid digestion and help protect your mouth from disease. And you hardly notice it — except when it’s not there.
That’s the case for millions of people in America who have a chronic condition called xerostomia or “dry mouth.” This happens when the salivary glands don’t secrete enough saliva, normally two to four pints daily.
Of course, we can experience mouth dryness when we first wake up (saliva flow ebbs while we sleep), feel stressed, use tobacco, or consume alcohol and certain foods like onions or spices. It becomes a problem, though, when periods of low saliva become chronic. Without its preventive capabilities, you’ll be at much higher risk for dental diseases like tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.
Chronic dry mouth can occur for various reasons: systemic diseases like cancer or autoimmune deficiencies can cause it, as well as radiation or chemotherapy treatments. One of the most common causes, though, is medication, both over-the-counter and prescription. The surgeon general identifies over 500 known drugs that may inhibit saliva production, including some antihistamines, diuretics and antidepressants. It’s often why older people who take more medications than younger people suffer more as a population from dry mouth.
Because of its long-term health effects, it’s important to try to boost saliva flow. If your mouth is consistently dry, try to drink more fluids during the day. If you suspect your medication, see if your physician can prescribe a different drug. It also helps to drink a little water before and after taking oral medication.
We may also recommend medication or other substances that stimulate saliva or temporarily substitute for it. Xylitol, a natural alcohol sugar that also inhibits bacterial growth, can help relieve dryness. You’ll often find it in gums or mints.
Chronic dry mouth is more than a minor irritation — it can lead to more serious conditions. In addition to these tips, be sure to also keep up your regular dental visits and maintain a daily schedule of oral hygiene to prevent dental disease.
If you would like more information on overcoming 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: Learn about the Causes and Treatment of this Common Problem.”
Cosmetic bonding is a dental procedure for correcting cosmetic flaws and improving the appearance of your smile. Teeth that are chipped, cracked, discolored, or slightly misshapen can be repaired and corrected with cosmetic bonding. Afterward, your smile will be transformed. At Chestnut Dental Associates, Dr. Carl Horchos is your Downingtown, PA general dentist for cosmetic bonding.
Cosmetic bonding is one of the most affordable cosmetic dental procedures for transforming your smile. The procedure is also fairly quick and much less complicated than other types of cosmetic dental procedures. A composite resin material is used to repair minor problems, such as cracks or chips, in teeth. The bonding material can be color matched to your existing teeth so it readily blends in for a completely natural look. The bonding material is applied directly to the problem area of the tooth. As it dries, it permanently bonds with the tooth, becoming part of it.
Cosmetic bonding can be used to correct several different types of imperfections. It can even be used to cover and protect roots that have been exposed due to a receding gum line. The procedure is quick, uncomplicated, and painless. Your Downingtown general dentist can help you decide if cosmetic bonding is the right choice for achieving the smile you desire. Cosmetic bonding can be used to repair and improve the appearance of the following problems:
- Chips and cracks in teeth
- Stains and discolorations on teeth
- Irregularly shaped teeth
- Small gaps between teeth
The bonding material can be used to replace the missing portion of a chipped tooth. It can also seal cracks in teeth and prevent them from cracking further. Stains and discolorations can be concealed and irregularly shaped teeth can be reshaped. Cosmetic bonding can even be used to close small gaps between teeth. Cosmetic bonding can give you the smile you desire.
Cosmetic bonding is a practical and an affordable option for correcting cosmetic imperfections in your smile. To learn more about cosmetic bonding, and whether it is the right option for you, schedule an appointment with Dr. Horchos, your Downingtown, PA general dentist, by calling Chestnut Dental Associates at (484) 364-4292.
Is having good oral hygiene important to kissing? Who's better to answer that question than Vivica A. Fox? Among her other achievements, the versatile actress won the “Best Kiss” honor at the MTV Movie Awards, for a memorable scene with Will Smith in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day. When Dear Doctor magazine asked her, Ms. Fox said that proper oral hygiene was indeed essential. Actually, she said:
"Ooooh, yes, yes, yes, Honey, 'cause Baby, if you kiss somebody with a dragon mouth, my God, it's the worst experience ever as an actor to try to act like you enjoy it!"
And even if you're not on stage, it's no fun to kiss someone whose oral hygiene isn't what it should be. So what's the best way to step up your game? Here's how Vivica does it:
“I visit my dentist every three months and get my teeth cleaned, I floss, I brush, I just spent two hundred bucks on an electronic toothbrush — I'm into dental hygiene for sure.”
Well, we might add that you don't need to spend tons of money on a toothbrush — after all, it's not the brush that keeps your mouth healthy, but the hand that holds it. And not everyone needs to come in as often every three months. But her tips are generally right on.
For proper at-home oral care, nothing beats brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing once a day. Brushing removes the sticky, bacteria-laden plaque that clings to your teeth and causes tooth decay and gum disease — not to mention malodorous breath. Don't forget to brush your tongue as well — it can also harbor those bad-breath bacteria.
While brushing is effective, it can't reach the tiny spaces in between teeth and under gums where plaque bacteria can hide. But floss can: That's what makes it so important to getting your mouth really clean.
Finally, regular professional checkups and cleanings are an essential part of good oral hygiene. Why? Because even the most dutiful brushing and flossing can't remove the hardened coating called tartar that eventually forms on tooth surfaces. Only a trained health care provider with the right dental tools can! And when you come in for a routine office visit, you'll also get a thorough checkup that can detect tooth decay, gum disease, and other threats to your oral health.
Bad breath isn't just a turn-off for kissing — It can indicate a possible problem in your mouth. So listen to what award-winning kisser Vivica Fox says: Paying attention to your oral hygiene can really pay off! For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can read the entire interview with Vivica A. Fox in Dear Doctor's latest issue.