Tag Archives: tooth decay

What Causes Dry Mouth?

dry mouthDry mouth can be caused by numerous factors or sometimes just increased age.  The most common causes of dry mouth are certain medical conditions such as diabetes, mouth breathing, sleep apnea and even rheumatoid arthritis.

Autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s Syndrome and lupus can cause dry mouth. Treatments such as radiation therapy can cause a reduction in saliva in the oral cavity.  Certain medications can inhibit saliva production leading to dry mouth as well.

Complications From Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is more than an annoying condition for people who suffer with it.  Your saliva acts as a natural cleanser for your mouth.  Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria, inhibiting tooth decay.

When saliva production is decreased, the risk of developing cavities and gum disease increases.  In addition, reduced saliva can increase the risk of developing an oral candida infection (yeast infection).

Patients with dry mouth should see their dentist regularly to examine the teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay or gum disease, since the risk of both is increased for them.

Treatment of Dry Mouth

There are many ways to help reduce the symptoms of dry mouth.  Chewing sugarless gum can help stimulate saliva production.  Avoiding chemicals such as caffeine, tobacco and mouthwash containing alcohol can help alleviate symptoms.  Keeping well-hydrated can also help alleviate symptoms of dry mouth.  Sip water throughout the day and use a humidifier at night to keep your air passages moist.

Avoid mouth-breathing.  Over the counter products, such as Biotene, can also help.  Look for a product that is designed to help alleviate dry mouth symptoms.  These products are available in many preparations including mouth rinse, oral spray, gum and toothpaste.

For more information about the causes and treatment of dry mouth, contact Park Saratoga Dental.

Are Sodas Destroying Your Teeth?

We all know a healthy diet is important to maintaining overall health and well-being, but when it comes to your dental health, your diet plays an important role as well.

Avoiding sugary snacks and making sure to brush and floss every day is a good place to start, but what about the things you drink?  Many people are not aware that sodas and fruit juices are a leading cause of tooth decay in adults.

Sodas Are An Acid Bath To Your Teeth

Let’s take closer look at sodas to understand exactly how they can damage your teeth and lead to cavities.

Sodas, even diet sodas are extremely acidic.  Acids in foods and drinks cause damage to your tooth enamel- the hard protective exterior of the tooth structure.  When you drink an acidic soda, fruit juice, flavored water or even sports drinks, the acid bathes your tooth surfaces.  Normally, your saliva will wash away the acids and restore normal psoda factsH in the mouth, but when acidic drinks are consumed too frequently, or sipped on all day, there is no time between acid baths for your body to correct the pH.  Frequent exposure to acids wears on your tooth enamel, causing acid erosion.  Early symptoms may be excess sensitivity to cold or hot food.  As enamel erosion progresses, sensitivity increases as more of the dentin (interior of the tooth) is exposed.  As enamel softens and becomes more porous, pain can increase.

Porous and Softened Enamel Is Susceptible To Tooth Decay

When tooth enamel breaks down, it leaves the tooth susceptible to tooth decay.  As enamel breaks down, teeth lose mineral content.  Enamel erosion can change the surface of the tooth, leaving tiny weak areas for cavity-causing bacteria to take hold.  Simply avoiding sugar is not enough to prevent this damage from occurring.  Drinking water or milk are your best defenses against enamel erosion.

A study in the Journal of Public Health Dentistry concluded that nearly 79% of study participants showed signs of dental erosion.  The most common cause was frequent consumption of sodas and fruit juices.

Avoid Sodas For Dental Health

Avoiding sodas, fruit juices and flavored waters or sports drinks is good advice.  If you cannot kick the habit completely, then watch how you consume these beverages.  Drink a soda or sports drink at once, rather than sip on it slowly.  This will allow your body to correct the pH imbalance that occurs with acidic drinks.  Follow up your acidic beverage with water.  Some studies conclude that brushing immediately after an acidic drink is not a good idea, because enamel softened by the acid can be worn away by brushing.  Instead, rinse well with water and brush later.

Help For Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can be caused by acid erosion.  See your Saratoga dentist for an examination if you have painful, sensitive teeth.  Treatments including fluoride application and preparations that can restore mineral content are available from your dentist.