Thursday, December 12, 2019

Dry mouth, how to deal with it.

Sometimes, the solution is as simple as drinking water to avoid a dry mouth from thirst. Dry mouth may also appear due to other reasons, such as a medication or underlying condition.
Learn about 11 home remedies for dry mouth, as well as when to speak to a doctor.
Anyone experiencing dry mouth should ensure that they are drinking enough water.
Drinking water throughout the day can help prevent the minor dehydration that may lead to dry mouth.
Sipping water slowly and regularly throughout the day can help prevent an upset stomach that can occur as a result of drinking too much water at once.
Poor oral health can cause dry mouth, and dry mouth may also lead to poor oral health. Taking steps to improve overall oral hygiene is vital, no matter what the underlying cause of dry mouth is.
Good oral hygiene includes brushing and flossing each day, as well as rinsing the mouth with water or mouthwash after meals to help wash away food particles.
Some people choose to use a tongue scraper to help reduce bacteria on their tongue, which may also improve overall oral health.
Mouthwash can play a positive role in maintaining oral health, but it is important to consider the ingredients in a mouthwash. Mouthwashes that contain alcohol kill bacteria, but they may also dry out the mouth.
However, mouthwashes containing ingredients such as xylitol may help kill bacteria while also keeping the mouth moist.
Xylitol and Betaine, which are common ingredients in some mouthwashes, may effectively improve dry mouth when it is a side effect of medication.
Sucking on a sugar-free lozenge or candy may help prevent the mouth from drying out. Sucking on the candy keeps the mouth closed and helps keep the saliva circulating.
This could temporarily relieve dryness or prevent it from occurring. It is important to choose a sugar-free variety, as sugary sweets can damage the teeth.
Similar to sugarless candies, chewing sugar-free gum may help keep saliva flowing and stimulate saliva production, which could prevent the mouth from drying out.
Chewing gum is a temporary solution, but may provide quick relief.
Ginger sprays, tea, and other products with ginger may help stimulate the salivary glands and increase saliva production.
Some over-the-counter (OTC) products contain medicines or artificial forms of saliva designed to stimulate the saliva or prevent dry mouth.
These may provide temporary relief, and generally have fewer side effects than stronger prescription options.
OTC products for dry mouth include lozenges, sprays, mouth rinses, and more.
If a person spends a lot of time indoors, they may notice that the dry indoor air makes symptoms of dry mouth worse.
Many people find relief by using a humidifier in the rooms they use most. Adding humidity to the air with a humidifier may help keep the airways and mouth moist, helping prevent a dry mouth.
Many medications can cause dry mouth, including drugs to treat:
  • obesity
  • diarrhea
  • hypertension
  • epilepsy
  • urinary incontinence
  • asthma
  • Parkinson's disease
Anyone taking medications for any of these conditions who experiences dry mouth may want to talk to their doctor about alternatives or solutions for the side effects.

Avoiding drying habits

While some remedies may help temporarily relieve a dry mouth, making lifestyle changes to help reduce symptoms may also be necessary.
For instance, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research note that substances such as tobacco and alcohol use can dry out the mouth. Avoiding tobacco and alcohol use may help prevent dry mouth in some cases.
Caffeine may also dry out the mouth. Avoiding sources of caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks, may prevent dryness.

Breathing with the mouth closed

Breathing with an open mouth can quickly dry out the airways. Some people breathe with their mouth open when they have a respiratory illness, such as a cold, or due to underlying medical conditions.
Engaging in activities that cause heavy breathing, such as heavy exercise, may also cause a person to breathe with their mouth open.
Additionally, if a person wakes up every morning with a dry mouth, they may be sleeping with their mouth open and inhaling the dry air.
Making a conscious effort to keep the mouth closed and breathe through the nose may help improve saliva flow in some people. Other tips may help with this effort, such as sucking on a sugarless candy.


Dry mouth can be irritating and may even lead to other problems in the mouth if left unchecked. Many home remedies can help a person get relief.
Anyone struggling with treating dry mouth at home should talk to a doctor. They may recommend a change in medication or other tests to help diagnose and treat any underlying issue.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

How often should I get my teeth cleaned?

If you went to your dentist for a check-up and dental clean in the last year, give yourself a pat on the back. Not everyone loves the dentist, but research shows people who visit at least once a year for preventative care are healthier and happier with their mouths.

Why do I need to get my teeth cleaned?
While we all do what we can on our own, professional teeth cleaning removes plaque, the soft yellowish build-up, and calculus (hardened plaque) we can't get to. This soft build-up is made up of billions of different types of bacteria that live and reproduce in our mouth by feeding on the food we eat.
Most bacteria live in our bodies without causing too much trouble. But certain bacteria in dental plaque, when they grow in numbers, can lead to cavities (holes in the teeth) or gum disease.
A dental cleaning will reduce your chance of getting cavities or gum disease by significantly reducing the amount of plaque and calculus in your mouth.

So how often?
We are all different when it comes to how often we should get our teeth professionally clean. The frequency of our dental cleanings should be suggested by our dentist, who is the one that knows our mouth condition and our risk factors. Some people are at higher risk of getting dental cavities or gum disease this group should get their teeth cleaned more often.
We know certain health and lifestyle factors can affect a person's risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Here are some yes/no questions you can ask yourself to understand whether you're at a higher risk:
1.   Is your drinking water or toothpaste fluoride-free?
2.   Do you snack a lot, including on sweets?
3.   Do you avoid flossing?
4.   Do you have dry mouth?
5.   Do you brush your teeth less than twice a day?
6.   Do you visit your dentist for toothaches rather than check-ups?
7.   Do you need new fillings every time you visit the dentist?
8.   Do you have to wear an appliance in your mouth such as a removable partial denture or braces?
9.   Do you suffer from a chronic long-term health condition such as diabetes?
If you answered "yes" to more than 3 of these questions, you're likely to need to see your dentist or hygienist at least every six months, if not more often.
As well as removing the bug-loaded plaque and calculus, people prone to cavities benefit from the fluoride treatment after scaling.
Evidence shows professional fluoride treatment every six months can lead to a 30% reduced risk of developing cavities, needing fillings or having teeth removed.

Dental health is related to our overall health
Some people with chronic health issues such as heart conditions or diabetes will need to see the dentist more frequently. This is because they are more prone to inflammation and gum disease.
People taking blood thinners and other medications, such as pills and infusions for osteoporosis, may need to visit the dentist more regularly too. These medications can complicate the process of an extraction or other dental work, so regular checks and cleanings are best to help detect problems before they become serious.
People with bleeding gums should also see their dental practitioners more often. This is especially important if you have been diagnosed with advanced gum disease, known as periodontal disease.
Some people prefer to go more often to reduce the chance of a nasty toothache.
There are many benefits to regular checks and cleanings. Visiting the hygienist and dentist regularly helps reduce the chance of needing more complex and expensive dental treatment later on.
So, eat healthy, brush better (preferably with an electric toothbrush), floss more often and visit your dentist/hygienist at least twice a year.

Thursday, September 5, 2019


Berries, curries, tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, coffee, iced tea, red wine – these are just a few examples of foods that stain our teeth daily. Many of the foods we eat and drink stain our teeth day in and day out. Nowadays, most of us have access to information via social media, bloggers and YouTube regarding DIY teeth whitening techniques. These DIY teeth whitening trends have increased in popularity significantly, but are they really safe?
First, we’d like to emphasize that yes, the DIY teeth whitening trends work, but HOW they work is the main concern! All the DIY trends can be either very acidic and/or abrasive, both of which can remove and damage the enamel. The enamel is the most superficial and resistant layer of the tooth. As you abrade or remove the enamel with the DIY techniques, the inner surface (dentin) of the tooth becomes exposed. Removing enamel and exposing more dentin will ultimately result in a more yellow appearance of the teeth as well as increased sensitivity. Initially, your teeth will appear white but as you continue to use these techniques they will actually appear more yellow with time. Worst of all, once you lose enamel there’s no getting it back!

Let’s see what some of the most popular DIY teeth whitening trends do to your teeth.

It is disastrous to your teeth due to its abrasive nature. Initially, it will remove the most superficial stains. But with continuous use, activated charcoal will remove the enamel and expose the dentin causing your teeth to appear yellow instead of white and in time, will create more sensitivity. 

Apple cider vinegar is popularly used as a daily cleanse and is praised by people for aiding digestion, helping with weight loss and making hair shinier. Some even use it as a mouthwash, claiming it whitens teeth. While apple cider vinegar is really good for some things when it comes to teeth whitening it is not safe. Apple cider vinegar is very acidic, it will remove superficial stains but because of its acidity it will also remove your enamel. Its daily use or consumption can lead to extensive enamel erosion.

Baking soda is a relatively mild abrasive that has been rated by the ADA (American Dental Association) to be safe when combined with fluoride. When baking soda (abrasive) is mixed with lemon juice (acidic) it becomes too rough for your teeth, this combination can wear away tooth and gum tissue.
Lemon juice is highly acidic, which gives it excellent bleaching abilities. When used for teeth whitening purposes, it not only dissolves stains, but it also dissolves your enamel. So, when you use the two together you have a recipe for disaster!

While many teeth whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide, that doesn’t mean you should  swish around in your mouth, especially undiluted. Used regularly, it can cause chemical irritation and damage to your gums and hard tissues.

In conclusion, we can say that using any of these DIY teeth whitening techniques will weaken and damage your tooth enamel. They can also cause swelling of the gums and burns inside the oral cavity. Loss of enamel can cause your teeth to be much more susceptible to decay and sensitivity. And like we said before, once enamel is gone, it’s gone forever.

This is one DIY remedy that should stick to DDIY (Don’t Do It Yourself)! Trust us we’re dentists!

Monday, August 5, 2019

The unexpected dangers of gum disease

Gum disease is common and unpleasant, but, according to a growing body of evidence, it could also play a role in a surprising range of seemingly unrelated health problems.
Plaque — a sticky substance that contains bacteria — builds up on teeth. If it is not brushed away, the bacteria can irritate the gums.
The gums may then become swollen, sore, or infected; this is referred to as gingivitis.
In general, gum disease can be treated or prevented by maintaining a good oral health regime.
However, if it is left to develop, it can result in periodontitis, which weakens the supporting structures of the teeth.
Gum disease, which is also called periodontal disease, is widespread. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half of adults in the United States have some degree of gum disease.
The mechanisms behind periodontal disease are relatively well-understood, and newer research shows that this health problem may play a role in the development of a number of other conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.
Gums and the brain
Although spatially the gums are near the brain, one wouldn't normally associate dental complaints with neurological conditions.
However, some studies have found a link between periodontal disease and tooth loss and cognitive function. One study looking at cognitive performance followed 597 men for up to 32 years. The authors conclude:
"Risk of cognitive decline in older men increases as more teeth are lost. Periodontal disease and caries, major reasons for tooth loss, are also related to cognitive decline."
Researchers have also linked periodontal disease with an increased buildup of beta-amyloid in the brain — the neurological hallmark of Alzheimer's.
Other experiments have produced evidence that one type of bacteria commonly found in cases of periodontitis — Porphyromonas gingivalis — can be found in the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's.
Following on from that discovery, in a more recent study, researchers showed that P. gingivalisinfection boosts the production of beta-amyloid in the brain.
In this study, the researchers paid particular attention to an enzyme produced by P. gingivaliscalled gingipain. They found that this protease was toxic to tau, another protein that plays a pivotal role in Alzheimer's.

The heart of the matter
Although not everyone with heart disease has gum disease, and not everyone with gum disease has heart disease, there does appear to be a correlation.
Of course, individuals who smoke or drink large quantities of alcohol are more likely to have both oral and cardiovascular issues, but there appears to be more to the relationship than shared risk factors alone.
Whether gum disease is an independent risk factor for heart disease is still being discussed, but there are some theories as to how the two might be related.
Some think that the link could involve inflammation.
Primarily, inflammation is a response to irritants or pathogens; it is a protective mechanism. However, if it continues for an extended period, it can damage tissues and organs.
It is possible that inflammation in the gums sets off a cascade that, ultimately, sparks inflammation in the cardiovascular system.
Alternatively, the link between heart and gum diseases may be due to bacteria.
Bacteria in the gums can enter the blood supply and be propelled to distant destinations, including the heart, where they can cause inflammation and damage.
As evidence that this is possible, researchers have shown that P. gingivalis is the most commonly found bacterial species in the coronary artery.
Cancer risk increase
Once again, gum disease and cancer do not, on the surface, appear to have much in common.
A study published in 2008 investigated tooth loss and cancer in 48,375 men. The authors concluded that there was, indeed, a link between gum disease and cancer. They write:
"Periodontal disease was associated with a small, but significant, increase in overall cancer risk."
Another, more recent, study involving more than 68,000 adults found a strong association between gum disease and overall cancer risk; the link was also significant between gum disease and pancreatic cancer.
Why might this be the case? A paper published in Nature goes some way toward an explanation.
The researchers found that an enzyme produced by a type of bacteria commonly associated with gum disease — Treponema denticola — commonly appears in certain tumors of the gastrointestinal system.
The enzyme, known as T. denticola chymotrypsin-like proteinase, helps the bacteria invade tissue in gum disease. The researchers found that it also activated other enzymes that promote cancer cells as they advance into healthy tissue.
Gums and lungs
Of course, the mouth is a shared gateway to the gums and the lungs, making a link between gum and lung diseases less surprising than some of the others that we have encountered.
A study published in February 2019 investigated the records of 1,380 men. The authors found a significant relationship between chronic periodontitis and a reduction in respiratory function.
This link remained significant, even after controlling for confounding variables, such as smoking.
Once again, inflammation may be the link between the two conditions. If the tubes in the lungs that carry air are inflamed, they become narrower and air flow is restricted.
Aside from the probable role of inflammation, bacteria present in the mouth might also be breathed into the lungs. Once in the lungs, the bacteria could trigger infections that directly lead to inflammation.
A recent meta-analysis investigated potential links between gum disease and lung cancer. The authors concluded that "patients with periodontal disease are at increased risk of developing lung cancer."
In their paper, they outline some potential ways in which gum disease might increase lung cancer risk. For instance, breathing in bacteria, such as P. gingivalis, from the mouth could cause infections.
Similarly, enzymes produced during the course of gum disease might pass into the lungs. Once there, they could help pathogens take root and colonize the lung tissue.
These changes spark inflammation; over the long term, inflammation causes changes in cells that raise the likelihood of cancer developing.
The take-home message
One could read this article as a worrying collection of conditions made all the more likely to occur, courtesy of gum disease.
If we adopt the opposite approach, though, the take-home message could be much more positive: Good dental hygiene may reduce our risk of developing a range of serious health problems.
As the authors of the lung cancer analysis, mentioned above, write, "periodontal disease is a preventable and treatable disease." Managing it at an early stage might reduce the risks of a multitude of ills.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

10 Ways to Relieve Stress

Life is like a roller coaster, says Dr. Paul J. Rosch, president of the American Institute of Stress in New York.
And the people on board each have their own way of dealing with the bone-rattling ride. “In the front of the car are the wide-eyed thrill-seekers who can’t wait for the next breathtaking plummet,” Rosch notes. “In back are the white-knuckled timorous types who won’t open their eyes until the ride is over. And in between are those who seesaw between courage and fear.”
“We all respond to stress differently,” Rosch says. “One person’s stress is another person’s challenge. It’s all in how you perceive it.” Those who handle stress well are said to have a strong sense of control and commitment, and who enjoy challenges that would overwhelm others. They thrive on stress.”
But for those of us less “hearty” types who feel the need to reduce stress, there are some simple remedies. Most experts agree that walking is a universal stress reliever. Whether you take an impromptu stroll to blow off steam or a regular walk of 30 to 45 minutes four times a week, walking is a mood-lifter. It can be the foundation for a variety of ways to reduce stress. Here are 10 ways to get you started.
  1. LOCK IN YOUR WALK. Make a walk part of your daily schedule – just as taking a shower or eating dinner. Locking it into your routine will help ease your exercise painlessly into your day. It may also eliminate the guilt and worry associated with trying to find time to exercise on an intermittent basis.
  2. BE KIND TO YOUR STOMACH. Acid stomach and ulcers are painful conditions sometimes associated with stress. In the past, spicy foods topped the list of things to avoid, but more recent evidence shows that caffeine, alcohol, smoking, and painkillers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are more likely to aggravate the condition.
  3. TIME YOUR MEALS. Keeping your energy level high throughout the day requires a ready supply of blood sugar. Skipping breakfast or lunch will cause your blood sugar to drop. It’s better to eat four small, low-fat meals during the day. Eating small, well-balanced meals periodically during the day and avoiding large doses of caffeine and processed sweets can help you maintain even blood sugar levels and control your weight.
  4. MASSAGE YOUR HANDS. A 5-minute hand routine can prevent or release tension. Try a few of these:
1.      Place a tennis ball in your palm. Grip and release 12 times.
2.      Put a rubber band around the tips of your fingers and thumb. Open and close 20 times.
3.      Make loose fists with both your hands, then move your fists in a circle to increase your range of motion.
4.      Pat or gently slap your hands all over to increase circulation.
5.      Open one hand and grasp it with the other. Press the thumb firmly on the base of the hand for several seconds. Continue pressing, slowly moving toward the space between the first two fingers. Repeat for each pair of fingers.
6.      Turn your hand over and massage the top of the hand, starting at the base and working toward your fingertips.
7.      Grip the fleshy portion between your thumb and index finger. Press and release it at least five times.
8.      Grip the knuckle of the thumb between the thumb and index finger of the other hand. Move the thumb in a circle.
  1. NIX NECK PAIN. One of the first places you feel tension gathering is in the neck. Poor posture is the most common cause of neck pain. Try to keep your back straight but relaxed and your head centered directly over your spine while sitting, standing, or walking. Gently stretching the neck muscles can also relieve tension. Tilt your head to the left, keeping shoulders down. Place your left hand on the right top side of your head. Gently pull your head toward your left shoulder for 20 seconds. Reverse position and stretch to the right.
  2. ENERGIZE WITH EXERCISE. Don’t rely on supplements like monthly injections of vitamin B12 to restore your energy. B12 is no more capable of providing a burst of energy than it is able to relieve muscle soreness, headaches, or anxiety. A proven energy booster is regular exercise. Pick any rhythmic, aerobic activity such as walking, rowing, biking, or swimming. Do it at least four times a week and feel your energy pick up.
  3. GET MORE SLEEP. About one out of five adults routinely suffers from insomnia. It can be triggered by stress and anxiety, but it may persist even after the source of stress is removed. Lack of sleep itself can cause stress. Improve your sleeping habits by sticking to a regular schedule. Go to bed and get up the same time every day, even on weekends. Do not try to make up for lost sleep by napping or sleeping late- this will disrupt your schedule, and don’t drink beverages containing caffeine within four hours before bedtime.
  4. CREATE FREE TIME. Analyze your daily schedule and look for ways to simplify it. Could you do errands on your lunch hour rather than after work? Can you combine a trip to the grocery store with picking up your child at soccer practice? The goal is to have some time for yourself left over at the end of the day. Count on some unscheduled time each day for tending to your own need to relax.
  5. REACH OUT TO OTHERS. Regular physical contact with others can lower anxiety levels. Expressing physical affection toward friends and family members is a healthy, stress-relieving habit. Or, try giving and receiving a massage from your mate. Even the physical contact of handling a pet improves some people’s moods.
HELP SOMEONE ELSE. Doing volunteer work that benefits others can reduce your own tension and anxiety. Such volunteering is particularly effective when you can see the results. Sign on for an activity that gives you direct contact with other people, such as elderly or children. Volunteer to teach adults to read. Serve meals to shut-ins. For best results, volunteer for a project that offers you freedom of choice rather than work where you have no control over your own activities or those of the people you’re helping.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Stroke study finds mouth bacteria in brain clots

Ensuring good oral hygiene could help to prevent stroke. This was what scientists proposed after finding DNA traces of oral bacteria in samples of blood clots that had caused strokes.

Researchers from Tampere University in Finland analyzed clot samples from 75 people who received emergency treatment for ischemic stroke when they attended Tampere University Hospital's Acute Stroke Unit.
The patients had undergone thrombectomies. These procedures remove blood clots by means of catheters conducted through arteries. The catheters can deploy stent retrievers and aspirators to reduce or remove the clot.
When they analyzed blood clots sampled in this way, the researchers found that 79% of them bore DNA from common oral bacteria. Most of the bacteria were of the Streptococcus mitis type, which belong to a group that scientists call viridans streptococci.
The levels of the oral bacteria were much higher in the blood clot samples than they were in other samples that surgeons took from the same patients.
Larger picture implicates bacteria in clots
The study forms part of a large investigation that Tampere University has been conducting for around 10 years on the role of bacteria in cardiovascular diseases.
This investigation has already found that blood clots that have caused heart attacks, brain aneurysms, and thromboses in leg veins and arteries, contain oral bacteria, particularly viridans streptococci. It has also shown that these bacteria can cause infective endocarditis, a type of heart infection.
The researchers believe that the new study is the first to implicate viridans streptococci in acute ischemic stroke.
A stroke is when the brain suddenly experiences a disruption to its blood supply. This starves cells of essential oxygen and nutrients and can result in tissue damage and loss of function in the brain.
The most common type of stroke is an ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood clot reduces the blood supply in an artery that feeds the brain.
According to figures from the World Stroke Organization, around 1 in 6 people worldwide will likely experience a stroke in their lifetime.
One of the leading causes of stroke is a condition called atherosclerosis in which plaques form in the walls of arteries and cause them to narrow and harden over time. The plaques are deposits of cellular waste, fat, cholesterol, and other materials.
Depending on where the plaques form, atherosclerosis can raise the risk of heart disease, angina, carotid artery disease, and peripheral artery disease.
However, plaques can also lose bits into the bloodstream, or attract clots. If such an event affects an artery supplying blood to the brain, it can trigger an ischemic stroke.

Oral bacteria: Cause of stroke or 'bystander?'
In discussing the implication of the results, the authors note that streptococci bacteria from the mouth can cause serious infection, such as of the heart valves, when they enter the circulation.
There is also evidence that bacteria can activate blood platelets directly. Could this be a possible route to increasing stroke risk?
"Activated platelets" trigger cells that promote atherosclerosis and "speed up the development of atherothrombotic lesions," they write.
"Bacterial surface proteins of S. mitis," they add, "can directly bind to various platelet receptors."
In regard to the recent findings, the researchers note that while they show that oral bacteria are involved, it is still unclear whether they cause strokes or whether "their role is solely as bystander."
In the meantime, they suggest that: "Regular dental care should be emphasized in the primary prevention of acute ischemic stroke."