Monday, 25 March 2013

Silver Spring Dentists: Understanding What Causes Bad Breath, PART 1

This two-part article series discusses the predominant causes of halitosis, helping people understand what they need to do (or NOT do) to prevent bad breath!

No matter how blessed you are in the “looks” department, there is no greater damper on attraction than bad breath. You could have a smile worthy of a celebrity and a body that would give the Baywatch crew a run for their money (before they all went off the rails), but if you breath halitosis all over the object of your affection, chances are they’ll run a mile... with your less attractive best friend in tow! Thankfully, the dentist in Silver Spring MD has provided us with the inside scoop so that, armed with this information; you can do what it takes to prevent beastly breath!

1. Bad Breath is Caused by Bacteria

Silver Spring dentists

According to Silver Spring dentists, most of the time, the cause behind stinky breath is bacteria. That’s right... a ponging mouth is evidence that it is home to unhealthy levels of oral bacteria. But it’s not actually the bacteria you smell when that awful boss of yours comes and breathes all over your cubicle: it’s the wastes they produce! Just like any other animal on the planet, bacteria produce wastes and these are high in sulfurous compounds.

As charming as that thought ISN’T, it does mean that preventing bad breath is pretty easy. A rigorous home oral hygiene should be sufficient to keep your breath fresh and smelling perfectly acceptable! What does this involve?

  • Brush at least two to three times a day, for two minutes at a time.
  • Floss your teeth before you go to bed at night.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Gargle with an ADA-approved anti-bacterial mouthwash.
  • Go for regularly scheduled appointments with the oral hygienist.

Minimizing bacterial activity in your mouth also means avoiding foods that are high in sugar and starch, as well as certain bad habits, such as smoking and excessive drinking.

2. You Are What You Eat

Dentist in Silver Spring MD

And if what you eat is stinky, then your breath will likely smell bad. Blue cheese may smell delectable perched on a cracker, but coming from your mouth...? Not so much. There are a variety of foods that are known to sour breath. In most cases, a decent brush and floss can eliminate the smell of, for example, stinky cheese, anchovies, coffee and banana (surprisingly enough).

But, the pungent juices of other foods, such as onions and garlic actually get absorbed by the bloodstream and are expelled via your lungs. So, no matter how vigorously you brush, you won’t fully be able to get rid of the smell of last night’s Thai stir-fry! If you have a hot date and don’t want to risk putting him or her off, your very best bet is to lay off the garlic the night before.

Alcohol is also absorbed by the bloodstream, which is why your breath smells like petrol the morning after a heavy night on the town. Unfortunately, no amount of brushing will eliminate that smell either, only time and plenty of water, which should help for that particularly nasty headache too.

Stay Tuned for Part 2

To read more about the causes of bad breath and Silver Spring dentists’ recommendations, stay tuned for the second installment of our two-part article series.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Silver Spring Dental Professionals Discuss: The Causes, Symptoms and Consequences of Dry Mouth, PART 2

This two-part article series examines a fairly common condition, dry mouth or “xerostomia” that can cause a higher risk of oral infection and tooth decay.

Welcome back to our two-part article series on the causes, symptoms and consequences of “dry mouth” or “xerostomia”. In our previous article post, we spoke to a Silver Spring dental professional who discussed the symptoms of dry mouth, as well as the long-term repercussions of ignoring such a chronic condition. In this article, we’ll address two pressing questions: (1) What causes dry mouth and (2) What can be done about it?

The Causes of Xerostomia

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  1. Lifestyle Factors: Smoking or chewing tobacco is notorious for causing dry mouth, as is alcohol.

  2. Sinus Problems: Continuously breathing through your mouth causes saliva to evaporate, which can lead to dry mouth.

  3. Dehydration: If your body is short of water, so will be your salivary glands. Conditions and ailments that cause dehydration can therefore also lead to dry mouth. These conditions include blood loss, diarrhea, fever, vomiting and excessive sweating.

  4. Certain Medications: Many medications and over-the-counter drugs can cause xerostomia as a common side effect. These medications for allergies, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, pain, acne, hypertension, obesity, nausea, asthma, diarrhea, urinary incontinence and even Parkinson’s disease. Decongestants, antihistamines, sedatives and muscle relaxants can also cause dry mouth.

  5. Certain Infections and Diseases: Xerostomia can also be a symptom of certain ailments, such as mumps, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, stroke, cystic fibrosis, Sj√∂gren's syndrome and hypertension.

  6. Certain Medical Treatments: Any procedure or treatment that risks damage to the salivary glands, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy for cancer treatment, can compromise the healthy production of saliva, resulting in dry mouth.

  7. Nerve Damage: Accidental trauma or surgery in the neck and head area can cause nerve damage that can result in dry mouth.

  8. The Surgical Removal of the Salivary Glands: This might be necessary for the removal of cancerous tissue from the oral cavity.

Treating Dry Mouth

Dentists in Silver Spring

There are two approaches to treating dry mouth. The first is to address the immediate symptoms by keeping your mouth irrigated. Keep a bottle of water handy and take regular sips to keep your mouth moist. You can also chew sugar-free gum, which will help stimulate the production of saliva in your mouth. The second approach is to address the root cause of dry mouth. If you suspect it may be the result of a medication you’re on, speak to your doctor before you simply stop taking it. It may be possible to eliminate the problem by adjusting the dosage or swapping it for a different drug. In the case of smoking and heavy drinking, cut down or stop all together.

Then, there are the preventative measures you should be taking. If you suffer from dry mouth as a result of smoking, medication, illness or any other condition, you should be going the extra mile to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Without the natural production of saliva, your mouth is extremely vulnerable to oral bacteria, which puts you at a greater risk of gingivitis, gum disease, thrush, tooth decay and cavities. Silver Spring dental professionals generally advise that you maintain a rigorous home oral hygiene routine and make regular use of an anti-bacterial mouthwash. You may even be prescribed a saliva stimulant medication, Salagen, which combats dry mouth.

A Final Note on Dry Mouth

“This uncomfortable condition can have some serious health impacts on your teeth and gums,” warn dentists in Silver Spring. If there is no solution to the root cause of dry mouth, then be sure to speak to your dental healthcare professional about how you can minimize the impacts upon your oral health.”

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Dentist in Silver Spring Discusses: The Causes, Symptoms and Consequences of Dry Mouth, PART 1

This two-part article series examines a fairly common condition, dry mouth or “xerostomia” that can cause a higher risk of oral infection and tooth decay.

We’ve all at one time experienced “dry mouth”, perhaps associated with a specific medication we took or after a heavy night out! But what few people understand about this uncomfortable condition is that it can actually have a deleterious effect upon the health of your teeth and gums.

In this two-part article series, we shall be speaking to a dentist in Silver Spring about what causes dry mouth or “xerostomia”, how it can be dangerous to our oral health and what can be done to treat the condition.

The Importance of Saliva

Dentist in Silver Spring

You don’t pay any attention to saliva when it’s there, but when it’s not you’re guaranteed to notice! “Saliva plays an essential role in digestion and in protecting your teeth and gums against bacteria,” explain Silver Spring dentists. “It is your body’s inherent defense against the plethora of micro-organisms and pathogens that naturally swarm your mouth.”

Saliva:

  • Contains enzymes that break down food,
  • Has an anti-bacterial action, helping to control the bacteria in the mouth,
  • Washes away food debris, cleansing our mouths after a meal,
  • Keeps our mouth nice and moist and comfortable.

When your body doesn’t produce enough saliva, you get a condition called “xerostomia” or “dry mouth”, which may present with one or more of the following symptoms.

The Symptoms of Dry Mouth:

The most obvious symptom of this condition is the absence of saliva in the mouth, which is an uncomfortable sensation that causes:

  • A dry and/or sore throat
  • A sticky, dry sensation in the mouth
  • Your tongue to stick to the roof of your mouth
  • A tingling or burning feeling in the mouth and tongue
  • Dry nasal passages
  • Terrible thirst
  • Halitosis, or bad breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty chewing, tasting and swallowing your food
  • Difficulty speaking

Chronic dry mouth sufferers may even experience the development of sores in the mouth, cracked lips and split skin at the corners of the mouth in addition to a red, inflamed and parched tongue.

Silver Spring Dentists

“It’s quite incredible just how far saliva goes to keep us comfortable and our mouths healthy,” remarks the dentist in Silver Spring. “It’s only when we suffer from a condition such as xerostomia do we become fully aware of the role it plays.”

But why exactly is “dry mouth” considered to be such a problem? What are the ramifications for our oral health in the long term?

The Long Term Repercussions of Dry Mouth

The biggest problem associated with xerostomia is infection. Saliva protects the teeth and gums against bacteria, while helping to wash away the food debris and sugary residues that these microorganisms feed upon. “Without saliva, your mouth is so much more vulnerable to bacteria and all the health concerns they cause,” explain Silver Spring dentists. These include:

  • Gingivitis, or infection of the gums
  • Thrush fungal infection
  • Increased plaque formation
  • Cavities and tooth decay
  • Chronic bad breath

In fact, in the long term, xerostomia can even lead to periodontal (gum) disease and tooth loss if measures aren’t taken to protect one’s oral health.

This leaves us with two remaining pertinent questions... (1) What causes dry mouth? (2) What can be done to prevent it and/or mitigate the damage?

Stay Tuned for Part 2

Stay tuned for our next article installment in which a qualified and experienced dentist in Silver Spring will provide the answers to these pressing questions!