Enamel erosion and the irritating problem of dry mouth syndrome and oral sedation for our high fear patients.

Enamel Erosion and Dry Mouth:

The following question was asked by a reader Sandy. I would like to thank her for the question as this is what helps me out immensely since I want to be engaged with the readership.

Question: What do we do to build up eroded enamel and is there a tooth paste that can help eroded enamel? What ingredients must that tooth paste have? What do we do that erodes enamel?

At the same time my wife saw an article online from WebMD and passed this along to me. The following is an excerpt from Web MD.

Because a dry mouth is not only a dental issue it is a medical issue and I appreciate this article from a medical site supporting the dentist’s involvement in overall systemic health. There is so much more evidence and research showing the association of oral diseases being related to systemic diseases. This only makes sense since our body is one unit. The following article also addresses the question posted by Sandy.

What Saliva Does: Dry mouth (xerostomia) is more than just feeling thirsty. You get it when your mouth makes very little saliva. Sometimes the saliva can be thick and stringy caused by a change in the glands themselves. Saliva helps you taste food and helps you digest food. It flushes food particles away from your teeth and prevents tooth decay. When you don’t have enough saliva the skin in and around your mouth gets dry and tight. You may get cracks and sores in the corners of your mouth, dry tongue and you may have trouble speaking or swallowing. When saliva is reduced it can lead to bad breath caused by food particles sticking between your teeth. Enamel erosion takes place when the acid levels of the mouth increase thereby dissolving the minerals out of the enamel. Over time this softened tooth structure turns into a cavity where it can only be repaired by your dentist with a filling.

Causes: There are over 400 medications that can lead to xerostomia, including non-prescription drugs. Allergy, cold, high blood pressure and many other medications can cause this irritating side effect. Radiation treatment for cancer can affect the saliva glands and significantly reduce saliva flow. Autoimmune diseases, such as Sjogren’s syndrome, where the body’s immune system attacks the saliva glands and tear glands leave the patient extremely dry and prone to dental decay. Diabetes is a common disease that can leave the patient dry.

Habits that contribute to a dry mouth: smoking can dry out the mouth because of the nicotine and heat from the cigarette shrinks the minor saliva ducts in the roof of the mouth. Alcohol and caffeine can also reduce and change the saliva quantity and quality.

Age: As we get older not only is there the reduced function of our saliva glands but with the need of so many medications to keep us healthy a dry mouth is possibly inevitable.

Treatment Recommendations

  • Hydration is a critical factor in preventing problems with xerostomia. It is important to at least 8 glasses of water daily and to drink it frequently. This keeps the mouth moist and prevents dehydration. The moist mouth dislodges the food particles from packing between the teeth and reduces the acidity in the mouth. Cavities form frequently when food gets caught between the teeth and at the gum line.
  • To rebuild minor enamel erosion frequent brushing and flossing are critical using prescription level fluoridated toothpaste. This should be done a minimum of twice per day.
  • Use of xylitol sweetener and products like MI paste which help to re-mineralize the tooth structure can be helpful.
  • To answer Sandy: Toothpastes that contain not only fluoride but those specifically designed to re-mineralize by building up the enamel. I usually recommend Sensodyne toothpastes.

Living a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise and eating ample fresh fruits and vegetables are important to long term health.

Sedation Dentistry

Question: I have gone to your web site and noted that you perform sedation dentistry. What is this exactly? How does this vary from IV Sedation and will it work on me? I have such a high fear of the dentist and don’t know if this program will sedate me enough to take care of my anxiety. Could you please answer me?

Thank You, Sharon P.

Answer: Sedation dentistry is safe and painless. Anxiety is controlled using what is called oral conscious sedation or a simple, safe sleeping pill before and during your treatment. You will become drowsy to the point of falling asleep during treatment and have virtually no memory of the visit. Can you imagine yourself sleeping through your dental visit? Sedation dentistry is ideal for patients who are fearful of going to the dentist, would like to get extensive treatment done in one long visit rather than making several trips to the dentist, and for those with a strong gag reflex.

Intravenous sedation usually involves a deeper level of sedation. Because a sleeping pill is used for the oral sedation it is a safer technique if used with a proper protocol. Both techniques monitor the blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation in the blood to make certain the utmost safety is accomplished.

We are able to treat 95% of patients with this technique. We have only had a few patients who are minimally responsive to the medication. These patients usually need to be sedated using the IV approach which would require a referral to a specialist. Most cases we find that the patient remembers very little after the oral sedation procedure so this is very effective in treating those who hate coming to the dentist.

Ask The Gentle Dentist: Enamel Erosion and Dry Mouth

If you have any questions about sedation dentistry or enamel erosion and dry mouth, please contact us by email or by mail at 15055 22 Mile Shelby Township, MI 48315.

Click here to reveal our email address.

With us being in the middle of winter, the spring is just around the corner. I wanted to go over some tips on what to do during the cold months to make life more comfortable. In the winter our furnaces are kicked on high and with that is usually a dry heat. The problem is that furnace humidifiers don’t release enough water into the air to significantly humidify it. I recommend a stand-alone humidifier that is put in the bedroom. There are a couple of reasons why I recommend it.

  1. Humidified air transfers heat much more efficiently and it not only feels better preventing dryness on the skin, but saves energy. Consider the heat in the summer in Michigan compared to Arizona. Michigan is humid and Arizona is dry. 100 degrees feels different in each of these climates because of the humidity difference.
  2. When sleeping, saliva flow decreases which can reduce the moisture in the mouth. Considering that many medications reduce the production of saliva coupled with the fact that the air is very dry leads to a parched mouth. The simple solution is to moisturize the air, making it more comfortable to sleep, especially if one is a mouth breather.

In the winter it is obviously much colder and if one breathes through their mouth outside it is more possible to feel a “zing” in the teeth. These can be signs of a more significant problem. It can be a sign of tooth decay and even nerve involvement. It can also be a sign of just sensitive teeth. Information regarding the intensity and length of pain are helpful in diagnosing the status of the nerve. When visiting the dentist for a toothache, it is common to apply heat or cold to the area. A normal tooth will feel the cold and even if they are sensitive there may be a blast of pain but it disappears immediately. If the nerve is in the process of dying the pain will linger on more than a couple of seconds. The pain will also differ in that it will change from a sharp pain to a dull throbbing pain. If the pain was a dull throbbing pain in the past this is not a good sign. It is a sign that the nerve is in the process of dying and an infection is present. Infections like this can be very serious and even life threatening so getting it treated by either extraction or saving the tooth with a root canal is important and urgent.

I know that I request questions and I actually receive few of them. If you have questions about dentistry Please submit them to “Ask the Gentle Dentist” 15055 22 Mile, Shelby Township, MI 48315.

Youtube:  Oral Cancer and Its Effects on Your Mouth

Oral Cancer and Its Effects on Your Mouth

Hi, this is Dr. Antolak at thegentledentist.com in Shelby Township, Michigan. What I’d like to discuss today is oral cancer and cancer in general, and its effect it has on the mouth.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, it’s obviously a horrible time usually for families dealing with this potential life ending illness. When that takes place, a lot of things have to be done and the oncologist that you go to, hopefully will be really privy and aware that during any radiation therapy that’s done or even chemotherapy, these are intended to kill off cells in the body, fast growing cells.  Cancer cells are obviously fast growing cells.

Fast growing cells are also hair cells or hair follicles, and saliva glands that are in your mouth. When chemotherapy and radiation therapy takes place, that’s why people go without hair but also their mouth dries out.

So what are the implications of having this take place for the patient? I believe what’s very important is that when someone is diagnosed with cancer that they really get a thorough dental examination. Hopefully your oncologist will recommend a dentist to you and what’s important is getting this done in a very quick fashion. The reason why that is, is because they want a get on to that therapy pretty soon.

Well, if the mouth is not taken care of, if there are bad teeth in the mouth that seem to be problematic, because the fact that when salivary glands are knocked out it causes so many problems. You have a significant potential for getting cavities. Is if a tooth is as bad as it is, that cavity will just get worse. The problem is you can’t just take a tooth out when someone is on chemotherapy. If you do, because the immune system is really suppressed, there is a risk of having many, many potential complications from that.

The best way of dealing with this is taking care of all these urgent needs right away while the body has the ability to heal itself before it gets struck with all this chemotherapy and these very, very difficult days that would lay ahead.

Dry mouth because of the lack of saliva is another issue that takes place. But also there are many other things that can take place. For example, I put this brochure together. Increased chance of cavity, loss of taste, pain in your mouth. Of course, infections are much more prevalent.

So if you have gum disease, there might be an election to have teeth removed just so that, that area’s sealed off, and there’s no infection to the jawbone. You get jaw stiffness from this, and you get changes in your bone.

Sometimes when medications are given, for example, bisphosphonates, which are medications used for certain types of cancer, bone cancer. Once that takes place, the metabolism in the bone is altered, and therefore, once again, it’s difficult to manage patients who need to have any other additional

Oral Cancer and Its Effects on Your Mouth

So if there’s questions about that you can feel free to call me but I really recommend talking to your oncologist or your nurses who treat you or your loved one who will be going in for this care to make sure that there’s no potential of having a problem. If you’re not really current with your dental care please get in to see us or get in to see your own dentist if you have one because that itself could be a really challenging time for you.

If you have questions about oral cancer and its effects on your mouth, my phone number is (586) 247-3500. The website is thegentledentist.com. Our dental office is in Shelby Township, Michigan. Thank you, and God bless.

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I often have patients who present with a very dry mouth and this can lead to many different problems including dental decay, periodontal disease, mouth breathing, mouth sores in the soft tissues from yeast infections and even snoring. When I ask them if they have a whole house humidifier to increase the moisture in the air they say “YES”. This is often not enough moisture in the air to humidify and help with the dry mouth. I will most likely recommend a small humidifier to be placed in the bedroom and turn it on when and where they sleep. The increased humidity not only increases the efficiency of your furnace but it also can help with the dry mouth. If you suffer from the struggles of having a dry mouth this simple solution could be “What the Doctor Ordered”.

Macomb County Dentist Provides Tip on Treating Dry Mouth

Shelby Township Dentist Answers Patient’s Questions

Question: My mouth seems to be drier these days and every time I visit my dentist I seem to have cavities. Why is this?

Answer: Many medications dry up the mouth by reducing saliva flow. These include water pills, heart medication, and other oral medicines. The saliva contains substances that neutralize the acids in the mouth. These acids are formed when the bacteria in the mouth come in contact with sugars and carbohydrates. In a healthy individual where saliva flow is adequate this doesn’t usually present a problem, but for the senior who has a dry mouth cavities develop very rapidly and frequently. A prescription grade fluoride should be used daily to prevent these problems.

Question: My husband snores and I am concerned that he will stop breathing. I have heard of dental procedures that help reduce snoring. Please explain.

Answer: Snoring is caused by partial closure of the airway by the tongue, pharynx or palate. Over 60 million Americans suffer from snoring. Because a deep level of sleep is never achieved there is a chronic feeling of being tired and lacking energy. If the situation is more severe sleep apnea will occur which is the stoppage of breathing. This can be dangerous not only during the breathing stoppage, but when driving or times when attention is needed.
We fabricate specialized mouth guards that are to be used during the night. They position the lower jaw and tongue forward thereby allowing for an open airway to be obtained. When an open airway is obtained breathing becomes much easier and a deeper level of sleep can be obtained.

Question: My teeth are getting darker over the last few years. Do I need to be concerned about that?

Answer: Natural teeth pick up stains over the years. The outer layer of the teeth is made of enamel. Enamel can develop microscopic cracks where stains seep into. Dental bleaching agents oxidize these cracks and the teeth can become whiter. This is assuming that the dark areas are not decay, which can look dark also. See your dentist to make sure they are not new areas of decay.

Question: My lower denture seems to be flopping around in my mouth. What are these implants I have been reading about and do they last?

Answer: Dentures are made of plastic. The bone and soft tissues of the mouth change over time where the plastic doesn’t adapt. Even a good set of dentures will flop around the mouth because they depend only on the tongue and lips to stay in place. Implants are “man made tooth roots” and are used to anchor the denture down. Snap-like attachments are placed in the denture which attach to the implants. This gives the denture a remarkable hold without all the hassle and taste of denture adhesive. Because implants are made of a special titanium they actually become part of the jaw bone. When properly taken care of these implants should last a lifetime.

Question: What type of toothpaste do you recommend?

Answer: I get asked this question a lot. There are many good toothpastes on the market today from whitening, anti-tarter, anti-plaque, etc. It can get quite confusing just trying to buy a tube of paste. I recommend one that has a high fluoride level. Be aware of the anti-tarter pastes because they can cause the soft tissues of the mouth lining to rub off. These formulations can be pretty strong so be careful.

Question: Why is it necessary to have x-rays every year?

Answer: A visual and examination of your teeth that your dentist does every time you go shows only about 50% of the condition of the hard tissues of the mouth. X-rays show us the density of bone and tooth giving us a lot of information that is invisible to the eye and dental instruments. We can see the bone levels to determine if you have periodontal disease, tumors and to determine if you have cavities between the teeth.

Question: My wife complains about my bad breath. Where does this come from and how do I treat it?

Answer: There are a few causes of bad breath. It can be from a health issue such as diabetes or other systemic problems. The most common cause of bad breath comes from active sulfer compounds in the mouth. The bacteria that causes breakdown of the bone around the teeth emit these smelly compounds. Periodontal (gum) disease is a common reason why the breath smells foul. Bad breath can be emitted where food traps and becomes decayed between your teeth. If you haven’t had an examination recently done to determine the cause of your problem I would recommend one soon. You could loose your teeth from the periodontal infection.

Question: Why should I consider an implant at the age of 70?

Answer: Implants are manmade tooth roots. They can be placed in most patients. Age has nothing to do with the health of the bone in which the implants are placed. As long as you are healthy implants can be used to help you eat at be confident with your smile. There are only a couple of conditions which would reduce the success of implants. These have to do with the bodies ability to heal. They are smoking, uncontrolled diabetes and a few other systemic diseases that can not be controlled with medications.

Question: What Can I do if I have a toothache and can’t get into a dentist what do I do?
Answer: There are many reasons why teeth become painful. The most common reason is because of infections that develop from the teeth or the gums that surround the teeth. These usually need to be treated by a dentist. If you can’t locate a dentist then you may need to go to the emergency at the hospital if there is significant swelling. You could attempt to call me at (586) 573-4500. This will reach my cellular phone which is on all the time. Either way it is important to take action to resolve your pain immediately.

Shelby Township Dentist Answers Patient’s Questions

Dr Antolak practices dentistry in Shelby Township, Michigan. He performs all phases of dentistry in a high tech and friendly environment. He can be reached at 586.247.3500 or visit his website at TheGentleDentist.com

Hi, my name is Nicole from thegentledentist.com. I would like to talk to you about dry mouth, also called xerostomia. This is a common condition that we often see in our dental office in Shelby Township, Michigan.

Xerostomia is caused by lack of saliva production. This is most commonly caused by medications. There are over 400 drugs that have the potential to cause dry mouth. The problem with this is most often, people like to suck on some type of sugary candy to help with dry mouth. As a result of this, both the dry mouth and the candy, you end up with a lot of decay or cavities. That is why it is important to get regular checkups and cleanings with us.

If you suffer from xerostomia, we would be happy to help you. We have a large variety of different products to help with dry mouth including rinses, a spray, lozenges, even a special type of gum. If you’re interested, please check us out at www.thegentledentist.com.

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Systemic diseases that can be discovered through an Oral Examination
Ask The Gentle Dentist – January 2012

I want to wish all of the readers a Blessed 2012 as we enter into the new season and year.  I have been writing these articles for the past nine years and have appreciated all of the positive feed back over the years on how these articles have informed so many people and the fact that they look forward to reading them each month.  When I hear these comments I know my efforts to provide informative and relevant topics that relate to the oral condition are worth it.  I do depend on questions from the reading audience to keep this monthly article relevant.  Please submit your questions to me even if you want to just call the office and ask the question so I can post it on the next month’s article would be fine.  Our address is:

Ask The Gentle Dentist
15055 22 Mile #2
Shelby Twp, MI 48315

The phone number at the office is: (586)247-3500 or email at DrAntolak@thegentledentist.com.

The reason why I post our office address is that a new patient I recently saw has been reading the articles and thought I was a national dental writer.  He didn’t realize that I was local so to answer his question—Yes our office is local.

Oral/Systemic connection (continued from last month)

Diabetes– The palate and tissues of the mouth appears reddish with possible white film.  This can be from hyperglycemia (uncontrolled diabetes).  Excessive blood sugars from diabetes can increase the bacteria levels on the soft tissue and plaques of yeast can be present from a poor balance of good/bacteria in the mouth.

Dry Mouth

  • Multiple drugs can lead to dry mouth.  Dry mouth has a number of consequences, including altered taste, increased risk of fungal infections, increased risk for decay and even traumatic ulcers due to lack of normal lubrication that saliva provides.  Patients with severely impaired salivary flow are challenged with eating, swallowing and speech.  This can result in poor eating and nutrition. Healthy saliva naturally controls the balance of the micro-organisms in the mouth and buffers the soft tissues from the ill effects of this disease. We have a number of options to lubricate the mouth.  These include:
    1. The use of a lozenge with a drug called pilocarpine which helps to induce saliva flow.  I have this compounded at a local pharmacy.
    2. MI Paste. This is a gel that is applied with the finger and rubbed into the teeth.  It contains Calcium/phosphorous and fluoride in a milk base.  This is good for preventing decay and adds lubrication to the mouth.
    3. Biotene products:  These are an entire line of lubricating toothpastes and mouth rinses sold over the counter.

Inhaled steroids

Inhaled steroids are used for those who have asthma or other breathing disorders.  The steroid dries out the mouth and gives the gums and soft tissue a reddish appearance which causes them to bleed very easily and thrush (yeast) infections are prevalent in these patients.  Rinsing out with water after its use is helpful in preventing these problems.

Autoimmune disease

Autoimmune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body.  This means the body starts attacking itself and its own cells.

  1. Sjogen’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease which causes the body to destroy its own saliva glands.  This makes it very difficult to maintain a healthy mouth.
  2. Lichen Planus is a disorder that creates erosive or ulcers on the cheek and other mucus membranes.

Gingival Enlargements

Medications and hormone abnormalities including pregnancy can cause the gums to swell.  Those patients on dilantin for epilepsy or calcium channel blockers for blood pressure control are at risk for this problem.

Oral cancer

The most common areas for oral cancer is under the tongue or in the pharynx  and presents as a red or whitish lesion. Oral cancer is under diagnosed and usually treated at a very late stage when the five year survival rate is low.  Early detection at every examination is the best course.  With the careful examination of the mouth under proper lighting conditions, magnification and even special instrumentation it is possible to diagnose cancer in its earliest stages when it is most treatable.  Smokers and snuff dippers have localized areas of trauma where the heat and nicotine affect the tissues of the lip and hard palate (roof of the mouth).  Kicking the habit is always encouraged to help our patients be substance free.

Viral infections such as HIV, HPV and herpes

These sexually transmitted diseases and others can appear in the mouth because the mouth contains mucous membranes which are very thin.  The signs that appear in the mouth are similar to those who have other diseases that compromise the immune system.

Herpes simplex (cold sores show up on the edge of the lip but can be found on the tongue gums and hard palate.  These are very common and usually follow a burning and tingling sensation in the lip.  Sunlight, stress and fevers can activate the virus which is stored in the nerve of the lip.  When the virus reproduces it travels down the nerve (where it is stored when inactive) from near the brain to the lip.  Those affected can sense this with a burning or tingling sensation on the lip.  When the virus finally breaks out as a sore this is EXTREMELY contagious.  Washing the hands regularly and being protective of the affected area should be exercised.  Small children and those who have not been infected with the virus should not be kissed.  It is also very important to avoid rubbing the eyes as this could lead to vision problems.  To treat these there are a number of home remedies including lysine, placing witch hazel, turmeric or even honey on the site.  Rinsing with baking soda/water can make it more difficult for these viruses to repopulate.  I often prescribe anti-viral pills and ointment to take a more direct approach.

Other potential problems:

Blood Pressure: When we see a patient for the first time we do a blood pressure screening and amazingly enough we have uncovered many patients who have undiagnosed high blood pressure and have referred them to a physician to get this under control.

General systemic infection:  When feeling then neck any lump or bump in the neck could be a swollen lymph node.  Swollen lymph nodes could be a sigh of an infection in the body.

Thyroid gland enlargement:  The thyroid gland located on the front of the neck is used to regulate the metabolism of an individual.  If there is enlargement of the gland then there could be too high of a metabolism.  This increased metabolism can result in unintended weight loss, restlessness and a lack of sleep. A blood test by the physician is needed to confirm these symptoms.

There are other potential diseases that present themselves in the oral cavity at the early stages but because of limitations in this article I didn’t discuss them.  It is noteworthy to say that when we know what looks normal then we can define what looks abnormal.  We refer patients to their physician all of the time to see if what we see in the mouth is a related with an undiagnosed systemic medical issue.

This is the first issue of 2012 and I want to thank the readers and Jody McVeigh the editor for allowing me to inform the public of issues that relate with their oral health.  May you have a prosperous and Healthy New Year.

Blessings, Robert Antolak DDS

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation Close to 36,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 36,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma).

It is obvious that it is a serious problem and one that can be treated more successfully if it is treated at an early enough stage.  Early diagnosis is critical in the success but these cancers aren’t painful in the early stages.  When they get symptomatic when the patient can notice them they have usually metastasised to the neck or lymph nodes.  Your semiannual trip to the dentist is therefore critical since we do an oral cancer exam each time you are examined by Dr. Antolak. 

Oral cancers are mostly found at the side and under the tongue.  They usually appear as a red or white patch which is usually asymptomatic.  If there is any sign of this a brush biopsy or biopsy can be taken which will determine if there is pathology.

Rapid and aggressive treatment is important including surgery to remove the involved area, radiation and chemo therapies.  Radiation and chemotherapy kills off fast replicating cells.  Cancer cells, saliva producing cells, hair follicles, and any other fast growing cells are killed off by the chemotherapy.  Radiation therapy has an even more focused kill so if the saliva glands are in the path of radiation there is a significant reduction in the saliva.  Since saliva provides moisture and natural protection against gum disease and cavities the mouth is prone to more decay.  In addition the bone is prone to infection because the bone cells have a reduced capacity of healing. 

It is critical to seek dental care immediately to remove and fill any teeth that could have problems after the cancer treatment is started.  Dentures will have to be remade or relined to improve the fit.  A poorly fitting denture can create ulcers in the mouth which will be difficult to heal after radiation therapy is completed.

 One of my recent cancer-surviving patients told me that there was not been enough emphasis on the long term effects of radiation treatment on the teeth after the cancer treatment is done.  She wanted it to be known to others how fast dental decay can occur once the saliva glands are irradiated.

If you have questions or need to know what your next step should be please email Dr. Antolak at DrAntolak@TheGentleDentist.com or call (586)247-3500.

Please remember our Candy Buy Back which takes place on November 2.  We will be paying children $1.00 per pound of candy they turn in.  The candy will be distributed to children in Haiti, Detroit and to the Men and Women in uniform  serving our country overseas.

This article is from the Academy of General Dentistry newsletter that I get and thought it was valuable for men.

Now to answer the question—-Men are less likely than women to take care of their physical health and, according to surveys and studies, their oral health is equally ignored. Good oral health recently has been linked with longevity. Yet, one of the most common factors associated with infrequent dental checkups is just being male. Men are less likely than women to seek preventive dental care and often neglect their oral health for years, visiting a dentist only when a problem arises. When it comes to oral health, statistics show that the average man brushes his teeth 1.9 times a day and will lose 5.4 teeth by age 72. If he smokes, he can plan on losing 12 teeth by age 72. Men are also more likely to develop oral and throat cancer and periodontal (gum) disease 

Why is periodontal disease a problem?

 

Periodontal disease is a result of plaque, which hardens into a rough, porous substance called tartar. The acids produced and released by bacteria found in tartar irritate gums. These acids cause the breakdown of fibers that anchor the gums tightly to the teeth, creating periodontal pockets that fill with even more bacteria. Researchers have found a connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease, which can place people at risk for heart attacks and strokes. See your dentist if you have any of these symptoms:

 

  • Bleeding gums during brushing
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose or separating teeth

 

Do you take medications?

 

Since men are more likely to suffer from heart attacks, they also are more likely to be on medications that can cause dry mouth. If you take medication for the heart or blood pressure, or if you take antidepressants, your salivary flow could be inhibited, increasing the risk for cavities. Saliva helps to reduce the cavity-causing bacteria found in your mouth.

 

Do you use tobacco?

 

If you smoke or chew, you have a greater risk for gum disease and oral cancer. Men are affected twice as often as women, and 95 percent of oral cancers occur in those over 40 years of age.

 

The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, soft palate tissues in back of the tongue, lips and gums. If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement following surgery and even death. More than 8,000 people die each year from oral and pharyngeal diseases. If you use tobacco, it is important to see a dentist frequently for cleanings and to ensure your mouth remains healthy. Your general dentist can perform a thorough screening for oral cancer.

 

Do you play sports?

 

If you participate in sports, you have a greater potential for trauma to your mouth and teeth. If you play contact sports, such as football, soccer, basketball and even baseball, it is important to use a mouthguard, which is a flexible appliance made of plastic that protects teeth from trauma. If you ride bicycles or motorcycles, wear a helmet.

 

Taking care of your teeth

 

To take better care of your oral health, it is important to floss daily, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily and visit your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings. Here are some tips to better dental health:

 

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reach every surface of each tooth. If the bristles on your toothbrush are bent or frayed, buy a new one.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months or after you’ve been sick.
  • Choose a toothpaste with fluoride. This can reduce tooth decay by as much as 40 percent.
  • Brush properly. To clean the outside surfaces of your teeth, position the brush at a 45-degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion using short, gentle strokes. To clean the inside surfaces of the upper and lower front teeth, hold the brush vertically. Make several gentle strokes over each tooth and its surrounding gum tissue. Spend at least three minutes brushing.
  • Floss properly. Gently insert floss between teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Do not force the floss or snap it into place. Curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth and then the other.

Dr. Antolak treats his dental patients in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere where you are treated like a guest in the home.  His motto is to “relax while we take care of your smile”. He specializes in cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry and general dentistry using sedation dentistry if necessary for his high fear patients. He has been treating patients for the past 21 years and is located in Shelby Township, Macomb county Michigan

 

Shelby Twp. Dentist Discusses Bad Breath

Question: I have bad breath and my wife lets me know about it. Please let me know what can I do about it and where it comes from?

More than 90 million people suffer from chronic halitosis or bad breath. In most cases it originates from the gums and tongue. The odor is caused by bacteria from the decay of food particles, other debris in your mouth, and poor oral hygiene. The decay and debris produce a sulfur compound that causes the unpleasant odor. Bad breath is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene, but can also can be caused by retained food particles or gum disease. Proper brushing including brushing the tongue, cheeks, and the roof of the mouth will remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque and food that may be trapped between teeth. Mouth rinses are effective in temporary relief of bad breath. Consult your dentist and/or physician if the condition persists.

It also may occur in people who have a medical infection, gum disease, diabetes, kidney failure, or a liver malfunction. Xerostomia (dry mouth) and tobacco also contribute to this problem. Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy may experience dry mouth. Even stress, dieting, snoring, age and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath. An odor that comes from the back of your tongue may indicate post-nasal drip. This is where the mucus secretion, which comes from the nose and moves down your throat, gets stuck on the tongue and causes an odor. Bad breath originating in the stomach, however, is considered to be extremely rare.

Saliva is the key ingredient in your mouth that helps keep the odor under control because it helps wash away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath. When you sleep, however, salivary glands slow down the production of saliva allowing the bacteria to grow inside the mouth. To alleviate “morning mouth,” brush your teeth and eat a morning meal. Morning mouth also is associated with hunger or fasting. Those who skip breakfast, beware because the odor may reappear even if you’ve brushed your teeth.
Very spicy foods, such as onions and garlic, and coffee may be detected on a person’s breath for up to 72 hours after digestion. Onions, for example, are absorbed by the stomach and the odor is then excreted through the lungs. Studies even have shown that garlic rubbed on the soles of the feet can show up on the breath.

It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. To alleviate the odor, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that builds on the tongue. Chewing sugar-free gum also may help control the odor. If you have dentures or a removable appliance, such as a retainer or mouthguard, clean the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth. Before you use mouth rinses, deodorizing sprays or tablets, talk with your dentist because these products only mask the odor temporarily, and some products work better than others.

Visit your dentist regularly because checkups will help detect any physical problems. Checkups also help get rid of the plaque and bacteria that build up on your teeth. Your dentist can check you out and make a determination where the source of the odor is originating. If it seems to be from a systemic problem you may be referred to your physician for further tests and evaluation.

Shelby Twp. Dentist Discusses Bad Breath

For more questions, call The Gentle Dentist in Shelby Township, MI: 586-247-3500

There are many oral conditions and complications that take place when patients are using many drugs.

A good website to use to research out medications is www.drugstore.com. They have a section where you can check out common side effects of medication you or someone you know may be on.  It also has a section that will list drug interactions if you are on multiple medications. 

As I have discussed in the past, the most common side effect of medications is a drying of the mouth. The biggest mistake I see patients who have a dry mouth is to suck on mints, candies, chocolates, or sodas sweetened with natural sugar. When sucking on the candies, they coat the teeth with sugar which in turn develops into a full blown case of dental decay.  Patients are shocked when I show them the destruction that these cause.  Sugar-free AquaDrops candies are a great way to stimulate saliva while not creating multiple cavities in the mouth.  You can find these in just about any pharmacy.

A good toothpaste that will help the balance in the mouth is Crest Pro-health or Biotene toothpaste.  They contains anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agents in this specially formulated toothpaste.  For dry mouth it was recommended to use Biotene oral balance gel.  This is also available over the counter.  When using this gel first swish with water, then use a small glob and move it around to lubricate the mouth.  It has been reported to cool a dry mouth and make it feel much better.

Question: I have bad breath and my wife lets me know about it. Please let me know what can I do about it and where it comes from?

Answer: More than 90 million people suffer from chronic halitosis or bad breath. In most cases it originates from the gums and tongue. The odor is caused by bacteria from the decay of food particles, other debris in your mouth, and poor oral hygiene. The decay and debris produce a sulfur compound that causes the unpleasant odor. Bad breath is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene, but can also be caused by retained food particles or gum disease. Proper brushing including brushing the tongue, cheeks, and the roof of the mouth will remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque and food that may be trapped between teeth. Mouth rinses are effective in temporary relief of bad breath. Consult your dentist and/or physician if the condition persists.

It also may occur in people who have a medical infection, gum disease, diabetes, kidney failure, or a liver malfunction. Xerostomia (dry mouth) and tobacco also contribute to this problem. Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy may experience dry mouth. Even stress, dieting, snoring, age and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath. An odor that comes from the back of your tongue may indicate post-nasal drip. This is where the mucus secretion, which comes from the nose and moves down your throat, gets stuck on the tongue and causes an odor. Bad breath originating in the stomach, however, is considered to be extremely rare.

Saliva is the key ingredient in your mouth that helps keep the odor under control because it helps wash away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath. When you sleep, however, salivary glands slow down the production of saliva allowing the bacteria to grow inside the mouth. To alleviate “morning mouth,” brush your teeth and eat a morning meal. Morning mouth also is associated with hunger or fasting. Those who skip breakfast, beware because the odor may reappear even if you’ve brushed your teeth.

Very spicy foods, such as onions and garlic, and coffee may be detected on a person’s breath for up to 72 hours after digestion. Onions, for example, are absorbed by the stomach and the odor is then excreted through the lungs. Studies even have shown that garlic rubbed on the soles of the feet can show up on the breath.

It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day. To alleviate the odor, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper, a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that builds on the tongue. Chewing sugar-free gum also may help control the odor. If you have dentures or a removable appliance, such as a retainer or mouthguard, clean the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth. Before you use mouth rinses, deodorizing sprays or tablets, talk with your dentist because these products only mask the odor temporarily, and some products work better than others.

Visit your dentist regularly because checkups will help detect any physical problems. Checkups also help get rid of the plaque and bacteria that build up on your teeth. Your dentist can check you out and make a determination where the source of the odor is originating. If it seems to be from a systemic problem you may be referred to your physician for further tests and evaluation.

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