Xerostomia: Causes and Treatments for Dry Mouth

Xerostomia: Causes and Treatments for Dry Mouth

Xerostomia is a big word with a simple definition: dry mouth. It’s the term for the absence of saliva in the mouth that can cause discomfort, often leading patients to seek medical treatment. The condition isn’t a disease in itself, but is actually caused by other factors.

While everyone experiences a dry mouth at one time or another, chronic dry mouth can not only be frustrating, but can also cause medical and dental issues. Treating xerostomia is important to improve overall quality of life as well as preventing any additional problems.

What Causes Xerostomia?

Many different issues can cause dry mouth. Some of the causes for this common condition include:

  • Medications. Many over-the-counter and prescription drugs list dry mouth as a side effect.
  • Nerve damage. Damage to the nerves that control saliva production can result in xerostomia.
  • Cancer treatments. Chemotherapy drugs or radiation can halt the production of saliva.
  • Other diseases. Parkinson’s or Sjogren’s syndrome can affect the salivary gland.

Other conditions, including stress and depression, can lead to a lower production of saliva as well.

What Problems does Xerostomia Cause?

Leaving xerostomia untreated can lead to further issues. The condition can cause difficulties with speech and eating, as well as an increase in cavities or infections in the mouth, since salvia helps wash away bacteria from the surface of the teeth.

What is the Treatment for Xerostomia?

To begin treatment for xerostomia, its root cause must be discovered. Eliminating the cause isn’t always possible, so dental professionals will find a treatment option that addresses the issue while not detracting from other medical care.

Some remedies can treat dry mouth, but they won’t cure it. These options include avoiding alcohol-based mouthwashes, using artificial saliva, sipping plain water, or using over-the-counter dry mouth products. Prescription medications can be used to stimulate saliva production in order to replace the saliva and prevent other medical and dental issues.

Dry mouth should be treated not only because of the discomfort it causes, but also because of the serious issues it can cause. Prioritize good oral care and regular dental treatments to prevent further problems. If you’re in need of dental care, make an appointment with Roseman Dental to get help from one of our empathic, patient-focused providers.

Periodontal Disease and How to Prevent It

Periodontal Disease and How to Prevent It

Periodontal disease occurs when the plaque that adheres to the teeth is not effectively removed. Plaque forms when bacteria in the mouth combine with mucus, creating a sticky and damaging substance that attaches to the teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly does certainly help minimize the formation of plaque, but any plaque that remains often turns into something called tartar, which cannot be easily brushed or flossed away at home. This is just one reason regular dentist visits are so essential!

To reduce the chances of developing gum disease, it’s important to recognize risk factors. Here’s a look at some of the things that commonly lead to gum disease and ways to prevent them from getting that far:

Genetic Makeup

Each person’s genetics play an important role in determining how healthy their teeth and gums are. So much so, in fact, that some researchers believe that as much as 30% of the population is especially susceptible to gum disease. However, even those who are predisposed to the issue can dramatically reduce their chances of developing it simply by engaging in strong oral hygiene practices. In this case of nature vs. nurture, go for nurture.

Stress Levels

While stress in and of itself isn’t a direct contributor to periodontal disease, it has a tendency to weaken the overall immune system. This means that fighting off infections will be tougher in general. In other words, if you’re in the beginning stages of gum disease and are particularly stressed out, it will likely exacerbate the problem. Talk to a doctor if you need help managing stress and its affects.

Smoking Habits

If someone doesn’t already suffer from periodontal disease, smoking may cause it to develop. If someone is a smoker and already has symptoms of gum disease, continuing the habit will only make the problem worse. The more someone smokes, the greater their risk, so cutting down an existing habit (or better yet, quitting entirely) can pay off in the form of improved oral health.

There are many risk factors associated with periodontal disease. The easiest and most effective ways of reducing the chance of developing it is to practice strong brushing and flossing habits, and visit the dentist at regular intervals. If your next appointment isn’t on the calendar yet, make one with Roseman Dental to keep those gums and teeth healthy.

2023 Give Kids a Smile® Presented by Marathon Petroleum Corporation – Free Dental Screenings & Cleanings for Children 18 & Under

2023 Give Kids a Smile® Presented by Marathon Petroleum Corporation – Free Dental Screenings & Cleanings for Children 18 & Under

Roseman Dental and Roseman University College of Dental Medicine are providing dental screenings and cleanings free to qualifying children ages 18 and under at the Give Kids a Smile® event in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of oral healthcare and help stop the spread of untreated dental decay. Children and teens who come in for a checkup and cleaning will also get a voucher* to return to Roseman Dental for a FREE comprehensive exam, x-rays, sealants, and up to $100 of additional care.

WHEN

Friday, February 3, 2023
9:00 am to 4:00pm – No appointments, walk-in patients only, while supplies last

 

WHERE

Roseman Dental
10894 S River Front Pkwy
South Jordan, UT 84095

 

*Event is subject to change. No appointment necessary, children are treated on a first come first serve basis and treatment will be limited by clinical capacity during the time of event. Vouchers are good for 6 months from the date of the event.

 

PRESENTING SPONSOR

Marathon Petroleum Corporation

 

Summer Treats That Are Bad for Your Teeth

Summer Treats That Are Bad for Your Teeth

Now that hot weather is here, the time is right for barbecues, swimming, and cooling off with some warm weather treats. Popsicles, smoothies, and other sugary confections are fun parts of long summer days. Unfortunately, these treats can quickly do the teeth more harm than good, especially if you aren’t being careful about keeping up with proper oral care. Here are a few summer treats to skip, and some better options to consider.

Popsicles and Shaved Ice

Before you grab that flavored popsicle or head to the local shaved ice shack, it’s important to understand how these chilly snacks could be harmful to the teeth. Both are often loaded with sugars, whether through-and-through or covered in sugary syrup. This sugar eats away at the outer layer of tooth enamel, encourages bacteria growth, and can easily lead to cavities. In addition, biting or chewing on icy things could lead to chipped teeth to severe pain from cold sensitivity.

There are plenty of cold sweet treats that wreak less havoc on the teeth. Reach for a bowl of fresh fruit straight out of the refrigerator, which can help satisfy your craving for something sweet with a little natural sugar, and the cold will help satisfy your craving for something cool on a hot summer day.

Ice Cream

What’s more fun than going to the ice cream shop on a warm summer day? Like popsicles and shaved ice, ice cream is also loaded with sugar and can cause sensitivity and pain from both the sugar and cold temperatures. People in the U.S. already consume two to three times the amount of sugar recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA)—kids consume on average 32 teaspoons (tsp) per day, adults consume 22 tsp, and the AHA recommends no more than 9.5 tsp, so adding a daily ice cream treat might be increasing sugar intake to potentially harmful levels.

Instead, try buying sugar-free or low-sugar ice cream, and skip the toppings like caramel or syrup. If you do indulge a little in ice cream, try to eat it immediately following a regular meal, since the extra saliva in your mouth can help rinse the sugar from your teeth. Another smart choice is to brush your teeth within about 10 minutes to remove any lingering sugar.

Sodas and Sports Drinks

In the warm weather months, many kids and adults participate in sports teams and outdoor activities. Sports drinks can seem like the obvious choice after a long workout or intense game to help rehydrate, but keep in mind that these drinks can be full of sugar. They’re especially rough on the teeth straight from the bottle because the liquid comes in direct contact with the teeth. Many sodas also have the added problem of high acid levels that eat away at tooth enamel.

Instead of sugary sports drinks and sodas, reach for water to quench that thirst. If you do decide to drink a soda or a sports drink, drink through a straw to limit tooth exposure as much as possible. Also try to drink soda only during meal times, rather than sipping on it throughout the day and extending the time your teeth are exposed.

What to Feed Kids

Without the structure of a school day, kids might be spending a lot more time snacking throughout the day. To keep the sugar intake at a minimum, have some healthy snacks ready:

  • Protein-filled snacks like nuts, cheese, and turkey
  • Vegetables like celery and carrot sticks
  • Fruits like apple or orange slices, bananas, berries, and grapes
  • Plenty of cold water—add some fresh lemons, limes, mint, or cucumbers to the water to enhance the flavor

For more tips about teeth-friendly snacking, talk to a dentist today. If you don’t have a dentist, make an appointment with Roseman Dental for affordable and patient-centered dental care.

Fun Floss Facts

Fun Floss Facts

Most people know that they should brush and floss their teeth once or twice daily for good oral health. Knowing and doing are definitely not the same, though. Here are some fun facts you may not have known about flossing.

The first floss was made from silk. Luxurious!

Today, there are many floss choices. Here are some tips for choosing the best floss:

  • Wide floss is better than regular for people who have bridgework or spaces between their teeth.
  • Waxed floss is the easiest to slide between teeth that are close together.
  • Unwaxed floss squeaks when teeth are clean and plaque is gone.
  • Bonded unwaxed floss is more likely to tear than waxed floss, but much less than regular unwaxed floss.
  • For those that feel challenged by their own manual dexterity, flossing tools can be very helpful!
  • Those with braces still need to floss and with an array of tools designed to floss in and around brackets and wires, it is easier than ever before.
Women floss more than men do.

Although more than half of Americans do not floss daily, those who do are more likely to be women. Even if you don’t have time to floss every day, occasional flossing is better than not ever flossing! (Honestly, are you really surprised? I’m not. Ladies are just cleaner.)

 

Water flossers are not a substitute for flossing.

Water flossers like Waterpik are an effective tool for removing debris that a toothbrush can’t reach, especially with braces. They don’t remove plaque, though, and plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. Only floss can help remove this from teeth between regular cleanings at the dentist.

 

An inmate once used floss to escape from jail.

In 1994, a West Virginia prison inmate braided dental floss into a rope, scaled the wall, and escaped. Here’s the right way to use floss that doesn’t involve breaking any laws:

  • Break off a piece about as long as your forearm and wind all but about four inches around one of your middle fingers.
  • Wind the tail end around a finger of your other hand.
  • Stretch the floss tightly with about an inch between your fingers and guide it down between your teeth using a gentle back-and-forth motion.
  • At the gumline, slide the floss gently down between the gum and tooth until there is resistance.
  • With the floss against the tooth, gently scrape the side of the tooth as you move the floss away from the gum line.
Floss is the best weapon in the fight against plaque.

Plaque and food debris stick to teeth and gums and lodge between teeth, sending an open invitation to the bacteria that cause gum disease. Floss protects the mouth from all that bacteria by removing plaque and debris.

Even the best flossing habits aren’t a replacement for regular dental checkups. Make an appointment with Roseman Dental to keep that smile shining.

Mouthing Off: Dispelling the Three Most Common Dental Myths

Mouthing Off: Dispelling the Three Most Common Dental Myths

One of the biggest advantages to living in the digital age is the overwhelming amount of information that is just a click away. However, with so much discussion regarding almost every topic imaginable, it is easy to understand why so many rumors and myths get passed around. Since the dental arena is not immune to perpetual misinformation, here are three common myths debunked:

 

Dental Myth #1

A fancier or more expensive toothbrush results in cleaner, healthier teeth.

 

The Truth

It is not the type of toothbrush you use, but the manner in which you use it that makes all the difference. Brushing twice a day for two minutes at a time is the key to healthier teeth and gums. This can be easily accomplished whether you opt to use a simple, soft bristle manual toothbrush, or a higher-end electric one. The most important factor is to be comfortable with your selection and use it on a consistent basis.

 

Dental Myth #2

The harder you brush, the better your results.

 

The Truth

Brushing your teeth harder does not improve your oral health. In fact, it can have potentially damaging effects! Excessive brushing with aggressive force can lead to enamel loss and gum recession, which can ultimately expose roots and cause sensitivity and tooth decay. If you are unsure if you are a harsh brusher, talk with your dentist so they can assess your routine and provide helpful suggestions. Part of an assessment by a dentist involves measurement and scoring of any potential gum recession. These measurements are taken at each visit and compared against each other to identify long-term recession.

 

Dental Myth #3

Regular brushing eliminates the need for regular dental cleanings.

 

The Truth

Plaque, a biofilm with a soft mashed potato-like consistency, begins to form on your teeth within 20 minutes after eating. If it isn’t brushed away within eight hours, it hardens into tarter that brushing cannot remove. Tarter build-up leads to gum disease and tooth decay. Only a dentist or dental hygienist will have the tools necessary to properly and effectively remove tarter from the teeth.

When it comes to oral health, false information can be damaging. The most important way to make your dental health a priority is by seeking out a reputable dentist who can dispel myths and provide you with the facts. Your mouth will thank you for it.