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Beauty and Fitness Articles - Healthy Smile

Dry mouth.
A dry mouth occurs when saliva production is reduced and carries its own nasty little package of problems.

The medical term for dry mouth is “xerostomia” (pronounced ZEER-oh-STOH-mee-ah). Saliva performs vital work in your body. It aids in digestion by using the enzymes to help break up different foods and also makes it easier to talk.

Saliva helps prevent tooth decay by rinsing away food particles from between the teeth as well as the gums. Saliva also helps you taste the food you eat and makes it easier for you to swallow that food and is also known for neutralizing any damaging acids.

It is believed to be caused primarily by certain medications which we listed in the previously. The symptoms of dry mouth can include:

Dry, rough tongue
Poor sense of taste
Burning sensation in your mouth
Increased plaque
Reduced saliva production

Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS and stroke are also attributed to causing dry mouth as well as pregnancy and/or hormonal changes due to menopause.

Increasing fluid intake can help to re-hydrate the mouth. It’s important to keep it moist so you don’t lose all the benefits provided by saliva production.

Gum disease/Gingivitus.
This is inflammation of soft tissue surrounding the teeth. This condition is much more serious than a single abscess. Gingivitis is the precursor to periodontitis which is the final step of gum disease that can ultimately lead to tooth loss. This will be discussed in depth a bit further on.

Impacted tooth.
An impacted tooth is one that rebelliously will not erupt into its proper position and most often results in infection, which we know is another cause of bad breath and ultimately can result in loss of the tooth.

Periodontal disease.
It’s hard to believe that in a 2002 poll of 1,000 Americans over the age of 35, it was determined that 60% of adults polled knew little or nothing about gum disease! A tragedy when you consider that gum disease is the leading factor in tooth loss, even healthy teeth.

Your teeth can appear to be healthy and disease free, when under the surface gum disease can stalwartly march on creating a condition that will ultimately lead to serious tooth loss. Bad breath is a “red flag” to help determine if this problem is prevalent in your mouth.

Healthy gum tissue forms a shallow groove at the point where the tooth meets the gum line. This disease occurs when the anaerobic, sulfur producing bacteria we discussed earlier, become trapped beneath the gum line.

This is a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria and they will settle in and take residence.

Not recognizing and dealing with the problem will result in serious dental problems up to and including loss of teeth and even underlying bone disease.

If you are diagnosed with serious periodontal disease, work to save your teeth needs to begin as soon as possible.

The first step that your dentist will take is probably what is called “scaling and root planing.” This is a non-surgical procedure to remove the deposits of plaque on the surface of the tooth including the root. Since periodontal disease rarely occurs in just one tooth, this will probably need to be done to all your teeth.

The dentist will scrap the surfaces of the tooth below the gum line to remove all traces of plaque clear down to the bottom of the pocket. He will then smooth the surface of the root to encourage healthy gum tissue to heal. This process also discourages plaque from reforming.

Depending on how involved your case might be, the dentist may prescribe medication to assist in healing or control pain and potential infection.

More diagnostics are required before a prognosis of your case of periodontal disease can be given. Each deposit of plaque creates its own “pocket” and the dentist needs to measure the depth of the pockets that were scaled during your first visit.

Often, the scaling procedure works well to eliminate the problem and you are free from further treatment other than normal examinations. At this point you would be well served by employing a daily regimen of preventative maintenance to insure the disease does not return.

However, if the diseased pockets are deep and extending into actual bone, you may need to have surgery in order to keep the teeth. If this is the case, your dentist will refer you to a periodontist, a doctor who specializes in periodontal disease.

The periodontist will use a surgical process to aggressively penetrate the diseased areas and ferret out the plaque and bacteria. The pockets where plaque resides must be sealed off so the environment does not invite a return of the disease.

In some cases bone surgery or bone grafts may be necessary to rebuild bone that was destroyed by the periodontal disease. If there was substantial tissue damage grafts may need to be used to replace the soft tissue. This procedure involves removing gum tissue from your palate to cover the areas where severe gingivitis has penetrated too far into the gum line.

Your dentist or oral surgeon may also recommend further treatment and/or medications. Here is a list of FDA approved products to help combat periodontal disease:
Name What It Is Why It’s Used How It’s Used

Colgate Total
triclosan and fluoride toothpaste Over-the-counter toothpaste containing the antibacterial triclosan The antibacterial ingredient reduces plaque and resulting gingivitis. The fluoride protects against cavities. Used like a regular toothpaste

Peridex or generic
chlorhexidine mouth rinse Prescription mouth rinse containing an anti-microbial called chlorhexidine To control bacteria, resulting in less plaque and gingivitis Used like a regular mouthwash

Periochip A tiny piece of gelatin filled with chlorhexidine To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets Chip is placed in the pockets after root planing, where the medicine is slowly released over time.

Atridox A gel that contains the antibiotic doxycycline To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets Placed in pockets after scaling and root planing. Antibiotic is released slowly over a period of about seven days.

Actisite Thread-like fiber that contains the antibiotic tetracycline To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets These fibers are placed in the pockets. The medicine is released slowly over 10 days. The fibers are then removed.

Arestin microspheres Tiny round particles that contain the antibiotic minocycline To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets Microspheres placed into pockets after scaling and root planing. Particles release minocycline slowly over time.

Periostat A low dose of the medication doxycycline that keeps destructive enzymes in check To hold back the body’s enzyme response—if not controlled, certain enzymes can break down bone and connective tissue. This medication is in pill form. It is used in combination with scaling and root planing

Pharyngitis.
This is an inflammation in the area at the back of the mouth known as the Pharynx as usually occurs because of a virus.

This is the same area where you begin to feel a slight “scratchiness” at the onset of a cold or flu. The bacteria involved can lead to more serious streptococcus, commonly known as “strep throat.” If it progresses it can be highly contagious and because it is bacterial it will produce bad breath and possible tooth decay.

Poor dental hygiene.
We have discussed some of the leading causes of dental disease, but nothing matches poor dental hygiene as a leading cause of tooth decay and discoloration.

Lack of brushing, flossing and regular checkups are the most important weapon for ridding oneself of bad breath and preventing more serious conditions from developing.
All of these conditions can leave you with teeth and that need lots of help!

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DISCLAIMER: Information on this website is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

 
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