Friday, December 28, 2012

Dry Mouth


Dry Mouth

What do I Need to Know About Dry Mouth?

Everyone has a dry mouth once in a while — if they are nervous, upset or under stress.
But if you have a dry mouth all or most of the time, it can be uncomfortable and can lead to serious health problems.
Dry mouth ...
  • Can cause difficulties in tasting, chewing, swallowing, and speaking
  • Can increase your chance of developing dental decay and other infections in the mouth
  • Can be a sign of certain diseases and conditions
  • Can be caused by certain medications or medical treatments
Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. So if you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or physician — there are things you can do to get relief.

What is Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth is the condition of not having enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth wet.
Symptoms Include:
  • A sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting or speaking
  • A burning feeling in the mouth
  • A dry feeling in the throat
  • Cracked lips
  • A dry, tough tongue
  • Mouth sores
  • An infection in the mouth
Why is Saliva so Important?
  • Saliva does more than keep the mouth wet. It helps digest food
  • It protects teeth from decay
  • It prevents infection by controlling bacteria and fungi in the mouth
  • It makes it possible for you to chew and swallow
Without enough saliva you can develop tooth decay or other infections in the mouth. You also might not get the nutrients you need if you cannot chew and swallow certain foods.

What causes Dry Mouth?

People get dry mouth when the glands in the mouth that make saliva are not working properly. Because of this, there might not be enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. There are several reasons why these glands (called salivary glands) might not work right.
  • Side effects of some medicines — more than 400 medicines can cause the salivary glands to make less saliva. Medicines for high blood pressure and depression often cause dry mouth
  • Disease — some diseases affect the salivary glands. Sj√∂gren's Syndrome, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease can all cause dry mouth
  • Radiation therapy — the salivary glands can be damaged if they are exposed to radiation during cancer treatment
  • Chemotherapy — drugs used to treat cancer can make saliva thicker, causing the mouth to feel dry.
  • Nerve damage — injury to the head or neck can damage the nerves that tell salivary glands to make saliva.

What Can be Done About Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth treatment will depend on what is causing the problem. If you think you have dry mouth, see your dentist or physician. He or she can try to determine what is causing your dry mouth.
  • If your dry mouth is caused by medicine, your physician might change your medicine or adjust the dosage
  • If your salivary glands are not working right but can still produce some saliva, your physician or dentist might give you a medicine that helps the glands work better
  • Your physician or dentist might suggest that you use artificial saliva to keep your mouth wet
What can I do?
  • Sip water or sugarless drinks often
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as coffee, tea, and some sodas. Caffeine can dry out the mouth
  • Sip water or a sugarless drink during meals. This will make chewing and swallowing easier. It may also improve the taste of food
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy to stimulate saliva flow; citrus, cinnamon or mint-flavored candies are good choices
  • Don't use tobacco or alcohol. They dry out the mouth
  • Be aware that spicy or salty foods may cause pain in a dry mouth
  • Use a humidifier at night
Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Healthy
Remember, if you have dry mouth, you need to be extra careful to keep your teeth healthy. Make sure you:
  • Gently brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss your teeth every day
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride in it. Most toothpastes sold at grocery and drug stores have fluoride in them
  • Avoid sticky, sugary foods. If you do eat them, brush immediately afterwards
  • Visit your dentist for a check-up at least twice a year. Your dentist might give you a special fluoride solution that you can rinse with to help keep your teeth healthy
Article Source: http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patienteducation/Dry-Mouth/article


If you live in The Woodlands, TX area and are currently looking for a dentist, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment today. 

Robert G, Dernick, DDS
1001 Medical Plaza Drive Suite 300
The Woodlands, TX 77380
281-367-3900

Friday, December 21, 2012

How To Floss -- Some Techniques


What is the Right Way to Floss?
Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gumline and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, daily flossing is highly recommended.
To receive maximum benefits from flossing, use the following proper technique:
  • Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with
  • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth

What Type of Floss Should I Use?

There are two types of floss from which to choose:
  • Nylon (or multifilament) floss
  • PTFE (monofilament) floss
Nylon floss is available waxed and unwaxed, and in a variety of flavors. Because this type of floss is composed of many strands of nylon, it may sometimes tear or shred, especially between teeth with tight contact points. While more expensive, single filament (PTFE) floss slides easily between teeth, even those with tight spaces between teeth, and is virtually shred-resistant. When used properly, both types of floss are excellent aremoving plaque and debris.
Use about 18" of floss, leaving an inch or two to work with.Gently follow the curves of your teeth.Be sure to clean beneath the gumline, but avoid snapping the floss on the gums.
Article Source: http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patienteducation/How-To-Floss--Flossing-Tips/article


If you live in The Woodlands, TX area and are currently looking for a dentist, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment today. 

Robert G. Dernick, DDS
1001 Medical Plaza Drive Suite 300
The Woodlands, TX 77380
281-367-3900


Friday, December 14, 2012

Illustrations: How A Tooth Decays


  1. Healthy Tooth
    Healthy Tooth
    Enamel is the hard outer crystal-like layer. Dentin is the softer layer beneath the enamel. The pulp chamber contains nerves and blood vessels and is considered the living part of the tooth.
  2. White Spots
    White Spots
    Bacteria that are exposed to sugars or carbohydrates can make acid, which attacks the crystal-like substance in the tooth's outer surface. This process is known as demineralization. The first sign of this is a chalky white spot. At this stage, the decay process can be reversed. Using fluorides at home and in the dental office can help the tooth repair itself.
  3. Enamel Decay
    Enamel Decay
    Demineralization continues. Enamel starts to break down. Once the enamel surface is broken, the tooth can no longer repair itself. The cavity has to be cleaned and restored by a dentist.
  4. Dentin Decay
    Dentin Decay
    The decay reaches into the dentin where it can spread and undermine the enamel.
  5. Pulp Involvement
    Pulp Involvement
    If decay is left untreated, it will reach the tooth's pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. The pulp becomes infected. An abscess (swelling) or a fistula (opening to the surface of the gum) can form in the soft tissues.
*Illustrations created by Simple Steps designer Lynda Buchhalter

Article Source: http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patienteducation/Illustrations-How-A-Tooth-Decays/article


If you live in The Woodlands, TX area and are currently looking for a dentist, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment today. 

Robert G. Dernick, DDS
1001 Medical Plaza Drive Suite 300
The Woodlands, TX 77380
281-367-3900


Friday, December 7, 2012

How To Brush - A Recap


What Is the Right Way to Brush?

Proper brushing takes at least two minutes — that's right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline, hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section as follows:
  • Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
  • Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
  • Clean the chewing surfaces
  • For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too

Oral Hygiene - Brushing Teeth (top)Oral Hygiene - Brushing Teeth (bottom)Oral Hygiene - Brushing Tongue
Tilt the brush at a 45° angle against the gumline and sweep or roll the brush away from the gumline.Gently brush the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth using short back-and-forth strokes.Gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.

What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use?

Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth. For many, a powered toothbrush is a good alternative. It can do a better job of cleaning teeth, particularly for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity. 

How Important is the Toothpaste I Use?

It is important that you use a toothpaste that's right for you. Today there is a wide variety of toothpaste designed for many conditions, including  cavitiesgingivitistartarstained teeth and sensitivity. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist which toothpaste is right for you. 

How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you've had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection.
Article Source: http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patienteducation/How-To-Brush--Teeth-Brushing-Techniques/article



Robert G. Dernick, DDS
1001 Medical Plaza Drive Suite 300
The Woodlands, TX 77380
281-367-3900

Friday, November 30, 2012

All About Cavities


What's In Your Mouth?

To understand what happens when your teeth decay, it's helpful to know what's in your mouth naturally. Here are a few of the elements:
  • Saliva: Your mouth and teeth are constantly bathed in saliva. Although we never give much thought to our spit, this simple fluid is remarkable for what it does to help protect our oral health. Saliva keeps teeth and other oral tissues moist and lubricated, washes away some of the food particles left behind after we eat, keeps acid levels in the mouth low, and protects against some viruses and bacteria.
  • Plaque: Plaque appears as a soft, gooey substance that sticks to the teeth a bit like jam sticks to a spoon. It is, in fact, colonies of bacteria, protozoa, mycoplasmas, yeasts and viruses clumping together in a gel-like organic material. Also in the mix are bacteria byproducts, white blood cells, food debris and body tissue. Plaque grows when bacteria attach to the tooth and begin multiplying. Plaque starts forming immediately after a tooth is cleaned; it takes about an hour for plaque to build up to measurable levels. As time goes on, different types of microorganisms appear, and the plaque thickens.
  • Calculus: If left alone long enough, plaque begins to mineralize and harden into calculus or tartar because the plaque absorbs calcium, phosphorus and other minerals from saliva. These minerals form crystals and harden the plaque structure. New plaque forms on top of existing calculus, and this new layer can also become calcified.
  • Bacteria: We have many different strains of bacteria in our mouths. Some bacteria are good; they help control destructive bacteria. When it comes to decay, Streptococcus mutans is the bacterial strain that does the most damage. It attaches easily to teeth and produces acid.

How Your Teeth Decay

You need food, particularly sweet and sticky food, for the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids that will attack the tooth enamel (outer surface of the tooth). Sugars, especially sucrose, react with bacteria to produce acid. The acid from the bacteria can decay your teeth.
It's not just candy and ice cream we're talking about. All carbohydrate foods, as they are digested, eventually break down into simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose. Some of this digestion begins in the mouth. Foods that break down into simple sugars in the mouth are called fermentable carbohydrates. These include the obvious sugary foods, such as cookies, cakes, soft drinks and candy, but also pretzels, crackers, bananas, potato chips and breakfast cereals. The sugars in these foods combine with the bacteria normally in the mouth to form acids. These acids cause the mineral crystals inside the teeth to begin to dissolve.


The dental caries lesion forms when these acids start to dissolve a tooth's outer protective layer, the enamel. A cavity forms when the tooth decay breaks through the enamel to the underlying layers of the tooth. You can reverse a caries lesion (before it becomes a cavity) by using a variety of fluoride products. These include fluoridated water, fluoride rinses for use at home, and, of course, any commonly used fluoridated toothpaste.
Every time you eat, the bacteria in your mouth produce acid. Therefore, the more times you eat the more times your teeth are exposed to an acid attack.

Types and Stages of Decay

Dental decay, also known as dental caries, begins first inside the tooth. A white spot appears on the enamel where the tooth has started to weaken inside. At this stage, the tooth can repair the weakened area with the help of fluoride and minerals in saliva. But if the decay continues and breaks through the surface of the enamel, the damage is permanent. The decay must be cleaned out and the cavity filled by a dentist. Left untreated, the decay will worsen and destroy a tooth all the way through the outer enamel layer, through the inside dentin layer and down to the pulp or nerve of the tooth.
In young children, teeth that have recently emerged have weak enamel and are highly susceptible to acid decay. A type of decay called baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood caries destroys enamel quickly and is common in children. This type of decay can eat through enamel and leave a large cavity in a matter of months.
Older adults sometimes have chronic caries: cavities that don't seem to get any worse or do so at a very slow rate. Teeth with chronic caries will tend to be darker in color because the edges of the cavities become stained from normal eating and drinking.
Root caries (decay in the roots of the teeth) is more common in older adults. Older adults are more likely to have gums that have receded from years of hard brushing or periodontal disease. They also are more likely to have dry mouth (xerostomia), which increases the risk of decay. Dry mouth is caused by many common medicines. Be sure to ask the doctor or pharmacist if any of your medicines cause dry mouth.
Decay can form beneath fillings or other restorations, such as crowns. Sometimes, bacteria and food particles can slip into a tooth if a filling hasn't been placed properly or if the filling cracks or pulls away from the tooth, leaving a gap.

Preventing Cavities

Do you or your family members get cavities frequently? Dental research has identified factors that increase your risk of getting decay. Next time you visit the dental office, ask about your risk factors and discuss the best ways to reduce your risks and limit dental decay.
To prevent your teeth from decaying, you can do two things — strengthen your teeth's defenses with fluoride and sealants, and reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.
Fluoride strengthens teeth by penetrating the tooth structure and replacing lost minerals to repair acid damage. Everyone should brush with a fluoride toothpaste every day. Dental offices sometimes recommend additional toothpastes, gels and mouthrinses for both children and adults.
Sealants are protective coatings placed over the tops of chewing teeth — molars and premolars. They block bacteria and acids from sticking in the tiny grooves on the chewing surfaces of these teeth. Children should get sealants soon after their teeth erupt into the mouth.
Although you can never get rid of all the bacteria in your mouth, you can control bacteria by brushing regularly and flossing daily, seeing your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for a thorough cleaning and check-up, and reducing the number of times each day that you consume fermentable carbohydrates.
Some prescription mouthwashes (those that contain chlorhexidine) can help prevent decay by reducing the number of bacteria in the mouth. Chewing sugarless gums, especially those with xylitol, can help reduce decay and increase the flow of saliva.

Article Source: http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patienteducation/All-About-Cavities/article


If you live in The Woodlands, TX area and are currently looking for a dentist, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment today.
Robert G. Dernick, DDS
1001 Medical Plaza Drive Suite 300
The Woodlands, TX 77380
281-367-3900

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Bad Breath And It's Relationship To Systemic Oral Health Diseases


About 75 percent of bad breath or “halitosis” is caused by the mouth itself.  Other causes include gastric problems, sinus infections or severe gum disease,” says Mark Wolff, DDS, Ph.D., director of operative dentistry at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. One of the key successes in treating bad breath is determining the cause. Once your dental professional determines what the cause is then treatment for it can then begin (1).
Bad breath can be caused by the following:
  • External factors – foods such as onions and garlic, beverages like coffee and alcohol, and smoking
  • Poor oral hygiene – where plaque and food debris is left on the teeth
  • Dentures – plaque and food debris can form on dentures, which need to be cleaned daily
  • Tonsils – cryptic areas (crevices) in the tonsils can allow food debris to become lodged in the tonsil area
  • Respiratory tract infections – throat, sinus and lung infections

  • Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – can be caused by salivary gland problems, medication, mouth breathing, radiation therapy and chemotherapy

Who Should You See If You Have Bad Breath?

If you believe your diet is causing bad breath, then consult with a dietician or nutritionist who can work with you to modify your diet. If you have poor oral hygiene and are suffering from gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue in your mouth) or have periodontal disease (bone loss around the teeth sometimes referred to as “pyorrhea”), consult your dentist and periodontist and work with your dental hygienist to improve gingivitis and thorough oral hygiene instruction at home. The tonsils and respiratory infections will need to be followed by your physician or a specialist such as an ear, nose and throat physician or pulmonologist. A large majority of people in the United States are suffering from dry mouth due to medications they may be taking, salivary gland dysfunction and those who may be going through radiation and chemotherapy treatment for cancer therapy. Please consult your oral maxillofacial surgeon, your physician or oncologist for their professional recommendations for prescription or over-the-counter products that can alleviate dry mouth symptoms. Those patients who are diabetics, have liver or kidney conditions, and gastrointestinal disorders should see their physician, urologist or gastroenterologist for their insights on how bad breath can be reduced regarding these systemic diseases. Contact your dentist office for a recommendation of which dental or medical professional you should see for your bad breath condition.

Article Source: http://www.colgateprofessional.com/patienteducation/Bad-Breath-and-Its-Relationship-to-Oral-Systemic-Diseases/article


If you live in The Woodlands, TX area and are currently looking for a dentist, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment today. 

Robert G. Dernick, DDS
1001 Medical Plaza Drive Suite 300
The Woodlands, TX 77380
http://www.drdernickdds.com/
281-367-3900



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Developing Teeth: Moving From Primary To Permamnent




*Illustration created by InteliHealth designer Lynda Buchhalter
Because there are more permanent teeth than primary teeth, the permanent premolars come in behind the primary molars. Permanent molars emerge into an open space. The jaw lengthens as a child grows to create space for these permanent molars.
It takes about six years, between the ages of six and 12, for children to lose their primary (deciduous) teeth and gain their permanent teeth. This is called the period of "mixed dentition," because for much of the time, children will have both primary and permanent teeth. Teeth form under the gum before they erupt (emerge through the gum). The crown, or visible part of the tooth, forms before the roots do. Before the roots form, the developing tooth is called a "tooth bud."
Eventually, the 20 primary teeth are replaced by 32 permanent teeth. The primary molars are replaced by permanent premolars (also called bicuspids) and the permanent molars come in behind the primary teeth. Most often, the first teeth to emerge are the lower two front teeth (incisors) and the upper and lower first molars, the molars closest to the front of the mouth. They are followed by the upper two front teeth. The order that teeth emerge can vary. Parents should be more concerned about symmetry (the same teeth coming in at the same time on both sides) than the time teeth emerge.

If you live in The Woodlands, TX area and are currently looking for a dentist, please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment today. 

Robert G. Dernick, DDS
1001 Medical Plaza Drive Suite 300
The Woodlands, TX 77380
http://www.drdernickdds.com/
281-367-3900