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