Causes of Dry Mouth and Top Remedies

Dry mouth, medically referred to as Xerostomia, occurs when you have insufficient saliva or spit in your mouth. Almost everyone has a dry mouth once in awhile, especially when feeling stressed, upset, or nervous. But if you have a dry mouth most or all the time, it can be an uncomfortable indicator that you have an underlying disease or condition, so it’s important that you see your dentist.
 
causes of dry mouthDry mouth can make it difficult to chew, swallow, and speak, and may even alter the taste of your food. It may also result in hoarseness, sore throat, and bad breath.
 

Are you at risk for dry mouth?

 
Although older people are more susceptible to dry mouth, the condition can affect people of any age. Dry mouth is not a standard consequence of aging; rather, older people are more likely to take multiple medications that cause dry mouth.
 
A recent report on Oral Health in America suggests that dry mouth is a side effect of over 400 over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, high blood pressure medicines, and muscle relaxants.
 

Other causes of dry mouth include:

 

  • Hormone changes – like those that occur during menopause or pregnancy
  • Cancer treatments – like chemotherapy and radiation of the head/neck
  • Health problems – like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Nerve damage – trauma to the head or neck can damage the nerves connected to the salivary glands
  • Snoring or breathing with your mouth open

 

Why is saliva important?

 

  • Saliva is produced by the salivary glands in the mouth, and include lubricants and enzymes. The enzymes help to digest food, whereas the lubricants make chewing, swallowing, and speaking more comfortable.
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  • Saliva helps in the control of bacteria that bind to the surface of teeth. They feed on sugar in the food consumed, and use it to grow. At the same time, the breakdown of sugar releases acid that erodes tooth enamel. Saliva helps to wash away sugar and food particles from the teeth and mouth, and neutralizes the acid, preventing cavities.

 

What to do when you have a dry mouth:

 
It is important that you visit your dentist to help you identify the exact cause of your dry mouth. Your dentist or doctor may then recommend oral rinses and moisturizers, or the use artificial saliva.
 
Also referred to as saliva substitute, artificial saliva is regulated by the FDA as a medical device. Unlike drugs that work by chemical action, saliva substitute function mechanically by lubricating or moistening the mouth without stimulating the salivary glands to produce saliva. Artificial saliva only provides short-term relief of the symptoms of dry mouth, and is usually used to reduce discomfort after an oral procedure.
 
Artificial saliva is available in different forms including sprays, gels, rinses, swabs, and tablets that dissolve in the mouth, and can be purchased over-the-counter. Other ways to relieve dry mouth include sipping water or sugarless drinks; chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candy; avoiding spicy foods that irritate the mouth; avoiding irritants like caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol; and using a humidifier in the bedroom when sleeping.
 
Remember, if you have dry mouth, you should be extra careful about oral hygiene. Use a fluoride toothpaste, brush and floss twice a day, and avoid sugary or sticky foods and drinks.
 
 

Restoring a Missing Tooth, Common Dental Implant Case

Reasons to Restore a Missing Tooth

missing teeth, dental implants woodland hillsPatients have a variety of reasons to restore a missing tooth; a gap between teeth can be fixed with dental implant procedures.

Aesthetics

A missing tooth, especially in the front, is noticeable and may cause a person to be self conscious about their smile.

 

Speech

Missing teeth affects a person’s pronunciation of certain words. Loss of a tooth can cause speech to sound slurred or like a lisp. Gaps caused by missing teeth also changes the normal airflow that affects voice projection and quality of speech.

 

Chewing

Affects on chewing can become a greater cause for concern, especially when missing a molar. Missing a tooth can alter the force of bite for the remaining teeth. Typically a bite will change to balance the lost tooth, a growth of risk can occur resulting with discomfort and pressure on the jaw joints.

 

Tooth Decay

Furthermore, neglecting the replacement of a missing tooth can shift the surrounding teeth. The problem is that large holes can cause tartar and plaque to accumulate in places that are hard to reach. Periodontal disease and tooth decay have been causes of this problem.

 

Learn More at Mint Dentistry in Woodland Hills

Find out if dental implants are right for you. Click here or call 818-716-0297 to learn more.

Do You Have Bleeding Gums?

Do you have bleeding gums?

It’s never a great sign when blood is present. For our teeth and gums, this is no different. If you notice blood after performing your daily oral care duties such as brushing and flossing, then you may have a deeper issue. We’ll help you discern the different possibilities that bleeding gums may be indicative of.

Bleeding Gums Causes

Gum Disease

Now, before you panic, gum disease is a lot more common than you think. It also happens to be a disease that can be easily addressed with the right treatment and follow up at home.

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease. It is actually the earliest form of gum disease and the main symptom is of course… bleeding gums. During this period, the damage can be easily reversed. Provided you follow up with your doctor and stay on top of your oral hygiene habits.

Too Rough

A common occurrence is improper brushing and flossing technique; specifically, brushing or flossing too hard. Our gums are sensitive. When we apply too much pressure to them with floss or a toothbrush, they will respond by producing blood. This doesn’t mean you have gum disease, it just means you need to be more gentle.

Pro tip: Replace your toothbrush often to avoid hard bristles, which would also cause your gums to bleed.

Medication

Sometimes, bleeding gums has nothing to do with gum disease or oral care technique, but rather medications that you may be taking. Blood thinner medication almost always results in bleeding gums. Consult with your doctor if it starts to become worrisome.

Pregnancy

For pregnant mothers, bleeding gums may be a symptom due to the hormonal changes that take place during this time. This is called “pregnancy gingivitis”. The good news is that once pregnancy is over, the problem should correct itself.

 

Addressing the Cause

Once you’ve determined the cause, the treatment becomes clear. We wouldn’t classify bleeding gums as an alarming issue, but it most certainly is an issue that should be addressed sooner than later. It’s equally as important to visit your dentist twice a year for best hygiene results.

5 Possible Causes of Unexplained Facial Pain

5 causes of facial pain
Are you experiencing a dull, severe, momentary, or persistent pain; perhaps on one side of your face or both?
 
Pain is a regular, though unwelcome reality for everyone. As with any other kind of pain, the first step in treating facial pain is a diagnosis. There are several likely causes of facial pain, including injury, infections, and nerve problems. So, how do you recognize the source of your facial pain? Your Woodland Hills dentists will help you determine potential causes of facial pain.

5 Possible Causes of Facial Pain

 
1. Headaches
 
There are some people who experience headaches a lot, which can lead to intense facial pain associated with a cluster headache or migraine. These headaches typically occur on one side of the face and head, with the pain focused around the eye area. There may also be some pain in the teeth and jaw area. This pain can be managed with painkillers, though it is best to visit a physician for proper diagnosis.
 
2. Dental Abscess
 
An abscessed tooth is one that has been infected so severely that bacteria has reached the blood vessel and nerve portion of the tooth as a result of periodontitis, advanced tooth decay, or a cracked tooth. The symptoms of dental abscess include excruciating and persistent pain, red gums, facial swelling, fever, and a bad taste in the mouth.
 
3. Sinus infections
 
Also referred to as sinusitis, these infections cause extensive facial pain, especially in the upper jaw and teeth. You can also experience some pressure around the cheeks and eyes, facial swelling, bad breath, ear pain, and fever. Pain due to sinusitis is usually confused with tooth pain because it appears at the sinus cavity, which is close to the roots of the upper molar teeth.
 
4. Dry Socket
 
A dry socket occurs when the blood clot after tooth extraction fails to form properly or gets displaced. The symptoms are similar to those of an abscess, and include throbbing pain, fever, swelling, and bad taste in your mouth.
 
5. Temporomandibular joint disorders
 
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) play a vital role in opening and closing your mouth. So, any problem that interferes with the function of the TMJ can result in facial pain. There are many things that can affect your TMJ, including habitual teeth clenching and grinding; misaligned bite; dislocation; injury; and arthritis.
 
Final Note
 
Facial pain can also be caused by Herpes Zoster or Trigeminal Neuralgia. Considering the numerous likely causes of facial pain, it is important that you visit your dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment. The American Dental Association (ADA) states that remedies for facial pain depend on the cause of the pain, and may include wearing a mouth guard, jaw exercises, or medications.
 

Teeth Whitening Myths

teeth whitening mythsWhen it comes to teeth whitening, there seems to be several different approaches to choose from. And of course all of them boast results. However, which ones should you be weary of? We’ll let you know which teeth whitening methods you shouldn’t waste any time or money with, according to Woodland Hills dentists.

Teeth Whitening Myths Debunked

 
Strawberries & Lemons
 
Yes, believe it or not you CAN whiten your teeth by using the pulp of crushed fruits such as strawberries or lemons mixed with baking soda. Yes, this method will work to whiten your teeth because the acids eat away at your enamel, which can cause permanent damage to your teeth if continuously used (we say “continuous” because teeth whitening results do not last forever & you will have to reapply every so often). Because of the issue of permanent damage we recommend avoiding this technique.
 
Baking Soda
 
People believe whitening may be achieved by applying baking soda to your teeth. However, this simply does not work and can disrupt the bacteria in your mouth. We advise against trying this method.
 
Hydrogen Peroxide
 
Hydrogen Peroxide has many uses, but teeth whitening is not one of them. In fact, when hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with gum tissue it causes free radical reactions that will quickly age these tissues so we advise against this option as well.
 
Whitening Toothpaste
 
Any type of whitening toothpaste you see in stores should not be purchased. These toothpastes are too weak to make any significant impact and often leave people very discouraged as a result. Keep in mind that for any color change to occur the active chemical must be applied for at least 20 minutes. Most toothbrush sessions do not even last 2 minutes, which is the recommended amount of time to brush.
 
Teeth Whitening Lasts Forever
 
We’ve seen the rumors float around, that teeth whitening results last forever. Unfortunately this is not the case as the natural aging process will still occur and cause teeth to yellow overtime. As a result, touch ups are necessary to maintain results.
 
The Best Way To Whiten Teeth
 
Currently professional in-office teeth whitening and custom whitening trays remain the quickest and most efficient ways of whitening the teeth without causing much damage to the enamel, teeth, or gums.
 

How Are Dentures Made & What to Expect

dentures woodland hillsDentures are one of the tooth replacement options that may be recommended to you by your dentist following the loss of your teeth due to trauma, periodontal disease, decay, or some other reason. Dentures restore the aesthetics of your smile and function of your mouth, allowing you to socialize, eat, and speak nearly as well as before you lost your teeth, according to Dr. Molayem, a denture dentist in Woodland Hills.
 
As a first-time denture wearers, you must be curious about how these prosthetic teeth are made and how they’ll work. Here are some things to expect before you can start enjoying you new set of teeth:
 
Initial Consultation
When you first visit your dentist, you will receive a thorough examination of your mouth for proper diagnosis, to identify your restorative needs. You will discuss a few things with your dentist, including:
 
● Whether the remaining teeth will be extracted
 
● The type of denture that is right for your case
 
● When to start your treatment
 
You will need some x-rays for proper assessment of the condition of your teeth underneath the gums.
 
Fitting Your Dentures
During subsequent appointments, you should be prepared for the following:
 
Tooth extraction – This step may require more than one appointment depending on the number of teeth being removed.
 
Taking impression of your mouth – Your dentist will take molds of your mouth upon which your dentures will be designed.
 
Using bite molds – Your dentist will use wax blocks to ensure that you have a comfortable bite with your new dentures. You can also customize your smile by choosing the color, shape, and size of your prosthetic teeth.
 
Trying out the wax models – You can try out your wax-made teeth to get a feel of how your final dentures will feel.
 
Fitting – Your personalized dentures will be fitted as you discuss about caring for your new set of teeth. If they don’t fit comfortably, they may need adjusting before you can start wearing them.
 
How long does it take to get new dentures?
Getting your dentures made can take several weeks and multiple separate appointments, from teeth extractions to healing to denture adjustments to ensure that your dentures fit comfortably in your mouth. But right after tooth extraction, you may be fitted with an immediate denture to maintain the function of your mouth before your customized dentures are ready.
 
It will take some time for you to adjust to your new teeth, as your tongue, mouth, and facial muscles gradually adjust to the denture. But soon you will be able to talk, eat, and smile normally.
 
Learn more about Dentures & the process involved as outlined by denture dentists in Woodland Hills, CA.
 

How to Respond to a Dental Emergency

emergency dentist woodland hillsJust as with any other health crisis, a dental emergency usually happens without warning. You may find yourself in sudden need of a dentist due to an accident, neglect of a specific dental issue, or perhaps as a reaction to an earlier dental treatment.
 
Knowing how to respond in different situations will help you lessen the severity of the problem as you wait to see a dental professional, according to emergency dentists in Woodland Hills. First and foremost, in the unfortunate event that you damage or lose a tooth or injure your lips, jaw, or mouth, you should try to stay calm. If the incident occurs during regular office hours, contact your dentist immediately so they are ready to receive you when you arrive. Your dentist will then assess your case and schedule the necessary treatment as soon as possible.
 
If the incident occurs outside regular hours, go to the closest after-hours dental practice near you. If none is available, contact the emergency department in your local hospital for advice on how to proceed.
 
But as you prepare to seek professional diagnosis and treatment, there are some things you can do right after the dental emergency to help the situation. Here are some ways to respond to different dental emergencies:
 
Severe toothache – This could be caused by an abscess that needs immediate treatment. Before you get to the emergency dentist, rinse your mouth with some warm water to manage the pain. Avoid putting aspirin in the damaged tooth as you risk burning the gums.
 
Severe bleeding – This can occur following a previous dental procedure or injury like biting your lip. As you seek emergency treatment, clean the site gently and apply a cold compress.
 
Chipped or cracked tooth – Such tooth damage can lead to an infection, so it is important that you seek emergency treatment. If the damaged tooth section fell out, place it in milk as you await treatment. Otherwise, rinse your mouth with a saline solution and cover the damaged tooth with sugarless gum as you wait for treatment.
 
Partially avulsed tooth – For a tooth that has been moved or dislodged from its right position, try exerting some pressure to move it back in place and seek emergency treatment.
 
Completely avulsed tooth – If the tooth is completely knocked out, make sure that you don’t touch the root to avoid causing irreparable damage. If the tooth fell out, clean it with a milk or saline solution as you hold it by the crown. You can also clean it with plain water, but don’t scrub or brush it. As you await treatment, try to put the tooth back into the socket or in a glass of milk.
 
Keep in mind that most dental practices prioritize dental emergency procedures. Depending on the severity of your case, seeing a dentist within a few minutes of the incident can mean the difference between saving and losing your tooth. So, you should have easy access to your dentist’s emergency contact information at all times.
 

The Effects of Poor Dental Hygiene on the Body

effects dental hygiene bodyYour mouth has a huge impact on your overall health, because of not only the foods, drinks, and other items (such as tobacco) that you put in your mouth, but also the health of your oral tissues, including the teeth and gums as noted by Woodland Hills dentists, Dr. Arash & Shervin Molayem.
 
Numerous studies have linked oral hygiene to a number of serious health problems. Beyond the common dental issues associated with poor dental hygiene, such as tooth decay or cavities, gum disease, and halitosis or bad breath, all of which can adversely affect your social life, harmful bacteria can build up in your mouth and get into your bloodstream.
 
The Effects of Poor Dental Hygiene on the Body
 
When the bacteria in your blood travel to various organs and parts of the body, it can contribute to the severity of health conditions such as:
 
1. Heart disease and stroke.
Studies show that periodontal disease doubles the risk for arterial narrowing and developing heart disease. This is because the bacteria that get into your bloodstream via the gums contain a clot-promoting protein that causes the arteries to clog, making you prone to heart attack. If the bacteria get into your carotid artery and restrict blood flow to the brain, you are at greater risk of suffering a stroke.

2. Respiratory infections.

Studies show that advanced gum disease can cause an infection in your lungs that lead to pneumonia. Though it seems like an unlikely way to get infected, failure to address gum disease at an early stage increases the amount of bacteria that get into your respiratory systems every time you inhale. This is in addition to the contaminated blood passing through and feeding the lungs and other parts of the system.
 
3. Diabetes.
Majority of diabetes patients are known to have periodontal disease as well, one-third of whom have such a severe case that they have lost one or more teeth. Studies show a direct correlation between diabetes and gum disease: people with diabetes are at higher risk of contracting gum disease. At the same time, people with advanced gum disease (periodontitis) find it harder to control their blood sugar, increasing the risk of diabetic complications.
 
4. Dementia.
Studies show a close relation between tooth loss due to improper oral hygiene and increase risk for memory loss and early stage Alzheimer’s disease. In one study, researchers found that gum infections release inflammatory substances that, in turn, cause the brain to swell resulting in the death of brain cells.
 
5. Cancer.
Undoubtedly, poor oral hygiene increases the risk of oral cancer, especially oropharyngeal cancer. Studies also show that gum disease increases the risk of pancreatic cancer and other cancers.
 
Final Note
Poor dental hygiene has also been linked with osteoporosis, immunity system disorders, pregnancy complications, and other health issues. It is critical that you maintain proper dental hygiene, which includes regular brushing and flossing and dental checkups at your Woodland Hills dentists to enjoy the benefits of a healthy mouth, including a better quality of life.
 

What’s the Deal with Coconut Oil Pulling?

coconut oil pullingOil pulling is an age-old detoxifying Ayurvedic technique that uses natural substances to detoxify the mouth – teeth and gums. Evidence suggests that this remedy removes harmful bacteria, improves the health of gums, and naturally whitens your teeth.
 
The technique involves swishing about one to two tablespoons of oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes each day to improve your oral health. The oil effectively cuts through plaque on your teeth to remove toxins without disturbing your teeth or gums. It is essentially substituting your mouthwash with high quality organic oil that “pulls” harmful bacteria off your teeth and gums.
 
The longer you pull and push the oil around your mouth, the more microbes you pull free. It is recommended that you swish the oil until it turns to a milky white, indicating that the bacteria, viruses, and other microbes have been pulled off. This usually takes about 20 minutes, after which you spit out the oil and rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.
 
In many cases, oil pulling has been claimed to help:
 
● Reduce gingivitis
 
● Alleviate halitosis – bad breath
 
● Whiten teeth
 
● Relieve tooth and gum sensitivity
 
● Prevent cavities
 
What oils are used?
To begin with, you should note that most microbes found in the mouth comprise a single cell. Cells are surrounded with a fatty membrane, which is essentially the skin of the cell. When these cells come in contact with oil (fat), they naturally hold on to each other.
 
People use a range of oils for this purpose, including sunflower and sesame oil. However, these oils are high in omega 6 fats, which are pro-inflammatory. So, coconut oil is preferred.
 
About half of the fat in coconut oil consists of lauric acid, which is known to fight bacteria. Studies have shown that coconut oil:
 
● Moisturizes the skin
● Improves digestion
● Balances hormones
● Balances blood sugar
● Improves energy
● Kills Candida
● Decreases wrinkles and age spots
● Burns fat
● Increases HDL and lowers LDL cholesterol
 
In addition, research suggests that the oil is highly absorbable, which means that you can gain these benefits by simply oil pulling.
 
Final Note
Oil therapy is claimed to be both preventative and curative, with numerous benefits that reach far beyond dental health.
 
Note that regular (4-5 times a week) oil pulling is not a substitute for traditional at-home care and dental visits. As good as this 3,000 year old practice may be, it does not reverse the effects of tooth decay & should be used as a supplement.
 

Water is Essential to a Healthy Smile!

water essential oral healthThere is no argument about the numerous benefits of proper hydration for your health, skin, and general wellbeing. Drinking water is also important for your oral health, in combination with regular brushing and flossing, good nutrition, regular dental visits, and good lifestyle habits.

Benefits of Drinking Water for Your Oral Health


 1. Rinses sugars and acids from your mouth.


Acidic and sugary foods promote the growth of harmful bacteria in your mouth and the demineralization of tooth enamel, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars from the items you consume and convert them to lactic acid. The consumption of acidic foods such as tomatoes and citrus further increases the acid content in your mouth.
 
The longer the acids remain in your mouth, the more your tooth enamel is eroded. Drinking water after meals and drinks helps to flush sugars away and dilutes the acids in your mouth to minimize any damage before you have a chance to brush and floss your teeth.

2. Combats dry mouth.


Saliva plays a vital role in your mouth, and when the supply runs low, sipping water can help prevent a dry mouth and maintain some of the functions of saliva, which include:
 
● Balancing the pH level in your mouth by diluting the acids formed in the mouth that may erode tooth enamel causing tooth decay
 
● Washing away food debris in your mouth
 
● Facilitating swallowing of food and drinks
 
● Maintaining strong teeth by washing them with calcium, fluoride, and phosphate
 
● Inhibiting the growth of bacteria that may lead to chronic bad breath or halitosis
 
Drinking water can help reduce some of the risks of diminished saliva secretion as you work on a more permanent solution, or just to augment the functions of saliva.

3. Prevents tooth staining.


There are many foods and drinks that can discolor your teeth, including candy, berries, deep-colored sauces, tea, coffee, and wine. If you don’t rinse your mouth with water after consuming these foods and drinks, you allow them to penetrate your porous tooth enamel and dentin, resulting in stained teeth. Experts recommend that you swish water in your mouth after consuming any food or drink to flush away anything that may cause staining.
 
Lastly, it is worth noting that drinking fluoridated water can help strengthen your teeth and prevent tooth decay. Water fluoridation is regulated by the government as a preventive measure for tooth decay. It is an important accomplishment that has been identified by the US CDC as one of the health achievements of the 20th century. That said, you should discuss with your dentist whether you need to supplement your fluoride intake depending on the state of your teeth.