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13 May 2021
May 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Don’t Eat That: A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Mouth

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case of Family Dental Health shares how diet can positively or negatively affect your oral health.Some foods will help you grow healthy teeth and keep them forever. Some foods will prevent you from growing healthy teeth, or harm the ones you already have. You can grow and maintain strong, healthy teeth by eating a diet that your mouth (and your body) will truly love. But do you know what foods to avoid for a healthy mouth? Family Dental Health would like to share that information with you today!

Diet is Everything

The word “diet” has earned a bad reputation over the years as a verb that means eating less to lose weight, but diet is also a noun and a powerful way you can give yourself the best life possible. Your diet is simply the food you eat, and most of us are trying our best to eat wholesome food with just a few sweet treats here and there. 

Good food sets the stage for a healthy life. Nutrition is vital for growing healthy muscles and bones. And guess what—your teeth are bones, too! Good nutrition helps your body fight infections that cause decay and disease in your mouth and the rest of your body. Not only will a healthy diet help you have more energy, a better attention span, and the strength to enjoy your life, but it also promotes good oral health, too. Dairy, meat, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables can all support healthy teeth and gums. But what should you avoid?

Foods that Promote Decay

Some of the foods and beverages that cause the most tooth decay:

  • Sugary sodas and juice
  • Sugary cocktails and coffees
  • Sugary sweets like candy and baked goods
  • Processed food lacking important nutrients (protein, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamins A, B, C, and D)

Foods that Damage Tooth Enamel 

The hard, white surface of your teeth is your enamel. Enamel protects the nerves at the core of your tooth and helps your teeth stay strong and healthy. Some foods really hurt the surfaces of your teeth by causing dangerous buildup, or by putting too much force on the enamel and damaging it. Some foods that can damage your enamel include:

  • Popcorn kernels
  • Ice
  • Coffee and tea with added sugar
  • Citrus (lemon juice)
  • Alcohol (which causes dry mouth) 
  • Sugary juice, soda, sports drinks, and cocktails
  • Sticky, chewy or hard candy 
  • Dried fruit

It’s probably not surprising that sugar makes the “bad list” in both categories. You don’t have to avoid sugar completely, but it’s probably best to pick your favorite treat and just stick with that in moderation.

Love Your Mouth

If you eat a healthy diet and practice good oral hygiene, your teeth will love and serve you forever. By brushing and flossing every day and visiting the dentist for a checkup and cleaning twice a year, you can best avoid tooth decay and damage. 

Make an appointment with Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health to give your smile a fighting chance with a healthy diet and regular dental care.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Apr 2021
April 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Oral Anatomy 101

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health shares all about the anatomy of your mouth and how it works together for your benefit.Welcome to your mouth! A healthy mouth is necessary for a healthy life. You might be surprised how many different parts work together to make your mouth function. Read more below from Dr. David Case in Portland to get an in-depth look at the human mouth and how it works.

Teeth

The look and function of your teeth make your first impression and impact your daily life and confidence.  You’d also be lost (and very hungry) without these shining beauties. Adults have 32 teeth and babies have 20. The four different kinds of teeth you have are:

  • Incisors in the front that bite and cut tough food like meat
  • Canines tear food, like a big piece of bread off the loaf
  • Premolars tear and crush food like salad greens
  • Molars grind everything down small enough for you to swallow and digest

The white, visible part of your tooth is called the crown and the invisible part under your gums is called the root. Teeth have three layers, and all three are very important:

  • Enamel is the outer layer that is the chewing surface and protects the layers below.
  • Dentin is the next layer of hard tissue, fed by blood from the pulp.
  • Pulp is the core of the tooth made of soft nerve tissue and blood vessels.

If tooth decay breaks down your enamel enough to reach the dentin and pulp, your tooth can die.

Gums

Also called gingivae, gums are the soft tissue that covers the roots of your teeth and jawbone. Healthy gums are pink and help keep your teeth in place. Unhealthy gums may tend to bleed, appear discolored, and feel extremely sensitive. Healthy gums ensure healthy teeth and a healthy body overall.

Tongue

You rely on this muscle to help you enjoy your food! Mostly known for hosting all of your taste buds, the tongue takes up the most space in your mouth and is also important for healthy chewing, swallowing, speaking, and cleaning the mouth.

Uvula

We couldn’t forget this odd little guy. The uvula is that bell-shaped bit of tissue that hangs just above your throat – the “hangy ball” if you will. Scientists do not fully understand the uvula, but it is thought to help food move down your throat and assist with saliva production.

What about the rest? 

Of course, the inside of your mouth is completely supported by the muscles and bones around it. Your jawbone, cheeks, and lips support your mouth to make chewing and speaking possible. Those bones and muscles are connected to the rest of your face, head, and neck in a complex system of tendons and nerves in your jaw joint, known as the temporomandibular joint or TMJ.

Your mouth is truly a wonderful machine and it is worth the time and attention to keep all parts in working order.

To take care of your mouth and all its parts, make an appointment with Dr. David Case in Portland at Family Dental Health today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Apr 2021
April 13, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Do I Have Herpes? Cold Sores 101

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health tells patients about cold sores – what they are, why they happen, and how to treat them.Cold sore. Fever blister. Herpes Simplex Virus-1. These babies go by a lot of different names, but the experience is always the same:

  • Telltale burning or itching near the lip
  • A red bump appears a day or so later
  • The bump becomes a cluster of blisters
  • The blisters dry up and scab over
  • The scab falls off
  • The whole process usually takes two weeks or less. 

Infamous for irritating pain and ruining first dates everywhere, cold sores sure wreak a lot of havoc for something so small. 

A cold sore is a symptom of the herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) in your system. HSV-1 is so common that most people are exposed to it in childhood. Many people can have and spread the virus without ever actually having a cold sore. 

Catching & Spreading a Cold Sore

Sadly, once you catch HSV-1, there is no permanent cure. Thankfully, it won’t do much harm. If you have HSV-1, you might occasionally experience cold sores with long periods between each outbreak. This is because HSV-1 has the habit of “sleeping” or being inactive for bouts of time before circumstances cause it to flare up.

If you get cold sores, anything that compromises your immune system will make you susceptible to an outbreak. This includes drinking too much alcohol, stress, lack of sleep, or being sick. Even overexposure to the sun can cause a cold sore flare.

HSV-1 is related to the same virus that causes the herpes STD: HSV-2. Both viruses can be passed via bodily fluids, but HSV-1 cold sores usually only appear around the mouth.  

HSV-1 is extremely contagious and can be spread even without a visible cold sore. Washing hands and a large personal bubble are important to prevent spreading or catching cold sores. Don’t share cups, utensils, lip balm, or razors if you or someone you know has a cold sore.

Don’t worry about catching cold sores from the dentist. All rooms and equipment are thoroughly sanitized between each patient.

Cold Sores vs. Canker Sores

If you have a mouth sore, you might be wondering if it’s a cold sore or a canker sore (which is not contagious). There are two main ways you can tell the difference between the two: location and appearance.

Cold sores are mostly outside the mouth on the lips or nose, and canker sores are mostly inside the mouth. Cold sores are usually a group of red blisters. Canker sores are round, open sores with a yellow or gray center.

Cold sores might also cause fever, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes.

Treating Cold Sores

Skin creams and gels can help ease the pain of cold sores and make them go away faster. Talk with your dentist and doctor if you want help fighting the effects of a cold sore. Long-term treatment may also help reduce the frequency and severity of your outbreaks.

Dr. David Case, your Portland dentist is taking new patients and would love to help you love your smile! Make an appointment with us today if you have questions about cold sores or any other oral health issue. 

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Mar 2021
March 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Bacteria: The Good, the Bad & the Neutral

Portland dentist, Dr. David Case at Family Dental Health shares all about oral bacteria and its role in your mouth and body.Living in a land of antibacterial gels, soaps, plastics, and even fabrics, it might surprise you to hear that tons of bacteria live in your mouth every day, and they aren’t all bad! In fact, some play an important role in keeping up your overall health. 

Some oral bacteria, however, can cause serious problems and must be fought with good oral hygiene. Dr. David Case from Family Dental Health in Portland would like to help you understand the role bacteria play in your health and wellness.

What are Bacteria?

Bacteria are very small organisms made of just one single cell. That’s compared to over 37 trillion cells in the human body! Bacteria have their own DNA and they need sources of energy (food) just like you do. Nearly 700 different kinds of bacteria can live in your mouth, but most people only have 34-72 types present at any given time.

What Do Bacteria Do?

Of all the bacteria in your mouth, some are good, some are bad, and some simply neutral. The good bacteria – called probiotics – assist with digestion, which begins in the mouth.  The bad bacteria, however, can cause tooth decay and severe gum disease. The following three kinds of bacteria are on the Most Wanted list for being known to harm your oral health: 

  • Streptococcus mutans are bacteria most often blamed for tooth decay. These bacteria feed off any sugar left in your mouth after eating. As they feed, they produce acid that breaks down your tooth layer by layer.
  • T. denticola and P. gingivalis are the biggest offenders causing gum disease or periodontal disease. These bacteria produce toxins that harm your gum tissue. Your body’s natural response is to create inflammation to fight the toxins. But long-term chronic inflammation is bad for your mouth and body and can even cause tooth loss.

The Oral-Systemic Link: “The foot bone’s connected to the…leg bone!”

Remember the simple lesson we learned when we were kids, that every part of your body is connected to another part? If you’re unhealthy in any area of your life, another area will become unhealthy too. This is especially true when it comes to your mouth. 

The health of your teeth, gums, and jaw are a good indication of the health everywhere else in your body. Your mouth is a major entry point into your body through both digestion and your bloodstream. Harmful bacteria can infect other parts of your body by traveling through your gut or entering the blood vessels in your gums. 

Heart health and diabetes are the most well-known connections between oral health and overall health, but research is growing and expanding every day. All of these connections, or, links, form the oral-systemic link. Dentists, doctors, and researchers work together to understand the oral-systemic link and how we can use it to promote better health in all areas of your life. 

A recent study showed “significant associations” between the antibodies of certain oral bacteria with pancreatic cancer! Antibodies are your body’s way of fending off harmful substances. If your mouth has a lot of antibodies for a certain kind of bacteria, it could mean your body is fighting illness—both in your mouth and in other parts of your body. This is amazing news because pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect and fight. By harnessing the power of the oral-systemic link, you can get far ahead of severe health problems before they even start. 

In 1880, W.D. Miller said, “Oral bacteria can explain most, if not all, of the illnesses of mankind.” Ahead of your time, much, Mr. Miller?

Good oral hygiene—brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly—is important for keeping the bad bacteria at bay. If you’d like to learn more about how a healthy mouth promotes a healthy, happy life, make an appointment with us today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

27 Jan 2021
January 27, 2021 by David CaseBlogDental Health

The Tooth About Teeth Grinding

Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health, discusses teeth grinding, headaches, and bruxism, suggesting nightguards as a solution.Headaches in Portland are a dime a dozen. We all know the frustration of having your day interrupted by throbbing, shooting pains in the head. If you suffer from frequent headaches that never seem to go away, Dr. Case would like you to know about bruxism, or teeth grinding. 

At Family Dental Health, we love spreading the news about all things dental health, so here is some headache information that just might change your life.

Bruxism & Headaches

You may not be aware of it, but everyone clenches and grinds their teeth at some point and to some degree. It’s a natural reaction to stress. During the day, you might catch yourself doing it and make a conscious effort to stop, but during the night, you are unaware of it and will naturally grind much harder. Unfortunately, some people in Portland have such problems with bruxism that they may experience:

  • Frequent, painful headaches
  • Damaged, worn-down teeth and surrounding tissues
  • TMJ/TMD

According to Dr. Noshir Mehta, chairman of general dentistry at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and director of its Craniofacial Pain Center, the upper and lower teeth come into contact for as much as 40 minutes of each hour. The force exerted on some teeth, such as the first molars, can be about 250 lbs, as opposed to the 20-40 lbs involved in regular daily chewing. 

If you grind your teeth and have frequent headaches, don’t panic. Bruxism is easily treatable with custom-fit nightguards that Portland will personally fit for your teeth. To find out more about how we can make your headaches disappear, contact Family Dental Health today.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Dec 2020
December 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Do You Have TMJ? You Might Have Sleep Apnea

Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health explains how TMJ and sleep apnea are related, how they affect your health and your treatment options.Your jawbone (the mandible) meets your skull bone (the temporal bone) at the temporomandibular joint or TMJ. On a good day, this joint allows your mouth to open and close, to speak and eat or rest. On a bad day, you can develop pain and dysfunction in the TMJ that affects many areas of your life and health. Portland dentist Dr. Case explains more below about how problems with your TMJ are connected to problems with sleep.

TMJ Disorders
If you have a recurring problem with your temporomandibular joint, it’s called temporomandibular disorder (or TMD, although TMD and TMJ are often used interchangeably). The National Institutes of Health estimates that 10 million people have TMD, though the cases are usually mild. 

TMD frequently includes pain, clicking or popping, and tight, sore facial muscles. TMD can be caused by genetics, arthritis, or jaw injuries. Sometimes it’s hard to diagnose what’s exactly causing the problem because stress and jaw problems can turn into a painful, self-perpetuating cycle.

Clenching and grinding your teeth may be chronic or stress-induced habits that make TMJ pain worse. You may also notice that pain from TMD can spread into your face, neck, head, and shoulders. Many TMD sufferers suffer from chronic headaches and migraines.

TMD & Sleep Apnea

One study found that 43% of people with TMD also have problems sleeping. So what’s the link between TMD and sleep apnea? When the airway collapses as it does with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the body’s automatic response is to push the lower jaw forward to open up the airway. This constant motion of the TMJ throughout the night can cause a lot of stress and tension in the jaw joint and is the primary reason TMD and sleep apnea go hand-in-hand.

TMD is also known to be linked with chronic fatigue syndrome which can exacerbate sleep apnea and impact your overall health.  It could also be the physical position or misalignment of your jaw (malocclusion) that prevents the airway from staying open while you sleep. When you think about how connected your airway is to the position of your jaw, the connection between sleep apnea and TMD becomes very clear.

Improving TMJ & Your Sleep

Sometimes TMD goes away on its own, but you don’t have to live with the pain and difficulty of TMD. Because good sleep is so important for every other part of your health, it’s a good idea to take care of yourself and get better rest at night.

Possible treatments for TMD include:

  • Oral splints and mouthguards
  • Medication such as muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatories
  • Surgery for severe cases
  • Corticosteroid injections to relieve pain
  • Botox® injections to relax muscles
  • Counseling to decrease the stress that causes clenching and grinding 
  • At-home gentle massage and stretching exercises
  • TruDenta® therapy

Sleep apnea will not go away on its own and can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. Sleep apnea increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and many other serious diseases, and can even be deadly.

Possible treatments for sleep apnea include:

  • Oral appliance therapy
  • CPAP machine
  • Surgery for severe cases

If you have any sleep issues or develop pain in your jaw, you should see Dr. Case immediately to begin looking for answers. 

Life is no fun if you’re sick, tired, and in pain! Make an appointment today at Family Dental Health in Portland to take the first step toward a healthier you and a better quality of life.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Dec 2020
December 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Baby Dentistry: Teething & Other Joys

Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health shares all you need to know about baby dentistry and early pediatric dental care—teething tips, hygiene and more!It’s easy to think that baby teeth aren’t that important. They make their grand entrance (however painfully) and leave your baby’s mouth soon thereafter. But your baby’s oral health is very important, both in the present and to set the stage for a lifetime of health. Today Family Dental Health would like to talk about those tiny teeth and how to care for them. 

Teething Facts

  1. Teething begins anywhere from 3-9 months and can continue until your child is 3 years old. Every baby is different.
  2. Teeth emerge in a consistent pattern: lower 2 front incisors; upper 2 front incisors and 2 additional lower incisors; first set of molars; canines; then second molars. 
  3. One reason we get baby teeth is that our baby mouths aren’t big enough for the size and number of adult teeth we need later in life.
  4. Babies have 20 teeth that fall out. They are then replaced by 32 adult teeth. 
  5. Chewing on a cold, wet washcloth, extra snuggles, and a little pain-relieving medicine are certain to help ease the pain of teething.
  6. Contrary to popular belief, teething is not proven to cause sickness like diarrhea, fever, or a runny nose.
  7. Children should see the dentist as soon as their first baby teeth start coming in.

Taking Care of Baby Teeth

  • Breastfeeding: According to a recent study, babies that exclusively breastfed for at least six months have a 72% less chance of developing an improper bite. Breastfeeding also reduces your child’s risk of baby bottle tooth decay and cavities.
  • Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: Overexposure to sugar in the liquids your baby drinks can cause early tooth decay, which is when the important, hard enamel cover of your teeth breaks down. Enamel never grows back, so it’s very important to protect. Avoid baby tooth decay by only using either formula or breast milk in your child’s bottle, not putting honey or sugar on their pacifiers, and not letting them fall asleep drinking from the bottle.
  • Cleaning: “Welcome to earth! Now, let me wash your gums.” It may seem silly, but you’re actually supposed to wash your baby’s gums from the first day they are born. Use a clean washcloth and water, and maintain the habit as all the baby teeth start coming in. Once a tooth erupts, you can use a grain of rice size amount of fluoridated toothpaste. After age 3 you can use a pea-size amount of toothpaste.
  • Thumbs and Pacifiers:  Discuss thumb sucking and pacifier use with Dr. Case. Usually, both are fine until babies become little children. However, they can increase your child’s risk of tooth decay, jaw misalignment, and an improper bite. Consider weaning off either of these habits depending on what your dentist recommends.
  • Insurance for Pediatric Dental Care: Most states cover dental visits for children on governmental support. And most dental offices have flexible payment plans to help everyone prioritize oral health for the whole family. Don’t let finances hold you back from keeping your baby as healthy as possible—feel free to reach out to us, we’re happy to help.

Once your baby’s first tooth has emerged, it’s very important to begin a regular dental care routine. Contact Family Dental Health today to make an appointment. We’d love to see your little bundle of joy smile!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Nov 2020
November 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental Health

Don’t Have a Stroke – Your Dentist Can Help

Portland dentist Dr. Case of Family Dental Health explains the connection between oral wellness and stroke, and how you can increase your protection.You might be surprised to hear that the state of your oral health has a lot to do with preventing a stroke. There’s a certain kind of bad oral bacteria that cause gum disease, travel to other parts of your body, and cause harm.

A stroke is a common but dangerous medical condition that causes a lack of blood in the brain. The effects of a stroke can be long-term and life-changing. People of any age can experience a stroke, but it’s most common in adults 40 years and older. 

 

Oral Wellness
The Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention Center lists favorable oral health among its top five factors that prevent stroke, and a growing number of studies are finding the link between certain kinds of oral bacteria and the harm they cause to your brain. For example, these bacteria can travel into your head through your bloodstream, causing brain bleeding and dementia. This sounds scary—and it certainly can be. But with good, simple oral hygiene, you can take care of your mouth and prevent a lot of other overall health issues. There are also a number of companies that provide testing for these bacteria using saliva samples.

Gum disease is incredibly common and can range anywhere from slightly tender and red gums to a mouth full of discolored, receding gums. Adults over 30 years old have a 50/50 chance of developing gum disease. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept it or live with the consequences. 

You can prevent gum disease (and many other oral and systemic health problems) by:

 

The Stroke Connection

Not all oral bacteria are bad-in fact, some are necessary for digestion and immunity-but research continues to prove some bacteria are especially harmful. Cardiovascular disease is just one condition that can be deeply affected by your oral health. Others include mental health, diabetes, pregnancy, and arthritis. There are three main links between “bad” oral bacteria and heart health:

  • Cholesterol: gum disease increases your risk of developing bad cholesterol (LDL) and its buildup in blood arteries.
  • Chemicals: oral bacteria can cause your blood artery walls to become thin and more vulnerable to cholesterol.
  • Stickiness: oral bacteria can cause your blood artery walls to become very sticky, which attracts more plaque and cholesterol buildup.

You can see how each of these three circumstances has the potential to put your health at risk, especially in combination; they can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).  When this kind of buildup happens in your brain, blood flow slows or stops.  The brain becomes starved of blood, causing a stroke.  Brain cells without blood can die within minutes and prove fatal – or cause lifelong health problems to stroke survivors. 

The good news is that science is getting better at finding the dangerous bacteria that cause these problems. If you have signs or a diagnosis of gum disease, ask your doctor about your risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

 

Your Dentist is Your Partner

Dentists are medical professionals who can do a lot to save your health and even your life. If you have any concerns about your oral health, Dr. Case in Portland can answer your questions and help you start taking better care of your overall wellness. Make an appointment at Family Dental Health today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

27 Sep 2020
September 27, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Dry Mouth: Nothing to Spit At

Dry Mouth: nothing to spit atCan you imagine a 2-liter bottle of your favorite soda? Now imagine that same bottle filled with spit. That’s approximately how much saliva the average adult produces in their mouth every day! It may be gross, but it’s definitely important. Saliva is a normal body fluid that’s crucial for oral health and overall wellness. 

If you struggle to make enough saliva, your mouth will feel very dry and you will have trouble with daily activities like speaking, eating, and swallowing. This condition is commonly known as dry mouth, but the clinical name is xerostomia. A chronically dry mouth is uncomfortable and unhealthy. 

You have three salivary glands in different parts of your jaw that make and secrete saliva. Saliva is mostly made of water, but it also contains important molecules called enzymes that help keep your mouth clean and fight infection.

Dry mouth is common and can usually be fixed with the help of your Portland dentist and primary care doctor. Dr. Case shares more below about what causes dry mouth and how to treat it.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

When your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva, there’s not enough moisture in your mouth and it becomes overly dry. Dry mouth can be a random side effect of prescription medicine or a sign that there’s something actually wrong with your salivary glands. 

Common causes of dry mouth are:

  • Prescription medication
  • Nerve damage in your mouth from an impact or injury
  • Smoking
  • Chemotherapy and radiation 
  • Extreme dehydration
  • Other health conditions 

It’s important to talk with your primary care provider to determine what exactly is causing your dry mouth. Your body is a complex machine with many interconnected parts that all work together to keep you healthy.

What Are the Side Effects of Dry Mouth?

The importance of saliva goes beyond just your mouth. The water and enzymes in saliva are necessary for good breathing, digestion, immunity, and oral health. 

Common side effects of dry mouth include:

  • Dry (scratchy, painful) nasal passages and throat
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Increased risk of infection in the mouth
  • Increased risk of tooth decay
  • Bad breath
  • Trouble tasting food

How Do I Treat Dry Mouth?

Talk with your doctor to figure out what’s causing your dry mouth. There are prescription and over-the-counter medicines and mouth rinses that might be able to ease your symptoms.

If you have dry mouth, it’s very important you maintain good oral hygiene to protect yourself against tooth decay and gum disease. Talk with your dentist about prescription fluoride or more regular cleanings to keep your mouth clean and healthy.

Some easy ways to keep yourself comfortable with dry mouth include:

  • Drink more water
  • Chew sugar-free gum (with xylitol) to help produce saliva and keep your teeth clean
  • Breathe out of your nose instead of your mouth
  • Use a humidifier at home
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink caffeinated beverages
  • Don’t take antihistamines or decongestants

If you have concerns about dry mouth or any other oral health questions, we’d love to be your partner in health. Make an appointment with your Portland dentist, Dr. Case at Family Dental Health today and we will see you soon!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

13 Aug 2020
August 13, 2020 by David CaseBlogDental HealthPatient Care

Sugar: Teeth’s Worst Nightmare

What sugar does to your teethPeople in the United States eat more sugar than any other country in the world. (Fortunately, we also have some of the best dentists in the world.) You hear it all the time: “sugar rots your teeth.” But is it true? What exactly does sugar do to your teeth and why is it so bad? You might want to learn more about this substance that is added to nearly every edible item in the grocery store. Portland, Oregon dentist Dr. Case tells us more below.

Sugar 101

All food causes some buildup on your teeth. After eating and drinking, little bits of food are left behind in your mouth. Out of all the food we eat, sugar does the worst damage to your teeth.

Even healthy foods like milk, bread, and produce contain some natural sugar, but these foods also contain necessary vitamins and nutrients. Eaten in healthy amounts, your body has no problem breaking down the natural sugars with the other food bits on your teeth.

The problems begin when you eat food that has more sugar than nutritional value. Without proper nutrition, your body may be unable to fight the bacteria and decay excessive sugar consumption causes in your mouth.

Sugar is sneaky: it’s in almost everything! Read your regular grocery labels carefully just to estimate your actual sugar consumption levels. This is not an all-inclusive list, but here are some examples of these common and misleading names for sugar that are added where you least expect it:

  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Barley malt
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Rice syrup

The American Heart Association recommends you have no more than 9.5 teaspoons of sugar per day. However, in the U.S. the average adult consumes 22 teaspoons and the average child consumes 32 teaspoons…every single day!

Plaque 

Why is sugar so bad for your teeth? Because it causes plaque buildup and tooth decay.

Certain bacteria are normal and fine in your mouth. But sugar left on your teeth attracts bad bacteria that create plaque, which breaks down your teeth. Think of how the wind sweeps away bits of sand off a dune little by little, until eventually there is no dune left. That’s what plaque does to your teeth. It causes an acidic reaction that weakens enamel, your tooth’s outer layer.

Snacking all day means your teeth are exposed to food buildup, bacteria, and plaque over an extended period of time. Drinking sugary beverages is especially harmful because that liquid gets into all the grooves and hard-to-reach parts of your mouth. The average American consumes 53 gallons of soft drinks per year – do you see where this is going?

Decay

When plaque ruins your enamel, you get a hole in your tooth called a cavity. The hole allows more bacteria and plaque to move deeper into the inside of your tooth. This is known as tooth decay. Your enamel is the shiny white surface of your teeth and its purpose is to protect the inner layers of each tooth. Each individual tooth has a blood source and a nerve keeping that tooth alive. If decay reaches to the inner layers, your tooth may die and fall out. And all of that can happen much more quickly than you realize.

Next Steps

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children, and many adults struggle with it as well. The good news is that tooth decay is preventable with healthy eating habits and proper oral hygiene. Here are some tips if you want to protect your teeth from the negative effects of sugar:

  • Don’t snack all day
  • Avoid sugar in any beverage
  • Enjoy sweets in moderation
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste
  • Try natural forms of licorice and cinnamon which taste sweet without any sugar
  • Beware of sugar alternatives (those little yellow, blue, and pink packets) that can still have negative effects on your health
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once

Last but not least, contact Portland dentist Family Dental Health today to make an appointment and be sure to get your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year by our amazing hygienists.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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