What is Dry Mouth, and How Can It Be Prevented?

Everyone has experienced the feeling that their mouth is too dry. It happens when you're outside too long without a drink on a hot day, or when you have a cold that leaves you breathing out of your mouth instead of your nose. Usually, the sensation is temporary, easily alleviated when you get a drink or when the cold goes away. But for some people, the problem is longer-lasting and more difficult to resolve. The following is some information about dry mouth causes, complications, and how you can prevent this condition.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth can be a bigger problem than you think.
Feeling parched? Dry mouth can be a bigger problem than you think.

Dry mouth can be caused by any number of things, including certain medications. This is especially true of inhaled medications, such as asthma inhalers However, painkillers, decongestants, and depression medications can also cause dry mouth.

Dry mouth can also be a sign of a medical condition. Diabetes, depression, Parkinson's disease, and certain autoimmune disorders are often accompanied by dry mouth. If you're a smoker, you may also experience dry mouth frequently. Simple dehydration can also be a common cause for dry mouth.

What Problems Can Dry Mouth Cause?

No matter what is causing your dry mouth, it's important to find a way to address the issue. Occasional dry mouth may be just an aggravation, but if it's become a common occurrence for you, it can be a lot more than a simple annoyance.

Frequent dry mouth puts you at risk of tooth decay and gum disease. The saliva in your mouth serves a purpose -- it's constantly washing away bacteria and food particles that can lead to disease and decay. If you don't have enough saliva in your mouth, then you're more likely to develop cavities or infections. If you suffer from dry mouth, you're also more likely to experience sore throats and a hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing or chewing, and even fungal mouth infections, like thrush.

How to Prevent Dry Mouth

Staying hydrated is an important part of preventing dry mouth.
Staying hydrated is an important part of preventing dry mouth.

Dry mouth may be more serious than you first thought, but it's also often preventable. One of the most important things that you can do is increase your water intake. Dehydration can cause or exacerbate all kinds of medical conditions, so swapping your soda or coffee for water can improve your health in all kinds of ways, while ensuring that you have the necessary hydration to create enough saliva.

You can also try chewing sugarless gum or mints that are sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol stimulates saliva production and won't increase your risk of cavities. It's also a good idea to talk to your doctor if you're experiencing frequent dry mouth. Your doctor may be able to change your medications, if one of them is causing your dry mouth. They may also recommend a product that will help increase saliva production in your mouth.

Your dentist is a great source of information about preventing and alleviating dry mouth. To make an appointment, contact us today.

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Hypertension and Oral Health

Hypertension and oral healthDid you know that one in four people suffer from hypertension (also referred to as high blood pressure)? Many don't realize it, and dentists who check a patient's blood pressure in their practices are often the first screening some people have for hypertension. 

What Is Hypertension? 
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition in which the force of blood flow puts increased pressure on blood vessel walls, and as a result can damage healthy arteries. This artery damage can lead to strokes, heart disease, or hemorrhage. Healthy blood pressure averages around 120/80 and any reading consistently above this should be checked by your physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment if needed. 

High blood pressure is most common in those with a family history of hypertension, heart disease or diabetes, those who smoke, those who are overweight, and those who are not physically active. African Americans, people over the age of 55, and those who drink excessively or whose dietary needs are not being met are also at risk for hypertension.

Medication at your Dental Appointment 
If you have already been diagnosed with hypertension, it's important to let your dentist know about it along with any medication you may be taking to treat the condition. The best time of day to schedule your dental appointments is generally in the afternoon. Because stress can cause a rise in blood pressure, try the tips below to ensure a successful dental appointment.

  • Be sure to get a good night’s rest the night before as well as taking any pre-medication needed for your appointment.
  • Avoid caffeine before your appointment and eat a regular well-balanced meal.
  • Don’t rush to arrive, allow the time you need to get to your appointment.
  • Remind your dentist about your hypertension, and if stress is an issue for you, ask your dentist about the use of a sedative or nitrous oxide to keep your blood pressure down while you visit.

2017 Dental Insurance Benefits

Gentech Dentist offers tea in all six of our offices.Have you been waiting to get your dental work done because you reached the max on your dental insurance benefits in 2016? Now is the time to make an appointment to get this work completed in 2017! Call or click to schedule today at one of our six convenient locations:

Clackamas | Beaverton | Macadam | Hillsboro  East Vancouver | Salmon Creek

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Happy New Year!

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A Little Toothbrush History

The history of the toothbrush.

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Happy Holidays from Gentech Dentist

How Does Pregnancy Affect Dental Health?

If you have an older friend or relative, you may have heard the expression, "have a baby, lose a tooth." This old wives' tale suggests that every pregnancy is hard enough on the mother's dental health that they can expect to lose at least one tooth. You also may have heard that the developing baby pulls calcium from the mother's teeth, causing dental problems. Both of these are just myths, but there are dental issues that can occur during pregnancy that you need to be aware of. Take a look at how pregnancy affects your teeth, and how you should adapt your dental care habits to account for these effects.

Pregnancy doesn't have to harm your smile.
Pregnancy doesn't have to harm your smile.

Tooth Erosion

Often, one of the first symptoms of pregnancy that women experience is morning sickness. In addition to the general unpleasantness of frequent nausea and vomiting, this pregnancy symptom can be pretty hard on your teeth. The acids that come up from your stomach when you vomit can actually erode the enamel on your teeth, and if you suffer from excessive morning sickness, this can become a real problem.

You can help prevent erosion by not brushing your teeth immediately after you're done vomiting. While this may sound counter-intuitive, brushing right away can spread the acid around on your teeth, worsening the problem. Instead, rinse your mouth out with a solution of baking soda and water. This reduces the pH levels in your mouth, so that there's less acid. Then you can brush your teeth safely.

Lack of Saliva

Some women experience dry mouth during pregnancy. This lack of saliva is more than just a mere annoyance. Saliva helps clean away food particles and bacteria that cause cavities, and if you don't have enough saliva, the bacteria is free to grow and spread and cause decay.

You may need to make an extra effort to stay hydrated while you're pregnant. Drink lots of water and other liquids. Chewing sugar free gum sweetened with xylitol can not only help you keep your mouth moist, the xylitol also helps to prevent cavities from forming.

Gum Disease

Be sure to visit your dentist during your pregnancy.
Don't hesitate to visit your dentist while pregnant.

Far and away, the most widespread dental problem that occurs during pregnancy is gum disease. Pregnancy gingivitis is a problem that affects most pregnant women to some degree or another. You may notice that your gums become red, inflamed, or sensitive. In some cases, they may even bleed when you brush your teeth.

The effects of pregnancy gingivitis can be minimized and controlled by practicing good oral hygiene. Brush at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, and use an antimicrobial mouthwash. It's also a good idea to see your dentist to have the health of your gums checked early on in your pregnancy. If you already have a mild form of gingivitis, as many Americans do, pregnancy gingivitis will be that much worse. It's perfectly safe to see your dentist for checkups and routine cleanings, as well as other dental needs, during your pregnancy. You should check with your OB if you need any dental procedures requiring anesthesia, but most dental procedures are safe for pregnant women.

Maintaining your dental health during pregnancy is good for your overall health and good for the health of your baby. If you're expecting, don't hesitate to schedule an appointment.

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Happy Friday! Don't Forget to Floss!

Gentech Dentist says you miss cleaning 35% of your teeth if you don't floss!

Studies Shows that a Root Canal May Reduce Your Risk for Heart Disease

If you've ever had a painful tooth infection, you know that there's no pain quite like tooth pain. By comparison, a root tip infection, something that's often symptomless, may sound like a minor problem. However, the effects of a root tip infection, whether or not it's accompanied by symptoms, can be pretty severe. What's more, the negative effects from this kind of infection can impact more than just your mouth. Researchers say that these root tip infections can increase your risk for heart disease.

What Is A Root Tip Infection?

Oral infections can have adverse effects on your heart.
Could infections in your teeth be hurting your heart?

A root tip infection is one that occurs inside the dental pulp, which is the material inside of the tooth. These are caused most often by cavities. When bacteria break down the tooth enamel, resulting in cavities, the bacteria that damaged the enamel in the first place now have a route deeper into the tooth. This can lead them into the dental pulp. The resulting infection triggers an immune response that causes inflammation.

A high level of inflammation can lead to symptoms of infection -- the inflamed tissues can stimulate nerves and cause pain. But many of these infections cause only symptomless low-grade inflammation. This is still a problem, because the inflammation caused by the immune response not only occurs in your mouth, it can also occur in other places in your body, including around your heart.

How Is A Root Tip Infection Diagnosed and Treated?

Regular dental checkups are necessary for catching symptomless problems.
Unless you have symptoms, your root tip infection will probably be diagnosed by an X-ray during a preventive dentistry checkup.

Root tip infections can be diagnosed by your dentist with an X-ray. If you have symptoms of infection, like pain, swelling or fever, your dentist will know that a root tip infection is possible and will be looking for it. However, symptomless root tip infections are often diagnosed only when a routine X-ray picks up the infection by chance. This is one reason why regular dental check-ups are so important -- the sooner an infection is noticed and treated, the better.

Your dentist will probably prescribe antibiotics, but in many cases, they'll also want to do a root canal when the pulp is infected. A root canal involves removing the dental pulp entirely. This will remove the infection and also prevent future infections in that tooth. Researchers say that patients who have untreated root tip infections are 2.7 times more likely to have acute coronary syndrome than patients who do not have untreated infections. A root canal may potentially be the best thing you can do for your heart as well as for your mouth.

Prevent root tip infections by making sure that you're doing everything you can to prevent cavities: frequent brushing and flossing, moderation when it comes to sugary or acidic foods that can harm your tooth enamel, and most importantly, regular visits to your dentist so that you can have the health of your mouth assessed. If you're overdue for a visit to the dentist, contact us today or schedule your appointment below.

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The Top Benefits of a Smile Makeover from Gentech

When you meet someone for the first time, your smile is the thing that most people notice first, and your smile is what they remember best later.

Get That Promotion

Smile makeovers can lead to improved confidence in your social life, as well as your business world.

A big smile tells the world that you're confident, positive, and outgoing -- three qualities that are highly attractive to employers. If you're afraid to flash a big smile because you're embarrassed about teeth that are crooked, chipped, or stained, you may appear nervous, negative, timid or unfriendly. When you're headed into the boss' office to ask for a promotion or a raise, or when you're interviewing for your dream job, how do you want them to see you? Of course, you want them to see the confident worker who is positive about their job and easy to get along with.

A smile makeover can remove your fears of flashing a big smile that could help you climb to the next step on your workplace ladder. The makeover may combine several procedures to improve problems that are holding you back from smiling as widely as you should be. For example, if you have stained and chipped teeth, your makeover might include tooth whitening and crowns.

Impress Your Next Date

Meeting people can be hard when you're single and busy with life. It becomes even harder if you avoid talking to or smiling at new people because you don't want them to see your teeth. And if you're going out with someone new, hiding your smile can really turn off your date.

Invisible braces to fix your crooked teeth and re-contouring to improve the appearance of gums can give you the confidence you need to smile at and introduce yourself to new people -- and you'll be able to impress your next date with your dazzling smile. You may be surprised at just how much a smile makeover can improve your social life.

Feel Better

A smile makeover at Gentech Dentist can help you not only look more confident, but feel better overall.
The visible change isn't the only change -- you'll look better and feel better too.

While a smile makeover usually includes several cosmetic dentistry procedures, most of them aren't only cosmetic. Crooked teeth, for example, can lead to bite problems, jaw pain, headaches and neck pain. If you have missing teeth that haven't been replaced, your formerly straight teeth may begin to slide into the gap, causing them to become crooked. Missing teeth can also interfere with your ability to chew, which can affect how well you digest your food. People who have missing, broken, crooked, or chipped teeth are also more prone to developing cavities and tooth infections.

Fixing these problems will certainly improve the way your smile looks, but you'll also end up feeling better, and avoiding certain health issues that tend to accompany oral health problems. The simple fact is that a smile makeover is good for your health.

If you're interested in a smile makeover, we're here to help. Give us a call today or schedule your appointment below.

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