1. Dry Mouth – Also known as “xerostomia”, this can be a serious condition that often develops as a result of taking certain medication. When seniors experience dry mouth, it means they are producing less saliva and that can make them more likely to have tooth decay. Saliva is the mouth’s natural defense against poor oral health and you can combat this condition by drinking more water, use sugar-free gum or lozenges, or talk to your doctor about changing prescriptions.
2. Bad Breath – Not a pleasant condition to deal with as it can make seniors feel uncomfortable in social situations and give them lower self-esteem. Brushing and flossing twice a day can combat bad breath symptoms and make your mouth and teeth look and feel healthier. Be sure to brush inside your cheeks as well, that’s where much of the odor causing bacteria hides.
3. Gum Disease – Gum disease and gingivitis are also very serious and they can lead to painful oral conditions, characterized by red and puffy gums that often bleed for no reason. So in order to avoid developing periodontal problems, brush and floss regularly and keep regular appointments with your dentist. Plaque build-up can lead to major oral health issues if you’re not careful.
4. Mouth Cancer – Oral cancer can strike anywhere, the mouth, the tongue, and the throat, and there are over 30,000 cases diagnosed a year. While the median age for seniors diagnosed with mouth cancer is 62 years, this condition can strike if you neglect the early warning signs, which can be detected quicker with regular checkups. Symptoms can include painful sores, discomfort in the lips or tongue, and discolored areas that are white or red.
5. Paying for Dental Care – Many seniors put off dental care simply because they aren’t sure how they are going to pay for it. Since Medicare doesn’t pay for routine dental costs, you may want to start saving for these expenses as part of a retirement savings plan. There are also many discount and supplemental dental plans that seniors can explore that come with lower monthly premiums and reduced out of pocket costs.
In some cases, gums cover too much of the teeth, producing a smile that is “gummy” and making teeth appear smaller and less attractive. In other cases, gums can recede over time due to vigorous brushing, poor oral hygiene, or other causes. This is not only unattractive, but it can expose teeth to infection and harm. Or perhaps gums are simply irregular, asymmetrical, or otherwise less than aesthetically pleasing.
In all cases, laser gum sculpting can be used to contour the gum line and create a uniform, attractive appearance. Here are a few benefits you stand to gain when you elect to undergo laser gum sculpting.
Sculpt Your SmileOne of the main reasons patients undergo laser gum sculpting is to change the appearance of their smile. If you are unhappy with the amount of gum tissue covering your teeth, whether you have too much, too little, or it is uneven, laser gum sculpting could be the answer.
In order to be a good candidate, your mouth will have to be healthy and free of infection. From there your dentist can let you know if laser gum sculpting is the ideal solution for creating the perfect gum line to frame your beautiful smile.
Prevent HarmBy and large, there is no harm in having too much gum tissue, so long as you brush, floss, and rinse properly and maintain good oral health. When your gums are receding in areas or all around, however, you could be more prone to infection, decay, or other issues due to exposed roots.
In some cases, laser gum sculpting can kill two birds with one stone, improving your oral health and your cosmetic appearance at the same time.
Avoid Invasive SurgeryIt used to be that in order to correct an undesirable gum line, patients had to undergo a surgical procedure in which gum tissue was cut and sculpted with a scalpel. Thanks to diode lasers, these unpleasant surgical procedures are largely a thing of the past.
Lasers can cut, sculpt, and cauterize as they go, reducing pain, bleeding, and the risk of complications like infection after the fact. This reduces healing time and gets you back on your feet and ready to flash your new smile in no time.
Halitosis is really chronic bad breath, and while it can result from bad habits like a poor diet that is high in odiferous foods, from tobacco use, or from poor oral hygiene, it could also be due to a number of other factors. In most cases, halitosis is treatable. Here are a few treatment and prevention tips that will have your breath smelling fresh in no time.
1. Proper oral hygieneWhen you brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash after every meal you have the greatest opportunity to clear away food and bacteria that can cause lingering odors.
2. Clean your tongueIt’s not enough to brush your teeth; you need to clean your whole mouth when you’re suffering from halitosis, and bacteria can build up on soft tissue like the tongue. If a toothbrush doesn’t seem to do the trick, pick up a tongue cleaning tool (scraper) that is better suited to cleaning this soft surface.
3. HydrationAny number of factors could cause you to experience a dry mouth, including illness, medication, smoking, and even the way you breathe (through your mouth, for example). When this happens, you might not produce enough saliva to rinse away odor-causing food and bacteria.
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water each day can help with the natural rinsing process, but if your dry mouth is severe, you might want to use a product like Biotene rinse, gel, or spray that is specially designed to treat dry mouth symptoms.
4. Dietary changesIn addition to drinking more water, there are a few dietary changes you might want to make in order to enjoy fresher breath. A balanced and nutritious diet is a good place to start, and you can get tips on how to eat right at ChooseMyPlate.gov (a revamping of the old-school food pyramid).
If you suffer from halitosis, you might want to cut back on foods like onions, garlic, coffee, or fish that are known to cause bad breath. You could also try chewing fresh fennel or cloves, which have antiseptic qualities, or mint leaves for fresher breath.
5. Consult with your dentistIn addition to scheduling regular visits for check-up and cleaning, it’s a good idea to speak with your dentist if halitosis has become a problem. This professional can help to pinpoint the cause of halitosis and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
A recent trauma or injury to a tooth can lead to an abscess. An injury to your mouth can cause damage even if you aren’t aware of a it. A small crack or opening in the tooth can allow bacteria to go beneath the gum line leading to an infection.
Pain when chewing or sensitivity to hot and cold. A cavity or decay in the tooth can lead to infection and these pockets known as abscesses. Consistent pain when you chew is a good indication there is a problem.
A small knot or what looks like a pimple is visible on the surface of your gum. The pocket of infection located between the root of your tooth and gum will surface as a small bump on your gum and can even form a white head like a pimple.
Drainage from tooth or gum area. When an abscess is allowed to get worse it can start to drain. By this time the pus or infection in the gums as progressed to the point that it has broken out of the gum.
Fever, chills, and swollen glands. When an infection is left untreated you could display more severe signs such as fever and chills. If you have these and other symptoms of an abscessed tooth it is very important to seek help from your dentist.
To prevent an abscess from occurring pay close attention for early signs of decay or cavities in teeth. Injuries that cause cracks should be treated as soon as you realize that has been damage to a tooth. Regular care of your teeth such as brushing and flossing will help prevent gum disease that can also lead to abscesses. For more information or to schedule an appointment contact us at Jollyville Dental Professionals.
Your gums are tender and sore.When wisdom teeth become impacted they may attempt to break through the gum line. Impacted teeth cannot push all of the way through and so leave raw openings that can cause soreness and swelling.
Bleeding gums.As wisdom teeth attempt to push through but remain impacted gums aren’t allowed to heal and close. Edges of teeth continuously poking through the surface of gums can lead to bleeding when brushing teeth or chewing. If you have pain, swelling, and bleeding in the back of your mouth it may be time to visit your dentist.
Fever and jaw pain.It is possible for bacteria to make their way below the surface of the gums once impacted wisdom teeth have attempted to break through. Bacteria under the surface can lead to infections that cause swelling, pain, and fever. It is important to see your dentist once you start to display these symptoms.
1. InvisibleMetal braces, while effective, are obvious and certainly less than attractive. Invisalign offers an invisible alternative, as the aligners are undetectable when worn. They also lack the awkward, metal mechanics that can sometimes cause traditional braces to catch pieces of food in the mouth and further detract from one’s appearance.
2. RemovableWhile it is recommended that Invisalign patients only remove their aligners while eating and drinking, the fact that they are removable means that if there is any discomfort at any point, they can be taken out. In addition, because it is recommended not to eat or drink with the aligners in, it’s often much more comfortable to partake in meals.
3. SaferTraditional metal braces have many complex metal pieces that can easily scratch and puncture parts of the mouth and gums while in use. Invisalign’s clear alternative, on the other hand, has no sharp edges and its smooth construction means less opportunity for injury.
4. Takes less time to achieve resultsInvisalign treatments usually last around a year to achieve results. Metal braces, on the other hand, often take up to five years to be fully effective. Opting for Invisalign often means a shorter treatment period and faster results.
5. They are healthierDid you know that traditional metal braces can actually harm the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums after prolonged use? Decaying teeth and demineralization within the mouth are often exacerbated by metal braces, contributing to greater incidents of gum disease, cavities, and gingivitis. Invisalign’s aligners, because they are more gentle and lack the metal mechanics of traditional braces, have been proven healthier for your teeth than the alternative.
Thankfully, the majority of today’s cases of bad breath are merely the product of common culprits that can be easily corrected, avoided, and assessed. Here are a few common causes and how you can avoid them.
SmokingNot only does smoking tobacco cause cancer, lung disease, heart attack, and stroke, among a nearly infinite list of other health ailments, but it also is one of the leading causes of bad breath. It’s one more reason why quitting smoking and eliminating tobacco use is good for your overall health.
Food ParticlesCertain foods, when eaten, contribute to foul odors of the mouth, especially when pieces of them remain within the mouth after consumption. Garlic, onions, and other “stinky foods” or foods with strong, potent odors have a tendency to contribute to bad breath. To avoid halitosis in these cases, either limit your intake of these foods or implement a brushing practice after eating them.
Poor Oral HygieneThe American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth two times a day and flossing once per day to take proper care of your teeth and mouth. This recommendation is also the key to keeping clean, fresh breath. Bacteria growth within the mouth is one of the leading causes of bad breath, and the best way to combat that growth is through regular brushings. In particular, paying attention to the tongue during your daily tooth brushing sessions will help combat halitosis.
Dry MouthSometimes bad breath is the result of a condition known as xerostomia, or dry mouth. This occurs when not enough saliva is produced within the mouth, sometimes a product of certain medications, persistent breathing through the mouth, age, and/or problems with the salivary glands. To combat this contributor to bad breath, try sugarless candies and ensure you are drinking enough water.
Medical ProblemsIn a few cases, bad breath is sometimes the symptom of a much larger medical disorder. Respiratory illness, sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, and liver and kidney disease have been proven to cause bad breath. Talk to your doctor and/or dentist if you think your halitosis is a product of one of these conditions.
Decay The most common reason for a root canal is severely decayed and infected pulp within a tooth. This decay is generally caused by a deep cavity that has not been treated. Usually there will be pain in the infected tooth along with tender, red, and swollen gums. Putting off a root canal to repair the damaged tooth can lead to tooth loss or a tooth extraction.
Injury An injury to a tooth that causes a break or a crack can lead to the decay that requires a root canal. The decay stems from exposed nerves after an injury to the tooth has occurred. A root canal will seal the tooth as well as replace the broken or cracked crown.
Repeated Dental Procedures If you have had a tooth filled multiple times or other procedures completed on the same tooth it is possible for the soft tissue to become infected or damaged.
What’s so bad about sugar?
Bacteria + Plus Sugar = Cavities. All of our mouths contain bacteria and these bacteria love sugar. When sugar comes in contact with the bacteria it creates acid that wears on tooth enamel and creates cavities. Over time, if left untreated, cavities will lead to root canals or tooth extraction.
Acids Love Crevices and Tight Spaces. Generally, sugars are rinsed away from the open surfaces of teeth when you drink water or eat non sugary foods. Acids created from sugar don’t just attack open surfaces they cling to spaces in between teeth and in the crevices of molars. Water isn’t enough to eliminate acids from these tight spaces.
Sticky and Chewy Candies are the Worst. The amount of time sugar is allowed to adhere to your teeth increases your chances of tooth decay and cavities. Sticky candies like taffy and caramels wreak the most havoc on teeth as they take longer to chew so the sugar remains on your teeth for an extended period of time. Not to mention their extra tackiness makes it more difficult to simply rinse the sugar away.
What Can be Done to Protect Your Mouth?
Brush immediately after having candy. Brushing your teeth or at the very least rinsing your mouth with water directly following eating candy will help keep the sugars from lingering on your teeth.
Try sugar-free candy. Sugar free candies containing xylitol are much better for your teeth and can keep damage from occurring.
Stay away from candy altogether. The only guaranteed way to keep sugar from attacking your mouth is to just avoid it completely. There are no nutritional benefits to snacking on candy or other sugary treats so abstaining from sugar will keep your teeth healthy while encouraging healthy habits in general.