Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

Over the past couple of months, you may have been feeling more stressed out than usual, and rightfully so. Our lives have changed, some dramatically, and there’s a lot of uncertainty about the future and a bigger focus on staying healthy than maybe ever before. But believe it or not, the stress we’re feeling about staying healthy may be having the exact opposite effect. In fact, stress is known to affect both overall and oral health. Take it from this New York Times article and your dentist in Erdenheim when we say that lowering your current stress levels can go a long way in keeping your body and your mouth healthy. 

How Stress Relates to Oral Health

  • Teeth Clenching & Grinding – One of the most common ways stress affects our oral health is by clenching and grinding our teeth. Oftentimes, this response to stress is done while sleeping or completely subconsciously. Basically, a lot of times we don’t even know we’re doing it. But how can we stop something we don’t know is happening? Well, while we may not be aware of the habit while we’re doing it, the side effects of clenching and grinding are often obvious. Constantly clenching or grinding our teeth can result in chipped, broken, or cracked teeth. If this happens, your dentist in Erdenheim will want to restore your tooth. Stressful clenching and grinding can also put unnatural and excessive stress on the jaw joint, known as your TMJ or temporomandibular joint. Over time, this can cause something called TMJ disorder or TMD which is a painful condition that can cause popping or clicking of the jaw or even a locked jaw. 
  • Gum Disease – Another way stress can affect oral health and, in turn, overall health is through gum disease. Gum disease is often caused by tobacco use or poor oral hygiene, but increased levels of stress can also increase the risk of developing gum disease. If not treated by your dentist in Erdenheim, gum disease can lead to other whole-body health concerns such as the increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, respiratory disease, and some cancers. 
  • Canker Sores – Even though stress is not the only thing that can cause canker sores, research conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry suggests a possible correlation between stress and canker sore development. Canker sores are tiny red or white sores that resemble ulcers. They can be painful but are not contagious.

Stay Healthy by Lowering Stress

Stress can affect not only your oral health but your overall health, too. And nowadays, it’s incredibly important to do everything you can to lower stress and stay healthy. Some stress-reduction techniques recommended by experts include:

  • Sleep. Our bodies recover as we sleep. This means our immune system is better prepared to fight off infections. It also means lower stress levels. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, avoid your phone or other sources of blue light at least an hour before bed, listen to relaxing music or calming sounds, and keep a regular sleep schedule even on days you don’t have to get up. 
  • Exercise. Scheduling time for some exercise every day not only helps your cardiovascular and muscular systems, but it can also reduce stress. Exercise releases endorphins, the happy chemical, and can lower the feelings of stress. So dust off that treadmill or get your downward dog on, whatever you do, get some sort of exercise daily. 
  • Meditate. Some cultures have been using mediation as a way to relax and stay healthy for centuries. Focusing on your breath and clearing your mind has been proven to lower heart rate and stress levels.  Find an app that will guide you through mediation practices and set aside time each day to just breathe.

Just like the way stress affects everyone differently, stress reduction is different for everyone, too. Try a few techniques above, keep practicing, and find what works best for you.

Posted by & filed under Dental Implants, Oral Health.

Our teeth are designed to last a lifetime. However, tooth loss happens all too often as a result of either age, accident, or disease. In fact, according to the American College of Prosthodontists, about 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth and about 40 million are missing all of their natural teeth. When someone is missing a tooth or several teeth, it can affect both oral and overall health. This is one reason why your dentist in Erdenheim believes that everyone who is missing a tooth or teeth should find the best tooth replacement treatment for them. Oftentimes, this means either getting dentures or dental implants. Join us as we take a closer look at each of these restorative dentistry treatments in this blog. 

Dentures

Dentures, also sometimes known as false teeth, are a type of restorative dentistry that can replace a few missing teeth (often called a partial) or an entire mouth full. This tooth replacement option is removable and may be the preferred choice for people who are missing a series of teeth instead of just one or two here and there. Dentures are custom-crafted to fit comfortably in your mouth, and thanks to advancements in dental technology, dentures can now appear more realistic than they ever have before (so long, Chiclet teeth!). While dentures are usually more affordable than dental implants, they do require some maintenance. Both full dentures and partial dentures need to be removed, cleaned, and soaked every night to keep them in good shape and fitting properly. Dentures also require denture adhesive when putting them back in when you wake up, which can be cumbersome for some people and may cause dentures to slip while eating and talking. However, they may be the best tooth replacement option for you if you’ve been told you have bone loss in your jaws or that your jaws aren’t healthy enough for surgical dental implant treatment. 

Dental Implants

Another tooth replacement option highly recommended by dentists in Erdenheim is dental implants. Unlike dentures, dental implants are a permanent, non-removable restorative dentistry treatment that can replace either one or several missing teeth. While dental implants are initially more expensive than dentures, the treatment is often superior and can end up saving you money in the long run. Dental implants are surgically inserted into the jaw bone and allowed to heal. Afterward, a custom-created crown tops the implant. Dental implants can also be inserted into the jaw bone and topped with a custom full set of prosthetic teeth. This allows your dentist to replace all of your teeth without the hassle of removable dentures. Since dental implants are permanent, there’s no worry about slippage while eating or talking, and they function just like your natural teeth. Additionally, implants can continue to stimulate the jaw bone-  which can help in appearance as well as function. 

As with any dental treatment or medical treatment, there is no absolute right choice for every single person as everyone is different. It’s best to speak with your dentist in Erdenheim to find the best tooth replacement option for your specific situation.  

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

When you’re choosing the right milk for your family, you certainly have a lot of options to pick from these days. From milk made from almonds to milk made from coconuts, and from soy milk to cow’s milk, the dairy aisle is packed with so many different varieties of milk how can you possibly choose?! Don’t worry. Believe it or not, your dentist in Erdenheim is here to help. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at how two of the most popular forms of milk, soy and cow’s milk, can affect your teeth. 

Cow’s Milk

The tried-and-true milk choice of dentists and many healthcare professionals is good old fashioned cow’s milk and for good reason. Cow’s milk is packed with two of the most important ingredients that our teeth (and our bones!) need to stay strong and healthy. We’re talking about the combination of calcium and vitamin D. This powerful duo is crucial for replenishing minerals in the teeth. You see, tooth enamel weakens when it’s attacked by acids and its otherwise suburb protection is diminished. This leaves teeth at increased risk of infection, decay, and cavities. To help remineralize tooth enamel, we need to supply our bodies with calcium and vitamin D, and as you know, cow’s milk is an excellent source of these two minerals. 

Soy Milk

Soy milk, on the other hand, still contains calcium and vitamin D but in significantly lower amounts. But that’s not all. One study found that bacteria commonly found in the mouth produced five to six times more acid when introduced to soy milk as compared to cow’s milk. An increase in acid means an increase in enamel erosion as well as an increase in the risk of decay and cavities. Keep in mind, this was one study and more research is needed to suggest a strong correlation between soy milk and cavities. 

A Few Exceptions

While the benefits of cow’s milk can certainly help build strong, healthy teeth and bones, some people can’t drink it due to lactose intolerance. Those who are lactose intolerant have trouble digesting lactose, which is naturally occurring in cow’s milk and other dairy products. Instead of cow’s milk, individuals with lactose intolerance should choose a type of milk that’s easier to digest, such as calcium-fortified coconut or almond milk.

Other exceptions to choose an alternative to cow’s milk may be for religious, moral, or dietary reasons. In all cases, it’s important to your dentist in Erdenheim that those who can’t drink cow’s milk should supplement their calcium intake with other foods such as nuts, seeds, fish, and vegetables, and to talk with their doctor about whether or not they need a calcium supplement. 

As always, even though diet plays an important role in oral health, it’s still incredibly important that you and your family see your Erdenheim dentist every six months. These dental checkups give your dentist the opportunity to ensure that there aren’t any tiny problems lingering around just waiting to cause a bigger, potentially painful problem, and they give your dental hygienist the chance to thoroughly clean those pearly whites. Plus, it’s always nice to you. 

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental visit, call us to schedule an appointment today!

Posted by & filed under General, General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

If you’ve ever experienced dry mouth, you know just how uncomfortable and frustrating it can be. Even drinking glass after glass of water doesn’t seem to help relieve it. Dry mouth is an incredibly common ailment that all of us experience once in a while, but if you have a chronically dry mouth that doesn’t go away, it may be time to see your dentist in Erdenheim.

Risks Associated with Dry Mouth

The truth is, living with a dry mouth day in and day out isn’t only uncomfortable, it can be bad for your overall oral health, too. You see, when the mouth feels dry it means that your saliva glands aren’t producing enough spit to keep your mouth lubricated and moist. A healthy mouth is constantly producing saliva which helps neutralize plaque acids, rinse away bad bacteria that could cause decay, and remove leftover food particles. However, when someone is experiencing dry mouth, there’s not enough saliva to perform those jobs properly. In turn, this increases the likelihood of having bad breath, developing cavities, and other serious oral health problems that require treatment from your Erdenheim dentist.  

What Causes Dry Mouth? 

There are several possible explanations for an individual’s dry mouth. For example, if you’re only experiencing dry mouth for a short period of time, it may simply indicate dehydration. Drinking more water throughout the day can make a big difference. On the other hand, there are times when dry mouth seems as if it’s never going to go away. If this happens, you may need to talk with your dentist in Erdenheim about what may be causing it. Some common causes of chronic dry mouth include: 

  • Medications. If you read the label or insert that accompanies your medications, you shouldn’t be surprised to see dry mouth listed as a common side effect. Tons of medications can contribute to dry mouth. Anything from anxiety and blood pressure medicines to cancer treatment can cause dry mouth, so it’s important to read those warning labels and inserts. If your medication may be to blame for your dry mouth, don’t stop it without talking to your doctor first. You should also ask your dentist about some ways you can combat dry mouth that’s caused by medication. 
  • Diseases & Other Health Problems. If you have other health problems or certain diseases, you may be at increased risk for dry mouth, too. Some diseases that are known to cause dry mouth include, but are not limited to, Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes. 
  • Tobacco & Alcohol. Smoking, using smokeless tobacco, and drinking alcohol all naturally have a drying effect on the mouth. Since these are often regular habits that people engage in often, the mouth is constantly being dried out. The best way to stop dry mouth caused by tobacco or alcohol is to quit or, at a minimum, cut back.
  • Mouth Breathing. We’ve all had to breathe out of our mouths during a wicked cold or during allergy season when the nose is too stuffed up to allow air through. But some people naturally breathe out of their mouths instead of their noses, especially during sleep. However, when the mouth is opened for prolonged periods of time and the inside is constantly exposed to air dries, the result is an uncomfortably dry mouth. 

Signs & Symptoms

Most sufferers of dry mouth know they have dry mouth simply by the feeling alone. However, some other common symptoms of dry mouth include: 

  • Cracked, dry lips
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, or speaking
  • Dry throat or tongue
  • Bad breath

The good news is dry mouth can often be treated successfully with intervention from your dentist in Erdenheim. There are also things you can do at home to lower your risk of dry mouth such as: 

  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
  • Limiting your intake of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
  • Chewing sugarless gum to stimulate salivary glands

You don’t have to live with a dry mouth. If you’re ready to talk about how we can help, give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

Posted by & filed under General, General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

There’s something comforting about getting outside and soaking up the summer sun. After all, it’s warm, it helps improve our mood, and, as your dentist in Erdenheim knows, it can also help protect our teeth. It’s true. The overall and oral health benefits of getting out into the sun every day are plentiful thanks to the power of vitamin D. 

What’s So Great About Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy body and a healthy mouth, and one of the best ways to help your body produce this essential vitamin is by getting outside and under the sun. There are so many benefits of vitamin D, from your head to your toes, including: 

  • Helping in calcium absorption – Vitamin D and calcium go hand-in-hand and in order for your body to get all of the benefits of calcium, you need to have enough vitamin D in your system. This duo helps build strong bones as well as strong teeth. 
  • Boosting your immune system – The relationship between vitamin D and the immune system is a complicated one. Essentially, vitamin D helps regulate and balance our immune systems to help keep us healthy and fight off infections. 
  • Aiding your pancreas – Vitamin D also assists your pancreas in the insulin-making process. In fact, studies have found that those with vitamin D deficiency are at increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.  
  • Fighting off tooth decay – Several studies on the effects of vitamin D as it relates to tooth decay have found a potentially promising connection between getting enough vitamin D and a lower risk of tooth decay. In fact, one study found that vitamin D can lower the risk of decay by 50%. 

There are a whole host of health benefits tied to vitamin D, and it’s important to get enough of it every day. However, most Americans are slacking in the vitamin D department and many fall short of their daily dose. This can negatively affect your overall and oral health. Research shows a correlation between the lack of vitamin D and an increased risk of osteoporosis, serious cancers like breast, colon, or prostate, and cavities or problems with teeth development in children. 

How Much Time Should You Spend In The Sun? 
Figuring out just how much time you should spend in the sun to get all of the benefits it has to offer, while not overdoing it, depends on several factors including age, health history, geographic location, and skin tone. Most researchers tend to agree that 5-30 minutes of sunlight per day is enough to get all the benefits and few, if any, of the risks associated with sunshine. 

More Ways To Get Vitamin D
Sunshine is the best source of vitamin D, but if you’re sensitive to the sun or if it’s hard to get outside, such as during the winter months, you may experience low levels of vitamin D. Your dentist in Erdenheim recommends supplementing lack of sunshine with foods high in vitamin D. You can get vitamin D from:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Fortified cereal, orange juice, or yogurt 

Your dentist in Erdenheim is a key member of your healthcare team and we’re dedicated to doing everything we can to help keep your mouth, and your body, healthy. So this summer, get outside, soak up some rays, and enjoy all the benefits the sun has to offer. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen. 

Posted by & filed under General, General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

Oral piercings, including lip and tongue piercings, are nothing new. In fact, they have actually been around since the Mayans. However, this form of self-expression doesn’t come without its risks. If you’re considering getting your lip or tongue pierced, read this information from your dentist in Erdenheim before you go under the needle. 

Know The Risks
Like any type of piercing, a tongue or lip piercing requires your body to undergo minor trauma as well as introduces a foreign, metal object into your body. As a result, there are a few risks associated with an oral piercing such as: 

  • Infection. One of the most common side effects of piercings is infection. While infection can happen with any type of piercing, oral piercings may be more susceptible thanks to the ideal warm and moist environment the mouth provides, along with the fact that the mouth is already home to tons of bacteria. This type of environment is the perfect place for the bacteria to flourish and cause an infection. While these infections can be minor, there is a chance of a serious, life-threatening infection, too. Some infections may cause the tongue to swell, making it difficult to breathe.
  • Tooth & Nerve Damage. You’ve probably noticed that those with a pierced tongue or lip tend to play with the piercing a lot. This constant clicking and clanking of metal against teeth increase the likelihood of tooth damage – such as chipped teeth, broken teeth, and worn enamel – which can expose teeth to bacteria and decay. Damage to teeth will need to be fixed by your dentist in Erdenheim before it leads to bigger and potentially painful problems. But that’s not all. There’s also the risk of nerve damage. Our tongues are home to a lot of nerves, and if the piercing needle hits one at the wrong angle, you may experience temporary or sometimes permanent numbness. This nerve damage can also affect your sense of taste and how you speak. 
  • Gum Disease. Teeth and nerves aren’t the only things that can be damaged by tongue or lip piercings. Gum tissue is also at risk for damage caused by a lip or tongue ring. While that may sound like a minor inconvenience, the truth is that once gum tissue is damaged, it makes it incredibly easy for mouth bacteria to work their way up under the gums and settle in, resulting in gum disease. Gum disease is a serious concern for your dentist in Erdenheim as it can lead to chronic bad breath, tooth loss, and even whole-body health concerns such as heart disease. 

Protect Yourself
We’re not here to tell you that you can’t get a tongue or lip piercing, but we do encourage you to take the necessary steps to protect yourself against the risks above. Some things you can do include: 

  • Pick a professional piercer with a good track record and high sterilization standards. If they can’t answer your questions about safety and sanitation, choose someone else.
  • After you get the piercing, clean it well and clean it often to help minimize your risk of infection. 
  • Rinse your mouth out with water after you eat to help wash away any food particles that may have gotten stuck in your piercing. 
  • Avoid playing with your piercing to minimize the chance of tooth and gum damage. 
  • Oral hygiene is even more important for those with an oral piercing so make sure you maintain great oral hygiene at home and see your dentist in Erdenheim every six months. 

Most importantly, know the signs of infection and seek medical care immediately if you notice swelling, redness, fever, chills, or uncontrollable shaking. 

If you have any questions or concerns about oral piercings, talk with your dentist.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Gum Disease, Oral Health.

Many people think that it’s normal for gums to hurt or bleed during brushing or flossing. However, that’s a pretty big misconception. Whenever your gums bleed or are painful, whether this occurs while brushing or not, it’s usually a sign that you should see your dentist in Erdenheim. Even though gum pain may be nothing more than a temporary minor issue, there is a chance that it may be a sign of something more serious. Let’s take a look at some causes of gum pain. 

  • Canker Sores

Canker sores can pop up in various places in your mouth, including your gum tissue. They can seem to come out of nowhere and can be painful, as well as annoying. A canker sore can appear either red or red with a white coating. They’re different from a cold sore in that they aren’t contagious, but they can raise concern. Not to worry, canker sores are usually no big deal and should go away on their own within 7-14 days. However, if a canker sore doesn’t disappear, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Erdenheim

  • Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a serious health condition that, if left untreated, can lead to death. However, oftentimes oral cancer treatment is very successful, but it’s key that you catch it early. Remember when we said that if you have a canker sore that doesn’t go away you should call your dentist in Erdenheim? Oral cancer is why we highly recommend that. Oral cancer can initially appear as a tiny sore, but unlike a canker sore, oral cancer doesn’t go away. Oral cancer can affect any of the soft tissues in the mouth, including the gums, so if you’re experiencing gum pain along with a sore, see your dentist. 

  • Minor Burns

You know that feeling when you’re so hungry you just can’t wait for that delicious pizza to cool off before taking a bite? Do you know the feeling that comes after that, the “oh, hot, hot, hot” feeling? Well, those impatient bites of super-hot food can cause minor burns to the roof of the mouth, as well as the gums. These burns can result in temporary gum pain. This type of gum pain usually isn’t something to worry about and will heal on its own. But in the future, we recommend taking it slowly and letting your food cool a bit before eating it. 

  • Gum Disease

Perhaps the most common explanation to gum pain is gum disease. Gum disease is usually categorized by red, swollen, painful gums that bleed while brushing and flossing. If not treated, gum disease will progress to more severe stages and cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. This can eventually cause teeth to fall out. But that’s not all. Gum disease has also been linked to other problems throughout the body including an increased risk for heart disease, kidney disease, and certain cancers. 

Gum pain may be no cause for concern, but if it doesn’t go away or is chronic, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist in Erdenheim as soon as you can so that we can find the underlying cause behind your pain and recommend the best treatment for you.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

An estimated 39 million Americans suffer from headaches or migraines regularly. That’s about 12% of our population that experience these often debilitating, painful, and difficult-to-treat neurological conditions. However, even though this is such a widespread problem, there’s still the need for more research to determine just what causes a headache or migraine, how to prevent them and treat them, and eventually, how to cure them. That’s why every June, medical professionals, including your dentist in Erdenheim, join together to raise awareness and increase education about headaches and migraines during National Migraine & Headache Awareness Month

How to Differentiate Between a Headache and Migraine 

Oftentimes, the terms headache and migraine are used interchangeably. However, they are technically two separate conditions and present themselves with similar, yet different, symptoms. Both conditions involve pain in the head and it can either be a throbbing or dull pain in both. But there are a few differences in other symptoms that can help identify whether you have a headache or a migraine.  

Headache Symptoms

  • Pain is usually spread throughout the head
  • Pain remains consistent and doesn’t tend to worsen with activity
  • Usually has the feeling of constant pressure 
  • Symptoms are localized to only the head

Migraine Symptoms

  • Pain usually affects one side of the head more than the other, but not always
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Aura symptoms such as blind spots, zig-zag lines, or shimmery, glowy patches

Are Migraines and Headaches Related to Dentistry? 

We know that it may seem odd to have your dentist in Erdenheim talk about conditions that seemingly only affect the head, but the truth is, there may be a connection between chronic headaches and migraines and dentistry. After all, the head is connected to the neck which is connected to the jaw, and there are muscle groups connected to each, so it’s certainly worth a closer look. 

Numerous studies have shown a potential correlation between a poor bite as well as habitually grinding or clenching teeth and an increased risk of chronic headaches or migraines. When someone has a poor bite or constantly grinds their teeth together, the muscles in the jaw joint are under constant and abnormal pressure and may cause a painful condition known as TMD (or TMJ). But the pain may not end at the jaw joint alone. As we’ve mentioned earlier, the head, neck, and jaw are all connected through a complex system of muscles, so when pain affects one section, it can also spread to affect other areas, such as the head. The theory researchers are studying regularly is that this constant muscular pressure may just cause certain headaches or migraines. 

We always encourage migraine and headache sufferers to talk with their primary care physician, as well as their dentist in Erdenheim, to see if their pain may be caused, or a least exacerbated by, something related to their oral health. Additionally, there is no concrete cause of migraines or headaches, so intervention from your medical team is necessary to diagnose just what may be causing your individual migraines or headaches in order to determine how to treat them effectively. 

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Health.

We all know that your dentist in Erdenheim really dislikes sugar. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to pass up treating yourself to something sweet. While we’re all pretty familiar with the numerous sugar substitutes available to us, we want to pay particular attention to one that may actually benefit your oral health as opposed to damaging it — xylitol. 

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol looks like sugar and tastes like sugar, but there are a few key differences between the two. For example, Xylitol is lower in calories than sugar and also doesn’t increase blood sugar levels the same way sugar does. This combination makes xylitol better for your body and overall health — and you don’t need to sacrifice taste! Xylitol is natural, as it’s found in some fruits and vegetables, and your body produces a small amount of it during digestion. But its benefits don’t stop there. As your dentist in Erdenheim knows, xylitol can also help improve and protect your oral health.  

How Does Xylitol Improve Oral Health? 

Everyone has bacteria in their mouths, that’s to be expected. But one type of bacteria, called Streptococcus mutans, is the main culprit behind plaque buildup and the development of cavities. These damaging bacteria love to feed on sugar. Therefore, the more sugar we introduce to our mouths, the more we fuel the bacteria and the more damage they can cause. On the other hand, while Streptococcus mutans will still feed on xylitol, they won’t be fueled by it. Quite the opposite, in fact. Xylitol actually starves the bad bacteria. Additionally, xylitol can: 

  • Prevent tooth decay
  • Decrease bacteria levels by up to 75%
  • Prevent oral inflammation
  • Reduce the risk of gum disease

The Best Way to Get Xylitol

One of the easiest, as well as the best ways to treat your teeth to the benefits of xylitol, is by chewing gum that contains it. This method of getting your teeth exposed to xylitol has additional benefits such as: 

  • Increased saliva production which helps to protect and remineralize teeth
  • Reduced levels of acid in your mouth which otherwise could lead to enamel erosion and an increased risk of decay or tooth sensitivity
  • Improved calcium absorption, which is an important part of building and keeping strong teeth

Of course, while xylitol can be beneficial to oral health, it’s not a be-all-end-all solution. It’s still crucial that you brush and floss every day, as well as see your dentist in Erdenheim regularly for professional dental cleanings and exams.

Posted by & filed under General, Oral Health.

According to the CDC, 1 in 13 Americans has asthma. That’s nearly 25 million Americans who have this chronic disease that affects the respiratory system, resulting in difficulty breathing, wheezing, and chest pain. The most common treatment to combat the symptoms of asthma is the use of an inhaler. However, these devices full of life-saving medication may cause some oral health problems. During this Asthma Awareness Month, your dentist in Erdenheim wants to help by sharing some ways that asthma patients may be at an increased risk for certain oral health conditions, and how they can reduce that risk. 

Dry Mouth 

Most asthma patients feel shortness of breath and as if they can’t get enough air by breathing through their noses. As a result, it’s incredibly common for asthma sufferers to breathe out of their mouths instead. Mouth breathing over a prolonged period of time can cause the mouth to dry out — often appropriately referred to as dry mouth. Certain asthma medications may also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth is an uncomfortable condition that’s concerning for your dentist in Erdenheim. When a mouth is dry, it means there’s not enough saliva being produced. Without saliva, bacteria and acids in the mouth can lead to tooth decay, as well as other concerns. 

Bad Breath

If dry mouth is left untreated, patients may also experience bad breath in addition to an increased risk of decay. If bacteria are left alone to flourish and multiply in the mouth, the patient will begin to have bad breath.  

Gum Disease

Another common result of untreated dry mouth, whether in an asthma patient or not, is gum disease. A dry mouth allows plaque to build up, which can certainly contribute to tooth decay and cavities, but this plaque can also start to work its way into the gum tissue causing inflammation, recession, and gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition that requires early treatment intervention or it will continue to get worse. Untreated gum disease isn’t a condition that affects only the mouth. In fact, it can increase the chance of heart disease, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and cancers. 

What To Do

Asthma patients who also have dry mouth are at increased risk of decay, bad breath, and gum disease. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things they can do to limit the risk of developing those conditions. Some ways asthma patients can combat dry mouth, and the risks that go along with it, include:

  • Drinking Enough Water. Most health professionals recommend drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses every day to help keep your body hydrated. Your dentist in Erdenheim agrees. Keeping your body hydrated also means your mouth is staying hydrated and is able to rinse away dangerous bacteria and acids. 
  • Swishing With Water. Those who notice a dry mouth after taking their asthma medication can, and should, rinse their mouths out with water immediately afterward. A quick swish and spit with water can help remove any of the dry mouth-causing ingredients, decreasing the likelihood of experiencing dry mouth. 
  • Chewing Sugarless Gum. Chewing anything automatically kick-starts saliva production because the body thinks we’re eating and are getting ready to swallow food. Saliva helps us pass food down our esophagus as well as helps break down food particles for easier digestion. Chewing gum will trigger the body to produce saliva, thus decreasing dry mouth. 
  • Talking With Your Dentist. Asthma patients should communicate their health history and any underlying health conditions such as asthma to their dentist in Erdenheim. Not only can this help your dental team customize treatment, but it also makes them aware of things you may be at increased risk of, such as dry mouth, decay, bad breath, and gum disease so they can treat any problems early. 

Your dental team is dedicated to the health of each of our patients. If you have questions about how asthma may affect oral health, or if you’re suffering from dry mouth, give us a call. We’re happy to help any way we can.