Dentistry With a Womans Touch

Questions and Answers About Dry Mouth – Part 2

060 - dry mouth from medicationsAt Dentistry with a Woman’s Touch, we know how important our patient’s oral health is to their overall health, and dry mouth is a condition that can be symptomatic of other health issues, which is why it’s a good idea to know what causes it so that it can be treated properly.

Dry mouth occurs due to an insufficient production of saliva, the common causes of which include: dehydration, anemia, diabetes, chemotherapy, nerve damage, smoking, caffeine intake or various diseases or infections. However, the leading cause of dry mouth are medications. Some types of medicines that include dry mouth as a side effect include: allergy medications, antidepressants, pain killers, diuretics, blood pressure medications and decongestants.

In our next part of the series, we will be looking into some ways that you can find relief from the symptoms of dry mouth.

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Questions and Answers About Dry Mouth – Part 1

Millions of people suffer from dry mouth, a condition that has symptoms including: feeling thirsty all the time; having difficulty swallowing certain types of food; saliva that feels foamy or thick.

050 - dry mouth part 1In fact, dry mouth is so common that it affects more than 1 in 4 people. At Dentistry with a Woman’s Touch, we want all of our patients in the Toms River area to have the best oral health they can, so we’re taking this time to explain a little bit about the causes and methods of treating dry mouth.

What is dry mouth?
In the simplest terms, dry mouth is just an inadequate amount of saliva. Important for a number of reasons, saliva is essential to the digestive process, keeps the soft tissue of our mouths healthy and infection-free, and even helps prevent tooth decay. It’s vital to good oral health.

Why is dry mouth a problem?
Not only uncomfortable, insufficient saliva can cause problems for teeth, gums and digestion. Dry mouth has connections to diseases such as diabetes and gum disease, so it’s important to know how to spot and treat it.

In our next post we’ll talk about some of the causes of Dry mouth, so be sure to check back.

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What Options are Available for Changing the Look of My Teeth?

There are many reasons why you may not be completely happy with your smile, be it chips or damage, or the length and shape of the teeth. Fortunately, there are a quite a few cosmetic options available for changing the look of your smile. Here are four of them:

ShapeofTeethLowell,INCrowns – A dental crown is a cap, shaped like a tooth, that is placed over the existing, damaged tooth, covering it completely, all the way down to the gum line.

Veneers – Veneers are thin, tooth-colored porcelain laminates that are custom made to fit over the front of your teeth. These are bonded to your teeth and can be used to cover damage.

Recontouring – Your teeth can be recontoured to correct minor imperfections, such as a chip in the tooth, by reshaping the enamel. This is a process known as enameloplasty, odontoplasty or stripping.

Bonding – If your teeth only have minimal damage, dental bonding may be an option. Bonding applies a resin to the surface of the tooth, which is hardened by use of an ultraviolet light.

If you are looking to change your smile, contact Dentistry with a Woman’s Touch in Toms River. Dr. Swedberg will be happy to discuss the available options with you, and explain the differences in durability, cost and length of the office visit required for each.

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The Purpose of Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are applied to act as a shield over the enamel of the teeth. This thin, plastic coating is painted on the depressions and grooves of the molars and premolars. The plastic coating acts as a barrier against germs, preventing tooth decay. Patients ranging from 6 to 14 are the primary target for dental sealants, as these

The application of dental sealants aide in the prevention of tooth decay.

The application of dental sealants helps prevent tooth decay.

are the cavity prone years. The dental sealants can be beneficial to adults as well if there is no decay or fillings. These sealants are only visible up close and can be clear, white, or slightly tinted.

Dental sealants do not replace the daily fluoride that you receive from toothpastes, mouthwash and tap water. Fluorides and sealants used together can help prevent tooth decay. Having Dr. Swedberg apply sealants in her Toms River, NJ dental office could prevent tooth decay for up to 10 years, but the need for regular dental check-ups with Dr.Swedberg are important to stay up on any chipping or cracking that may occur.

Sealants can help save time and money that may be spent filling a cavity. Sealants will also help you avoid the discomfort of dental work caused by tooth decay, which damages the tooth permanently. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

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The Safety of Amalgam Fillings

Many of our patients at our dental office in Toms River, NJ ask about the safety of amalgam fillings or what you may call silver-colored fillings. There has been talk and concerns raised about amalgams and there safety for the past several years. Because mercury is part of amalgams and mercury is known to be a toxic substance, we understand our patients concerns. Some people believe that several diseases are the product of silver-colored fillings. The diseases most discussed are Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and multiple sclerosis.amalgamsTomsRiverNJ

Both The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Dental Association (ADA), as well as many other public health agencies have said that amalgam fillings are safe. They further report that any correlation mercury-based amalgams and disease are not conclusive. It is unfortunate but the cause of multiple sclerosis, autism and Alzheimer’s diseases has not been found yet. There is also no scientific proof that removing these types of fillings will cure those that have them of the disease in quetion.

In March 2002, The FDA reconfirmed amalgam safety. Even though amalgams do contain mercury, mixing it with other metals like tin, zinc, copper and silver will form a stable alloy. These types of alloys have been used by dentists to fill and preserve decaying teeth for over 100 years. And there have been hundreds of millions of teeth with silver-colored fillings. There are some rather large-scale case studies being done at the The National Institutes of Health. The organization’s goal is to get answers to the multitude of questions that have been brought forth about silver-colored fillings.

One other concern has been about the vapor that is released in small amounts by the mercury in amalgam fillings. Again, according to the American Dental Association, there has been no evidence to prove the mercury vapor release results in adverse health effects.

What about an allergy to amalgam? Can this happen?

It is indeed possible to have an allergic reaction to amalgam. The ADA reports that there have been less that 100 cases of this reported. What is thought is that one of the metals in the alloy triggers the allergic reaction. An amalgam allergy would be similar to what happens with a skin allergy, which includes skin irritation and itching. Usually those patients who have reacted to amalgam adversely also have a family or medical history of allergies to metals. Should that be the case, they are other methods to treat decaying tooth.

Photo credit: patrisyu, freedigitalphotos.net

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How Do Tooth Whitening Toothpastes, Strips and Gels Work And Are They Effective?

Professional Whitening With Your Dentist

None of the home use whitening toothpastes, strips or gels can come even close to producing the bleaching effect you get from your dentist’s office.

One of the most common questions I hear from patients in our Toms River dental office is what are the different ways they can go about whitening their teeth.

Both over-the-counter and professional whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide that helps remove stains on the tooth surface, as well as stains deep in the tooth.

Over-The-Counter Products

Whitening Toothpastes  – All toothpastes help remove surface stains through the action of mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpastes contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Whitening toothpastes can help remove surface stains only and do not contain bleach. They can lighten your tooth’s color by about one shade.

Whitening Strips & Whitening Gels – These products contain peroxide in a concentration that is much lower than the peroxide-based products that are used in your dentist’s office. Although some teeth lightening will be achieved, the degree of whitening is much lower than results achieved with in-office or dentist-supervised whitening systems.

Professional Whitening With Your Dentist

In Office Zoom! Whitening – This technique offers the fastest with the most powerful whitening solutions available.  Light activated whitening conducted in your dentist’s office can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.  It takes about an hour and the results will be immediately obvious. 

Zoom! Take-Home Whitening – This is another effective way to whiten your teeth, though you will play a greater role in ensuring the best possible results and several weeks may be needed to achieve your desired level of whiteness.

None of the home use whitening toothpastes, strips or gels can come even close to producing the bleaching effect you get from your dentist’s office through chair side bleaching or power bleaching.

Additionally, use of over-the-counter products do not benefit from the close supervision of your dentist — to determine what whitening process might be best for you, to check on the progress of the teeth whitening, and look for signs of gum irritation.

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Junk Food and Your Oral Health

Junk Food and Your Oral Health

Although junk food can be a treat every so often, these foods can lead to severe oral health problems that in turn can effect the rest of your body.

Our oral health and overall health are linked in several ways that many people do not realize. At the office of Dentistry With A Women’s Touch, it’s very important to us that we help our patients in Toms River live healthy lives.

Although junk food can be a treat every so often, these foods can lead to severe oral health problems that in turn can effect the rest of your body.

Large amounts of sugar can cause cavities and increases your risk for gum disease.

Gum disease, along with weakening your bone structure, can also cause a systemic inflammatory response which can increase risk of heart disease and other inflammatory conditions.

Sugar is found in excess in fizzy soft drinks and confectionaries. This makes them high in calories and low in nutritional value. Candies, sodas, flavored waters, energy drinks, and sports drinks are also loaded with high fructose corn syrup which is unhealthy for your teeth and bad for your body.

Beware of “diet” drinks which have high acid levels that contribute to the breakdown of your tooth enamel. Limiting your consumption of these food items can greatly increase your oral and overall health.

Visit the American Dental Association for more information on oral health.

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Am I Supposed to Brush My Tongue?

Am I supposed to brush my tongue?

Since foul odors originate from bacteria, an unclean tongue is a major source of bad breath, or halitosis.

Brushing the tongue is an effective way to manage halitosis. It also reduces overall amount of germs in the mouth to help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Some dentists also advocate scraping the tongue routinely with special tools as treatment for halitosis. Probably the most effective time for brushing and/or scraping the tongue for the management of halitosis is when brushing the teeth in the morning.

Germs that cause gum disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay live in groups. These bacteria are much less destructive when their groups, called colonies, are mechanically broken up with a toothbrush. Another problem caused by bacterial colonization is the production of foul odors.

The surface of the tongue is covered with many little tissue projections, called papillae, which serve various functions such as detecting taste. Papillae also provide protection for bacterial colonies. Since foul odors originate from bacteria, an unclean tongue is a major source of bad breath, or halitosis.

Some general tips:

  • I recommend using a soft to medium brush.
  • Tilt the brush at a 45 degree angle against the gumline and sweep or roll the brush away from gumline.
  • Gently brush the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth using short back-and-forth strokes.
  • Gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.
  • You can visit animated-teeth for more information on brushing your tongue.

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Foods and Beverages That Stain Your Teeth

Tomato Sauce MGD©.JPG http:::mrg.bz:xTwPb6Our teeth are composed of enamel. Enamel acts as a protective barrier that prevents cavities and tooth decay and also give your teeth their white color.

Certain foods and beverages we consume can break down the enamel in our teeth and cause stains. This can be caused by the acidity levels or by artificial food colorings. Coffee, tea and cola can greatly discolor your teeth due to these being darkly pigmented.

Colas also contains high levels of acidity, which can actually break down the enamel in your teeth. Microscopic ridges on each tooth can catch residue from these beverages, which can cause discoloration.

Several processed foods that we eat can also cause staining due to the food coloring in these products. This includes fruit juices, popsicles and even tomato sauce. For more examples of foods that can stain your teeth.

One of the most common questions from my patients is how they can whiten their teeth and brighten their smile because of the staining from foods and beverages. I often tell my patients when they are not sure about which foods and beverages could stain their teeth, to go by this rule of thumb: If it can stain your carpet, then it can stain your teeth!

Of course, the best way to eliminate discoloration and keep your smile bright is by Maintaining regular brushing and flossing.

Another great option is teeth whitening, so talk to your dentist for more information on if whitening is right for you.

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Tips to Help You Quit Smoking

Smoking is a very unhealthy habit that can cause tooth discoloration, an increase in the build up of plaque and tartar on your teeth and can increase your risk of oral cancer.

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At Dentistry With A Women’s Touch, we are dedicated to the improvement of the oral and overall health for the people of Toms River! We would like to take the time to give some helpful tips for those of you that are trying to quit smoking.

One of the main reasons why people smoke is to relieve stress. Managing your levels of stress can be one of the most powerful tools in your fight to stop smoking. Instead of lighting up, try getting a relaxing massage, listening to calming music or do yoga.

If drinking makes you want a cigarette, try to stay away from alcohol.  If you enjoy having a smoke after a meal, try to replace it with gum or a healthy snack.

Identifying smoking triggers can also help you cut down much more easily. For even more information about why you should quit smoking, check out Smokefree.gov.

Are your teeth discolored from smoking?  We can help, find out more about our whitening services by contacting us today. 

For more oral & overall health tips like this and more, please like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ and Twitter.

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