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Mouthwash Does More Than Freshen Breath

Mouthwash Does More Than Freshen Breath

Most people turn to mouthwash when they suspect their breath is bad and they want a quick boost. It’s true that mouthwash comes in handy for this purpose, but did you know that it offers other benefits too?

Reduces bacteria

Antiseptic and anti-plaque mouth rinses are intended to kill germs that cause gum disease, plaque, and bad breath. Swishing this type of mouthwash around your mouth after brushing has been shown to lower the bacteria levels, and therefore decrease your risks of the problems that bacteria can cause. It is especially helpful in senior adults or others who have trouble brushing and flossing their teeth.

Promotes healing

Rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash promotes natural healing of mouth and gum irritations, minor wounds, and canker sores. It removes debris that can irritate your mouth, and can also help reduce inflammations from dental and orthodontic appliances.

Adds fluoride

Some rinses contain fluoride, which helps prevent tooth decay and strengthen teeth. Studies have shown that using fluoride mouth rinses in addition to fluoride toothpaste gives you more protection against cavities than toothpaste alone. Fluoride mouth rinse is not suggested for kids under six years old because they might swallow it.

Relieves pain

Antiseptic mouth rinses have been shown to help reduce tooth pain, probably due to lowering the bacteria and inflammation in your mouth.

Helps with certain conditions

Dentists sometimes prescribe special mouth rinses designed for various oral conditions. This may include gum disease, high risk of tooth decay, or dry mouth. Also, oral rinses may be prescribed after periodontal treatments or oral surgery.

Supplements dental hygiene

Many dentists suggest making dental rinses part of your oral hygiene routine, but remember that it’s only a supplement to brushing and flossing regularly.

If you live in the Westerville area contact us today

Examining Mouth Sores

Examining Mouth Sores

Sores in or around your mouth are painful and unsightly. They can have a variety of causes, such as infections, irritation from orthodontics or dentures, and symptoms of another health problem. Here are descriptions of the most common mouth sores.

Cold sores

Also called fever blisters, cold sores appear around your lips, nose, or chin. These extremely contagious, fluid-filled blisters are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1. Once you are infected with primary herpes, the virus remains in your body and occasionally flares up. Cold sores typically heal by themselves in about a week. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics may help, and your dentist may prescribe antiviral medications to reduce occurrences.

Canker sores

These small ulcers only appear inside your mouth. They are white or gray with a red border, and are not contagious. Experts are unsure of the exact cause, but suspect they are related to immune system deficiencies, viruses, or bacteria. Canker sores usually heal on their own in a week or two. It is advised to avoid spicy, hot, or acidic foods that can irritate the sore. Over-the-counter mouthwashes or topical anesthetics may help, and your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if a secondary infection occurs.

Thrush

Oral thrush, or candidiasis, is a fungal infection occurring when the yeast Candida albicans reproduces in great amounts. Common with denture wearers, it most often appears in people with weakened immune systems such as the elderly or ill. People with dry mouth or who are on antibiotics are also at greater risk for thrush. The key to controlling candidiasis is treating the condition that causes it. Dentures should be cleaned regularly and removed at bedtime, and dry mouth should be treated in an effort to lessen that condition.

Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia are thick, white patches that grow on the inside of your cheeks, gums or tongue. Common with tobacco users, they result from irritations from habits like chewing on your cheek or wearing ill-fitting dentures. Leukoplakia are also associated with oral cancer. Treatment focuses on addressing the reasons for the lesion, such as quitting smoking or replacing dentures.

We treat patients from Westerville and the surrounding area

Ways to Relieve Dry Mouth

Ways to Relieve Dry Mouth

Does your mouth feel like it’s full of cotton? Or does it remind you of the Sahara Desert? Having an overly dry mouth can result from a variety of dental and medical issues. For example, one common culprit of dry mouth symptoms is related to medications. The best long-term solution is to consult your dentist or physician to determine the root cause of your dry mouth, and to get treatment to solve the problem. Sometimes all that is needed is to change to a different medication, and your dry mouth will disappear. However, here are some things you can try to temporarily relieve your dry mouth until you are able to determine what is causing it.

  • Sip water often.
  • Limit caffeine consumption, which can dry out your mouth even more.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy.
  • Use an over-the-counter saliva substitute, such as Biotene.
  • Do not use tobacco products of any kind.
  • Do not use mouthwashes containing alcohol, because it can be drying.
  • Avoid over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants, which can worsen your dryness symptoms.
  • Add moisture to the air using a humidifier.
  • Try to breathe through your nose instead of your mouth.

If you do experience the symptoms of dry mouth, it’s especially important to protect your oral health. Make sure you brush your teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride, and ask your dentist if prescription fluoride toothpaste would benefit you. Use a fluoride mouth rinse before bed to add an extra layer of protection for your teeth. Limit the amount of sugary foods or items high in acids, as both of these types of foods increase your risk of tooth decay. Following these tips for relieving dry mouth symptoms can make it more comfortable for you to eat, swallow, and talk.

If you need a dentist in Westerville contact us today

Oral Health Concerns for Middle Aged Folks

Oral Health Concerns for Middle Aged Folks

As we age, our birthdays tend to bring new oral health issues along with them. It’s a fact of life that our teeth and gums are impacted by our age. Here are some common problems to watch for, and suggestions for treatment.

Gum disease:
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital to avoid gum disease. The first stage is called gingivitis and it’s reversible. If untreated, it can lead to a very serious advanced stage called periodontitis. You may not experience signs of gum disease, so practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist are the best ways to keep it at bay.

Tooth sensitivity:
If cold or hot foods cause you discomfort, you have a common problem called tooth sensitivity. It can result from decay, worn fillings, gum disease, broken teeth, or exposed roots. Your dentist may recommend toothpastes designed to reduce sensitivity, or other treatments based on the cause of your problem. Good oral hygiene can help with sensitivity also.

Missing teeth:
If you are missing any teeth, it not only looks unappealing but it can also affect your ability to eat and speak. Your other teeth may move, and bone loss can occur. Discuss treatment options with your dentist because you might be able to restore your smile. Bridges, implants, and dentures are a few of the dental advances that might help.

Dry mouth:
Medicines and some health conditions often cause your mouth to be overly dry. Having a dry mouth is uncomfortable, but it also can seriously impact your teeth and gums. Without saliva to naturally clean your mouth, the risks of tooth decay and other problems increase. Ask your dentist to look for signs of decay, and to help you identify the cause for your dry mouth. Be sure to tell your dentist about your medical history and medications.

Oral cancer:
Oral cancer can include your gums, lips, cheeks, tongue, jaw, throat, or soft palate. It sometimes begins with just a tiny spot or swollen area, so regular dental checkups can help catch this disease early. A variety of treatment options are available, but early detection makes a difference.

Schedule your appointment at our Westerville dental office

Nail Biting: A Habit Worth Breaking

Nail Biting: A Habit Worth Breaking

Most people who bite their nails wish they didn’t do it. If you’re a nail biter, you probably know that it spreads germs and leaves your nails looking unattractive. But did you know that it can harm your teeth? Let’s find out the connection between nail biting and tooth damage, and learn some ways to stop this nasty habit.

What does nail biting do to my teeth?
Just like chewing on hard items like ice, nails are hard and put stress on your teeth when you bite down on them. With time, your teeth will weaken and your teeth can chip or break. Since nail biting is a repetitive habit, constant chewing on your teeth wears them down faster than they should. Your teeth also can become more sensitive when the enamel is worn down. Additionally, biting your nails can move your teeth out of place. Your gums are at risk too from the additional stress the nail biting puts on them, eventually leading to gum disease and even tooth loss.

What if I wear braces?
Braces already add pressure on your teeth, so nail biting can stress them even more. The roots of your teeth can be weakened, which leads to problems like tooth loss.

How can I stop biting my nails?

Here are some tips to help you stop the nail biting habit:

  • Get a hobby that uses your hands, like video games, knitting, or painting.
  • Occupy your mouth by chewing sugarless gum, sucking on mints, or eating carrot sticks.
  • Add foods to your diet containing calcium and magnesium because they help repair and grow your nails.
  • Cover your nails with tape, petroleum jelly, fake nails (for girls), or foul-tasting liquid.
  • Get manicures to make your nails look nice, so you will be less inclined to bite them.

If you need a dentist in Westerville contact us today

What Your Teeth Say About Your Health

What Your Teeth Say About Your Health

Your body is a little bit like a puzzle. It gives you clues to help you figure out what’s going on within your body. Did you know your mouth can give you hints about things that may be happening elsewhere in your body? Here’s a list of some of the signs your mouth can give you to pay attention to certain other aspects of your health.

Worn teeth and headache

If your teeth are showing extensive wear, you may be grinding your teeth. This would be even a stronger possibility if you’re also experiencing regular headaches, which can be caused by the muscle tension related to teeth grinding. This condition also indicates that you are likely under too much stress, and that you are unconsciously coping with it by grinding your teeth.

Gums covering teeth

If your gums begin to grow over your teeth and you are on medication, it may mean that your medication is at fault. Some medicines can cause your gums to overgrow, and the dosage needs to be adjusted.

Mouth sores

An open sore in your mouth that doesn’t go away in a couple of weeks can be an indicator of oral cancer. Numbness and unexplained bleeding in your mouth are other signs. Smokers and people over age 60 are at the most risk, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect others too. See your dentist to make sure all is okay.

Cracked teeth

If your teeth begin to crack or wear extensively, you may have gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD). It’s a digestive disease that allows stomach acid to flow back into your food pipe and mouth. This acid can cause your teeth to deteriorate. Additional signs of GERD are acid reflux, heartburn, and dry mouth.

Unclean dentures

If you wear dentures, make sure you remove and clean them regularly. Inhaling food debris from your dentures that makes its way to your lungs can lead to pneumonia.

If you live in the Westerville area contact us today

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