xerostomia

Tips on Living Long and Healthy

September 16th, 2019

Now that we're into the month of September, it's time to focus our attention on how to improve our overall health in honor and celebration of Healthy Aging Month! This yearly observance focuses on highlighting tips to help individuals improve their physical and mental health as adults get older. This means also focusing on oral health, since the mouth is a window to the rest of the body. In fact, gum disease, which is common in older people, has been found to be linked with memory loss. Which means taking care of your mind may rely heavily on taking care of your mouth! It is important to realize that as we continue to age, there are changes that occur within the mouth that affect our teeth and the surrounding gums and bone. It is key to minimize damage to our oral cavity at any age by maintaining regular dental visits, and keeping up with good oral hygiene habits each day. Often, poor oral health becomes a factor that worsens existing chronic health problems that an individual may face, including heart disease and diabetes.

In addition, older adults may often be taking several medications daily, which can lead to dry mouth. Not only is the feeling of dry mouth annoying, but it also is harmful to your teeth because it can increase your risk of developing tooth decay due to less saliva being present within the mouth.

No matter what age we are, it is always a great time to start practicing healthy lifestyle habits. Take a look at these tips for healthy aging:

NIH Living Longer Infographic

1. Drink plenty of water!

Staying hydrated is very important for our bodies. Tap water is the best resource because it contains fluoride, which plays a major role in keeping your teeth healthy.

2. Healthy snacks are the way to go

We need to be a little picky with our food choices in order to have a diet that is healthy for our teeth and body. Snacks filled with protein including yogurt, cheese, and nuts make great healthy and tooth-friendly snacks. Also eating foods high in iron, such as spinach, meats, and beans, can help give you the energy you need for each day. Avoid eating sugary foods and candy, as these items aren't so tooth-friendly despite their tastiness.

3. Brushing and flossing habits at home

It is important to brush at least twice a day, and floss at least once a day to help wash away all of the food particles and bacteria within the mouth that could cause harm to your pearly whites. If you wear any oral appliances, such as a retainer or denture, be sure to clean these since bacteria can harbor themselves there too! Fluoride Mouthwash also makes for a good addition to your oral care habits. Not only does the mouth wash help make your breath smell nice and fresh, it also may contain beneficial fluoride and can easily be added to your night and/or morning time routine.

4. Be active

Exercise is essential for staying healthy as we get older. Adults are recommended to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.

5. Schedule your dental visit

Be sure that your are visiting your dentist for a regular check up at least twice a year to ensure that your teeth are healthy.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://healthyaging.net/healthy-lifestyle/oral-health/

https://www.deltadentalma.com/About-Us/News/2016/For-Healthy-Aging-Month,-know-your-mouth-may-hold

https://healthyaging.net/healthy-lifestyle/september-is-healthy-aging-month-10-tips-to-celebrate/

https://healthyaging.net/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/

GettyImages-579980625-56c667695f9b5879cc3e17ea.jpg

NIA Living Longer Infographic.png

Could There Be Bacteria On Your Retainer?

November 27th, 2018

We all know the importance of brushing our teeth to keep bacteria away in order to preserve the health of our teeth. But many who wear clear aligners or retainers to help keep teeth straight may not know that they also need to keep bacteria away from these appliances to keep their teeth healthy. Retainers are commonly instructed to be worn after having braces to correct one’s bite so that the teeth do not shift out of the correct position over time. Beware of the myth: Retainers are bacteria-free so long as you brush your teeth twice a day and do not eat with the retainer on. The truth is that bacteria and plaque can easily accumulate on your retainer whether eating or not, and it is therefore recommended to clean retainers every time you brush your teeth. Here are some ways you can keep your retainer clean, some interesting new research, and what can happen if you don't clean your retainer:

"What signs indicate that my retainer isn't clean?"

If your retainer hasn't been cleaned regularly, you may start to notice a smell or bad taste from the retainer. You may also start seeing a cloudy film on the retainer or white spots, which could indicate tartar/mineral buildup that can cause dental cavities. Retainers may even break or crack due to bacteria.

"How should I clean my retainer?"

Be sure to drink plenty of water, which can help prevent bacterial growth, dry mouth, and damage to the retainer. Acidic drinks like soda and sports drinks can negatively impact not only your teeth, but your retainer also!

Retainers should be cleaned with a soft-brisltled toothbrush, every time you brush your teeth. In addition you can use a cotton swab to clean deep grooves and ridges. Check with your dentist about soaking your retainer for about 20 minutes or the instructed amount of time in a denture or retainer cleaner, for instance Efferdent or Polident. Rinsing with non-alcoholic mouthwash and cold for about 3 minutes can also help fight bacteria found on the retainer. Make sure to avoid placing your retainer in hot temperature water because it can distort the retainer. Also, gently scrub and clean your retainer case, which can  harbor bacteria.

"What if I don't clean my retainer?"

If you don’t clean your retainer, it will become the home of bacteria including Streptococcus that can breakdown your enamel. In addition, the opportunistic pathogen, Candida albicans, a yeast which is normally found within the mouth may cause an infection known as oral thrush. These infections may negatively impact your health particularly if you are immunocompromised.

Researchers are now looking at additional ways to help fight the bacteria that are wearing down tooth enamel and the plastics in retainers. Published in May 2018 in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, researchers created a layered film with stronger materials that are hydrophilic (love water) and applied it to dental retainers, which helped prevent the bacteria from sticking to the retainers. They found that the growth of bacteria went down by 75%.

Overall, it is important to know that keeping a clean retainer is equally as important as keeping your teeth clean!

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Aliand their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emadis happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghaziwould be more than willing to help.

The caring team at Wellesley Dental Groupwill be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.comto set up an appointment and consultation.

References:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180523133250.htm

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317894.php

 

Drink More Water!

October 17th, 2016

Looking for a cheap and easy way to improve your well-being and oral health at the same time? The solution to staying healthy can be as simple as drinking more water every day.

A recent study published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics that studied the dietary habits of over 18, 000 adults in the U.S. provided evidence that most people who increased their intake of plain water (tap water, water from a drinking fountain, bottled water, etc.) by one percent decreased their intakes of sugar, sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, and daily calorie intake. Drinking more water especially benefits those who wish to control their weight.

In addition to overall health benefits, an increase in water intake also prevents dry mouth (xerostomia), a condition that results when there is a lack of saliva to keep your mouth wet and moisturized. Some symptoms of dry mouth include bad breath, mouth sores, a burning or dry sensation in the mouth, tongue, and throat, cracked lips, and gum irritation. By drinking more water, you can minimize and relieve dry mouth.

If you need another reason to increase your water intake, tap water is especially beneficial for your oral health. Tap water often contains fluoride, which prevents tooth decay in a safe, natural, and effective way.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

Resources:

http://ottmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/health-benefits-of-drinking-water-1.jpg

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160301174759.htm

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/conditions/dry-mouth

http://www.ada.org/en/public-programs/advocating-for-the-public/fluoride-and-fluoridation

Oral Health Is Still Important After 50!

October 1st, 2016

senior-couple-brushing-teeth

Unlike wine, teeth don't always get finer with age! However, with all the advanced technology we have today, it's not uncommon for older adults to keep their natural teeth by maintaining their oral health with a proper hygiene routine and a healthy diet.

Here are some tips you can follow to ensure a healthy smile:

  • Brush with a fluoride toothpaste at least two times a day to decrease your risk for cavities
  • Use a soft toothbrush to prevent wearing down gum tissue and sensitive areas
  • Floss and use interdental cleaners regularly to clean areas your toothbrush can't reach
  • Keep making appointments with your dentist

If you suffer from xerostomia (dry mouth), a side effect of some medications, make sure to drink plenty of water, chew sugar-free gum, or use oral moisturizers so you're less likely to get cavities or gum disease.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

Resources:

http://www.senior1care.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/senior-couple-brushing-teeth.jpg

http://www.caledonianrecord.com/features/health/dental-health-after/article_1d46046d-d02f-5e38-bf1b-331ca73bafa7.html

http://seniorsoralhealth.org/?doing_wp_cron=1473121507.1317451000213623046875

Depression Is a Threat to Oral Health

May 23rd, 2016

Did you know that depression, a common serious mental health and mood disorder, is linked to poor oral health care? If you suffer from depression, you may have a lack of motivation to take care of yourself and experience decreased salivation, which can directly impact oral health. Risk factors for depression include: personal or family history, major stress, and certain illnesses or side effects of medications.

Some signs and symptoms of depression are:

  • lasting feelings of sadness, anxiousness, emptiness, hopelessness, or pessimism
  • irritability
  • lack of energy/motivation
  • no interest in activities
  • guilt, worthlessness, etc.
  • difficulty concentrating or sleeping

There are many different types of depression, including:

  • persistent depression disorder (dysthymia): depressive symptoms for at least two years
  • perinatal depression: major depression during or after pregnancy (postpartum)
  • psychotic depression: severe depression and psychosis (delusions, hallucinations, etc.)
  • seasonal affective disorder: depression during the winter months

Depression is directly linked to oral health, because its consequences include xerostomia (dry mouth), a cariogenic diet (diet composed of sweets), and a poor immune system that can lead to oral infections. Risk for cardiovascular diseases also increases with depression.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and their newest addition to the team, Dr. Zarah Ali, if you have any thoughts or concerns. The caring team at Wellesley Dental Group will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other periodontal or oral surgery needs, Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

Resources:

http://dualdiagnosis.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/bigstock-Girl-Sits-In-A-Depression-On-T-52227706-300x207.jpg

http://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2016/03/how-depression-threatens-oral-health-and-other-oral-systemic-links.html

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

Oral Health for seniors

June 30th, 2010

Older couple 

Children are at risk for dental cavities, but did you know that the senior population is also at risk?

One would think that dental cavities would be a "stage" that we could outgrow, and that if we made it through most of our adult life without new cavities, then we'd be home free. 

This is actually not the case, and something to consider when you are taking a look at your health and the health of any seniors in your life.

So for those age 65 and over, the risk for decay starts increasing again.  Aging as well as many common medications cause dry mouth, which reduces our saliva production.  Saliva is a great weapon against plaque build up and a lack of it is a risk factor. 

If you feel that you're experiencing dry mouth, please check with your dentist.  Drinking more water may help.  For those on medications, check with your physician to see if you can switch to a prescription without dry mouth (xerostomia) as a side-effect.

Dr. Femina Ali gave a presentation this year for the Wellesley Senior Council on Aging and at North Hill in Needham for a group of retirees.  Geriatric dentistry is a growing field - patients who have never before needed medical services may find the need to establish relationships with specialists.

Medications and dry mouth

March 24th, 2010

Mouth and GumXerostomia, also known as "Dry Mouth" affects up to 30% of people over age 65. 

If you have dry mouth, it may be caused by many common medications. There are hundreds of which dry mouth is a side effect.

 

Some of the medications (including over the counter) include:

  • Painkillers
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Parkinson's Disease drugs
  • Antihistamines
  • Antihypertensives
  • Diuretics
  • Antidepressants

When people have dry mouth, they produce less saliva.  Saliva is a great natural defense against dental decay, so increasing saliva flow is important at this point.  Chewing sugarfree gum and drinking more water are popular options, in addition to suggestions by your physician and dentist. If you have dry mouth, please discuss this with your oral health provider.

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