Did You Know?

What is Dry Mouth Syndrome?

Understanding the Dry Mouth Syndrome

When there’s persistent lack of saliva in the mouth, it’s a condition called ‘xerostomia’ or ‘dry mouth’. If individuals do not have enough saliva they are unable to keep their mouths hydrated, leading to an environment that is prone to many oral issues.

Dry Mouth: Causes, Symptoms, and Relief Tips

Dry mouth is more prevalent in the aging population. Symptoms include cracked lips, bad breath, and sticky saliva. Spicy foods and sugary drinks should be avoided as these exacerbate the dryness and make the oral cavity more prone to inflammation and infection.

What causes ‘dry mouth’?

Many medications can cause dry mouth, including antihistamines, decongestants, antihypertensives, antidiarrheals, muscle relaxants, urinary continence drugs; also some but not all of these meds can cause dry mouth – Parkinson’s disease drugs and antidepressants. It may also mean that older persons experience dry mouth syndrome due to the medications they take, and not necessarily due to aging. Cancer treatment, like radiotherapy to the head and neck, can also damage the salivary glands, decrease production or alter the nature. Surgery or any injury to the head and neck can also result in dry mouth.

Use of tobacco products also increases risk of dry mouth symptoms. Not drinking enough fluids, water especially, can dehydrate the mouth. Exposure to heat or exercising for extended periods can cause the salivary glands to dry up as bodily fluids are concentrated elsewhere in the body. There are some health conditions, illnesses, and habits can cause dry mouth, such as: anxiety disorders and depression, snoring or sleeping with open mouths, poorly controlled diabetes, Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

When you have dry mouth, watch out for the following symptoms: bad breath, taste disorders, painful tongue, fungal infections of the mouth (like thrush), inflammation and fissuring of the lips, cracking and fissuring of the inner lining of the cheeks and lips, and soreness or splitting of the corners of the mouth.

How do you relieve the symptoms of dry mouth?

Firstly, hydration is key. Apart from drinking water, sipping non-carbonated, sugar-free fluids will be sufficient hydration; also eat carrots or celery. Choose gum that contains xylitol or a saliva substitute (carboxymethyl cellulose) as a mouthwash. But avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol. Breath through the nose rather than via the mouth. Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol, spicy, sugary, acidic, and dry foods.

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Dealing with Dry Mouth? Contact our Lynnwood dentist.

If you think you are bothered with dry mouth, all you have to do is make a visit to Lynnwood Song Dental for a consultation and let’s see its causes and understand its other symptoms.

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Gingivitis: Signs, Causes and Risk Factors

Understanding Gingivitis

You could regard gingivitis as a non-destructive form of gum disease, but if it doesn’t get treated, it can turn into to its destructive type – periodontitis. If you’re noticing red and puffy gums that bleed easily when you brush your teeth or are painful to touch, you may have gingivitis. Many people may not know if they have gingivitis as most times the condition does not have severe symptoms. More advanced signs are halitosis or bad breath, inflammation, or swollen gums, and receding gums.

There are two main categories of gingival diseases.

One is dental plaque-induced gingival disease, which can be caused by plaque, systemic factors, medications, or malnutrition. The other is non-plaque induced gingival lesions. This can be caused by a specific bacteria, virus, or fungus. Other causes are genetic factors, systemic conditions (including allergic reactions and certain illnesses), wounds, or reactions to foreign bodies, such as dentures. Sometimes, there is no specific cause.

What exactly causes gingivitis?

The most common cause of gingivitis is the accumulation of bacterial plaque between and around the teeth. Plaque is a biofilm that accumulates naturally on the teeth, formed by colonizing bacteria sticking to the tooth. When plaque is not removed adequately it can harden into calculus usually at the gumline. The presence of plaque and calculus can irritate the gums, inflaming them.

Want to know the risk factors for gingivitis?

These are the conditions that make you prone to develop the inflammation. Apart from advancing age and strong family history, which enables one to develop it early in life, other risk factors are: smoking, poor diet (especially lack of vitamin C), and certain medications like anticonvulsants and anti-angina drugs. Changes in hormones occurring during puberty, menopause, the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy can make the gums more sensitive, raising the risk of inflammation. Also some diseases like cancer, diabetes, and HIV which are linked to a higher risk of gingivitis.

If caught early enough, gingivitis is treatable and reversible. Treatment involves cleaning by a professional, called scaling. It can be uncomfortable and the procedure’s duration can be as short or as long depending on the extent of plaque and calculus present on teeth. Home care tips will be given involving proper oral hygiene, follow-up appointments may be required, or corrective procedures may be suggested by your dentist, like fixing a cracked tooth or a bad overbite.

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Fighting Gingivitis in Lynnwood

The final results of a thorough cleaning by a professional is a satisfactory feeling of cleanliness, freshness of breath and brightness of the smile. Experience this and more at Lynnwood Song Dental Center.

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Early Dental Visits: Can Prevent Obesity in Children

Eating Behaviors Can be Good or Bad

When talking about children’s dental health, parents have a huge role in guiding their child towards proper hygiene routine and eating habits. It has been proved that what children eat is a determinant of their state of health. The types of food and drinks they take, how often and how much are behavioral patterns that parents should check. One of the effects of bad eating behavior is weight gain, a potential hazard.

From the University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, a thesis was published on the dental health of 271 pre-school and primary school children in the country. A sub-study included their eating behavior and BMI. The children’s height, weight, and food intake over one day were compared with the prevalence of cariogenic microorganisms in saliva. There was no doubt about the link. The children who had higher amount of caries bacteria also had significantly higher BMI and worse eating habits. They consumed more sugar-rich foods and ate more frequently.

Fortunately in Sweden, children meet their dentists at an early age so there is timely intervention and children become aware about good and bad eating habits. However, there is a need for a good level of collaboration between the general dentistry, the child health care and schools.

Children who followed to a higher extent the general dietary recommendations – whole grain products, 400-500 grams of fruit and vegetables per day, fish two to three times a week and a low intake of sugar and saturated fat – reported better outcomes. They had better mental well-being, increased self-esteem, better relationships with friends and fewer emotional problems. Research further shows that good self-esteem could be linked to the healthier eating habits, two years later. It was reported that the effects were achieved regardless of socio-economic background, and regardless of the children’s weight.

The study also highlights that children between the age of 2-10 who were stopped from eating by their parents were generally overweight 5-6 years later. It doesn’t work that way. Parents have to look at other methods to control their child’s eating habits. The researchers say that parents have to also make healthy choices for themselves. The entire thesis is based on data from a large European study, the aim of which is to document and prevent childhood obesity.

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Children’s Oral Health in Lynnwood

Early dental visits are key to molding parents and children to the awareness of right eating habits. Here at Song Dental in Lynnwood, we inculcate the proper eating behavior to avoid the perils of obesity.

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How To Enjoy Food Without Staining your Teeth

No Worries About Teeth Staining

Some of the foods and drinks we consume everyday are quite notorious teeth stainers. You want to enjoy them yet you know they can discolor your teeth or make their discoloration even worst. It can be tiresome to keep your teeth clean. Yet your favorite foods and drinks are hard to resist. Many tasty foods are either sugary or acidic; they can slowly and progressively weaken enamel.

Some of the most notorious teeth stainers are red wine, coffee or tea, curry, soda, beets, tomato sauce, soy sauce. There’s also pigmented fruit, like blackberries, blueberries, and pomegranates, as well as fruit juices, and, of course, balsamic vinegar. Smoking is likewise a teeth stainer. However, you do love to indulge in your favorites. How do you do it without getting those awful teeth stains? Here are a few tips to how one can enjoy the food and drink you want and still avoid or minimize staining.

Drink through a straw. If you sip your drink using a straw, you are aiming your drink towards the back of the mouth. This way, contact of the liquid with your teeth and gums is limited, lessening the staining effects.

Brush teeth often. Brush at least twice a day, or a third time if need be, after consuming acidic or sugary products. It has been advised that after a highly acidic intake, wait at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth. Not immediately after, or vigorously gargle with water first and waiting a while before brushing. You are avoiding scrubbing the acid all over your teeth. Of course, floss daily.

Avoid brushing with natural toothpaste. These products tend not to have any fluoride in them, hence, will not be able to re-mineralize enamel. We know that fluoride makes teeth stronger and more resistant to decay by mineralization. You can also alternate the use of non-abrasive toothpaste and whitening toothpaste with silica which scrub away stains that may build up between your regular cleanings. For sensitive teeth, use paste with calcium hydroxide.

Use an alcohol-free mouthwash. Alcohol dries out your mouth, limiting salivary production and, if overused, can dry out the gums and can stunt nourishment, causing gum recession.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Water neutralizes the pH in the mouth, freshens it, and washes away debris. Also eat green, leafy veggies which tend to brush away debris and remove some stains.

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More Dental Tips by our Lynnwood Dentist

Have more fun with your favorite food and drinks when you come see us in Lynnwood. You can always enjoy eating and drinking with the proper guidance, and keep your mouth healthy and fresh.

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New Dental Product: Rebuilding Teeth After Caries

An Idea that Works in Theory

Dental cavities are one of the leading causes of poor oral health, affecting nearly every age group and accompanying by serious health concerns. While there are other causes, still the progress of cavities can variably lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss. The cost of treatment is a huge economic burden for individuals and the health care systems in general. Good oral hygiene is the best prevention, yet there are disproportionate sufferers across some socio-economic groups.

According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of dental cavities in Americans is again on the rise, suggesting a regression in the progress of combating this disease.

Researchers at the University of Washington have designed a convenient and natural product that uses proteins to rebuild tooth enamel and treat dental cavities. The team is looking into the body’s own natural tooth-forming proteins as a way to repair tooth enamel. One of them, amelogenin, is crucial to forming the hard crown enamel, so they designed amelogenin-derived peptides that biomineralize and are the key active ingredient here. The repair process restores the mineral structure found in natural tooth enamel.

The peptides are proven to bind onto tooth surfaces and attract calcium and phosphate ions. This peptide-enabled technology allows the deposition of 10 to 50 micrometers of new enamel on the teeth after each use. The process here is remineralization guided by peptides.

The new biogenic dental products can, in theory, rebuild teeth and cure cavities without costly and cumbersome treatments. It’s a natural, healthy alternative to current dental health care. Peptide-enabled formulations will be simple and would be implemented in over-the-counter or clinical products.

Once this technology is fully developed, it can be used in private and public health settings, in biomimetic toothpaste, gels, solutions and composites as a safe alternative to existing dental procedures and treatments. It will enable people to rebuild and strengthen tooth enamel on a daily basis as part of a preventive dental care routine. It is expected to be safe for use by adults and children.
The research finding was first published in ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

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Looking To The Future of Caries Treatment

While this new technology is promising in theory, it does look like to have a chance in the future. In the meanwhile, Lynnwood dentistry offers the time-tested restorative treatments for carious teeth.

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Jaw-Popping: Party Trick Or Something Serious?

What’s Behind The Jaw Pop and What You Can Do

Did you know that your Temporomandibular Joints (or TMJ) are some of the most complex joints in your body? They are quite unique than other joints in that they’re not only able to open and close – they can slide back and forth and go from side to side. Sometimes the TMJ can pop or make clicking noise and sensation when you open your mouth wide. Fortunately, it’s not always a problem.

If popping your jaw causes you pain or uncomfortable symptoms like jaw stiffness, then you might be dealing with some form of TMJ disorder. When you open and close your mouth, you might feel any one of these symptoms – painful clicking or popping, jaw stiffness, feeling your jaw is “locking”, trouble opening your mouth, general jaw pain, or a change in your bite. This is according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).

What causes TMJ disorders?

Sometimes it’s not always clear, but there seems something wrong with the cartilage disc inside each of the joints. They’re called articular discs, slippery pieces of tissue supposed to prevent the skull and jawbone from grinding against each other. For instance, when you pop your jaw, there might be pain when one or both of the articular discs have been pushed forward from their usual location. This is a form of internal temporomandibular joint derangement, due to habits like clenching and grinding teeth severely or chewing gum until the jaw is exhausted.

Some experts say that jaw popping itself without associated pain does not require any intervention. The disc or both of them could be worn or irregularly shaped, but not severely enough to cause discomfort. Or maybe, the ligaments just happen to be extra-elastic and allow the lower half of the jaw to shift down causing a popping sound.

A dentist or doctor will physically examine you, listening to and feeling your jaw when you open and close your mouth, investigating the range of motion in your jaw, and pressing on areas around your jaw to see where you feel pain or discomfort. A CT scan can show problems with your jaw’s discs. In some cases, a TMJ arthroscopy can be done which involves inserting a small thin tube into the joint space, followed by a small camera.

If the diagnosis is a TMJ disorder, your specialist may recommend pain relievers like NSAIDs with muscle relaxants for a few days or weeks. An oral splint or special mouth guard, doing physical therapy, and behavioral changes (example, techniques to avoid teeth grinding) may be prescribed. In severe cases, it may be surgery to repair the joints or corticosteroid injections to ease inflammation and pain.

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Examining Your Jaw Pops in Lynnwood

Are you experiencing popping in your jaws every now and then? Is it accompanied by pain and discomfort, or not? Come to us and let’s have a look-see so you’ll know if there’s nothing to worry about.

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Is There A Rule About How Often You Should Floss?

To Floss or Not To Floss

There’s this nagging question at the center of oral hygiene debate. How often should you floss? Some people floss three times daily, others, whenever they remember. Others, only a few times after a dentist visit, then forget all about it.

In the 2015-2020 version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the government removed its recommendation for daily flossing. Before this, the Associated Press asked the Agriculture and Health and Human Services for their evidence that flossing was actually beneficial. The government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched, as required.

However, the American Academy of Periodontology quickly responded saying flossing is an important part of daily oral hygiene. They admit that studies are generally lacking, but in the absence of quality research, patients should continue to include flossing as a part of their daily hygiene. Later, the ADA released a statement saying that flossing is an essential part of taking care of teeth and gums.

What do you have to know about flossing?

Flossing helps to remove food particles and bacteria from between teeth and along the gum line. Gingivitis may result when bacteria builds up and forms plaque. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease that can develop into periodontitis. When left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. Dentists see bleeding gums, a high rate of cavities, bone loss, and bad breath in people who don’t make flossing a habit.

According to oral-health experts, no matter what the science says or doesn’t say, food particles would remain in between your teeth even after you brush. If you floss after you brush, then the debris you took out would not create future problems. It is hard to believe that flossing is not beneficial. Flossing may not be ‘essential’ as suggested, but it definitely is important in maintaining dental and periodontal health.

Ideally, flossing is every time you brush your teeth, at least twice a day – morning and night – and maybe after lunch, too. We should brush and floss after every meal to make sure there is no food or bacteria accumulating between the teeth. Other experts advice at least once daily. Flossing is only effective, however, if you do it correctly. The bottom line is, when combined with brushing, flossing every day is a great way to keep your mouth healthy.

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Finding Flossing Advocates in Lynnwood

We at Lynnwood Song Dental encourage interdental hygiene via the use of flossing instruments. Lynnwood dentistry believes in the importance of this routine in attaining optimal oral health.

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For Healthy Gums, Eat These Foods

What’s Good For Gums

Did you know that your food choices can dictate the health of your gums?

What is your lifestyle where food is concerned? Are you a high-carb eater, or are you a weight-watcher, hence more on a protein diet? You may be vegan or a vegetarian on the other hand. But where the health of your gums are at stake, did you know that there’s a diet that lowers your risk for gum disease? Studies have shown that consuming dairy products with lactic acid like milk, yogurt and cheese, had a lower risk for gum disease.

Studies have shown that consuming 55 grams or more of yogurt or lactic acid drinks on a daily basis can significantly lower the incidence of periodontal disease. However, though milk and cheese, which are also dairy, can be beneficial to gum health, they are not as good as yogurt or lactic acid drinks.

Yogurt is fermented milk product, manufactured by fermenting milk with lactic acid bacteria. It has a small percentage of alcohol and yeast is also added. Lactic drinks are further processed into drink type products by adding sugar and sometimes flavors to fermented milk. They are available as lactic drinks (example: Yakult) and pasteurized lactic drinks (example: Calpis). In theory, the probiotic bacteria, Lactobacillus, seemed to be related to healthy gums. Fermented milk drinks are Japan’s unique products and seldom seen elsewhere.

Did you know that drinking green tea may also lead to healthier gums?
Some studies also showed that the antioxidants in green tea have anti-inflammatory properties. Those who drink tea also take black tea to help suppress growth of bacteria that cause cavities and produce acids in the mouth.

We all know the connection between dietary Vitamin C and healthy gums. Research shows that fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and many other fruits and vegetables, contribute to healthier gums.

So if you are concerned with the health of your gums, be sure to store up on the above-mentioned foods to keep gums, literally, in the pink of health.

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Oral Health Advice by our Lynnwood Dentist

Here at Lynnwood Song Dental, we regard the health of your gums as essential to the health of your teeth. See us for a consult regarding care and treatment for periodontal conditions.

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Holidays Dental Advice: How To Be Cavity-Free

Staying Free of Cavities While It’s Christmas

You might really love your dentist but maybe this is not the person you’d like to spend time with during the holidays. Certainly not in the dental chair. So with the holidays coming, and the round of parties, drinking and dining, be sure to know how to keep yourself free from dental decay. Here are some tips to help you enjoy Christmas and the New Year without dental issues.

Always stay hydrated. Know that too much alcohol can dry out your mouth. There will be a lot of drinking around and you might forget that you’re actually imbibing tons of sugar and acid with your favorite alcohol, beside causing dryness. This will only make your teeth more susceptible to the bacteria that cause cavities. If you drink alcoholic beverages, try to drink plenty of water too.

Don’t use your teeth to crack nuts. There’ll be lots of nuts passing around during the holidays. But don’t test the strength of your teeth by shelling nuts with them. The hard surface of most nutshells can cause serious tooth and gum damage, and may even crack teeth. Better for you to shell nuts before snacking

Be careful with candy canes; they can be fun and can be great breath mints but they can damage your teeth. They are hard candy and can break or chip your teeth. They are also very sugary. Bad for teeth. Try not to bite down hard when enjoying. Drink lots of water, too.

Mind the starchy foods. You will be indulging in chips and dips, salads and pastas. Just take extra care when you floss that day to remove all the food particles that can lead to plaque build-up.

Choose your sticky foods. Sticky foods like caramel and taffy can even yank out fillings. Also, they can damage your teeth since they tend to stay on the teeth longer than other types of food. After a big meal, eat some sweets soon after. It increases saliva production and helps rinse away particles and cancel out acids produced by bacteria. Plenty of water with your meal helps wash away any remaining food particles.

Opening gifts and bottles? Just don’t do it with your teeth. Use the proper tools to open them, like scissors or a bottle opener instead. These habits can crack teeth, and you might not be wanting to go to the dentist for a new crown or a root canal.

Enjoying the Holidays in Lynnwood
Know more how you can protect yourself – your teeth and gums – in this merry season. You can still enjoy the holidays and yet maintain oral health. This is just friendly advice from your Lynnwood dentist.

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Preventing Gum Disease Decreases Health Risks

Simple Ways To Prevent Gum Disease

When it comes to oral health, people think more of teeth health. Hence, we consider proper oral hygiene practices, avoiding food and drinks that stain teeth, regular dental visits, we think we are only looking after our teeth. While it’s true that taking care of your teeth is important to stay healthy, most people forget the gums. They are an essential part of the mouth, but are are just as important to overall health as your teeth.

Gingivitis is early stage gum disease and is rather common. Signs may include red and puffy gums that bleed easily when tooth brushing.The condition often resolves with good oral hygiene. However, it is also common that mild cases may go unnoticed, presenting no distressing symptoms until it progresses to its more serious form – periodontitis.

Periodontitis is the leading cause of tooth loss and has been associated with a risk of serious diseases. This starts from swelling of gums and redness to complete destruction of the tooth’s bones, which is responsible for tooth loss. It has also been discovered that those with periodontitis have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and even pregnancy complications.
So how can gum disease be prevented? There are several proven ways.

Practice good oral hygiene everyday. Brush at least twice a day, floss daily, have mouth rinses. It can prevent plaque build-up and freshens the breath. Flossing removes food debris between teeth where toothbrushes can’t reach.

Quit smoking. It is strongly associated with gum disease. It weakens the immune system, making it harder to fight off gum infection. It also increases the risk of developing gum disease and makes treatment much more difficult.

Eat foods healthy for gums. Include green vegetables to your diet, such as broccoli, celery and green peppers. Consider also shiitake mushrooms, carrots, onions; among fruits, best are citrus fruits and apples. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are dairy products good for the gums.

See your dentist every 6 months for check-up and cleaning. Your dentist can detect if you have early symptoms of gum disease and can treat them right away before they get serious. Have a dental cleaning every six months to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Taking Care of Your Gums in Lynnwood

Bring down your health risks by taking care of your gums. At our Lynnwood dentistry, your gums are just as important as the teeth they support. See us for a consultation.

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