March 20th, 2018
In fancy medical terms, dry mouth is known as xerostomia. It’s really just what it sounds like: a condition in which you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Dry mouth can be the result of certain medications you’re taking, aging, tobacco use, nerve damage, or chemotherapy.
Depending on whether you’re aware of the cause of your dry mouth, here are some simple ways to keep it at bay:
- Avoid drinks that contain alcohol or caffeine
- Avoid tobacco use, or lower your consumption of tobacco
- Floss after every meal
- Brush your teeth after every meal using a fluoride toothpaste
- Avoid foods that have a high level of salt
- Stay hydrated and drink water frequently
- Consider using a humidifier at night
If you have any questions about dry mouth and how it is affecting you, give our South Easton, MA office a call or make sure to ask Dr. Yoon J. Kim during your next visit!
March 13th, 2018
Oral-systemic health is the idea that oral health is a critical and interconnected component to a patient’s overall health and well-being. Studies show that people who have poor oral health are more likely to have other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or a high likelihood of stroke.
Some of the data suggests that oral pathogens may trigger up to 50% of heart attacks, and that the oral bacteria P. gingivalis may cause a 13.6-fold increase in patients’ risk of a heart attack.
Still, the exact relationship between oral and overall health isn't fully known — whether one causes the other or how treating one might affect the other. But it should serve as a warning call to anyone suffering with poor oral health, especially periodontal disease.
More studies need to be conducted to establish the precise link between the two, but whatever it is, one thing is certain: good oral hygiene makes for good oral health. Many dentists and doctors realize the need to work together as a cohesive healthcare team to improve and maintain the health of their communities.
The American Dental Association says oral health is essential to overall health, and not just a luxury. They are setting goals to reduce the amount of tooth decay in low-income communities for both children and adults.
So what is a patient about this information regarding oral-systemic health? Here are some tips to increase and maintain your overall well-being:
- Have an effective oral hygiene routine. Brush twice a day for two minutes each time, floss daily, clean your tongue, and avoid sugary beverages.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Regular cleanings and checkups at your dentist’s office will keep your mouth clean and ensure you’re taking good care of it.
- Eat a healthful diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and natural, unprocessed foods contributes to the overall health of your body.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of pure, clean water throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to drink eight eight-ounce glasses a day.
- Relax, destress. Stress can play a big role in all forms of disease. Take time during your day to relax, meditate, stretch, and allow your body and mind to rest.
If you have questions about your oral health and how it may be affecting your general health, feel free to ask Dr. Yoon J. Kim during your next visit to our South Easton, MA office.
March 6th, 2018
Because babies’ teeth don’t appear until around six to eight months of age, it’s a natural misconception that they don’t need dental care. But the steps you take as the parent of an infant can help your baby maintain good oral health and develop healthy dental habits in the future.
It’s easy to take care of a baby’s teeth and gums, especially when oral hygiene for your infant becomes part of the normal daily routine. Learn more about how you can promote good dental health for your baby with these tips and considerations.
Taking Care of Baby’s Oral Hygiene
- Dental Hygiene for Birth to Six Months. Cleaning your infant’s gums is as important as cleaning teeth will be later. Hold your baby in your arms, and with a clean, moistened washcloth wrapped around your index finger, gently massage his or her gums.
- Dental Hygiene for Six to 12 Months. After teeth begin to appear, it’s time to switch to a soft, children’s toothbrush for teeth cleaning. New research has shown that fluoride toothpaste is safe and recommended for use once your baby’s first tooth arrives. Gently brush your baby’s teeth after each feeding, in the morning, and before bedtime, just as you did before teeth appeared.
- Good Bedtime Habits. One of the most important things you can do to protect your infant from tooth decay is to avoid the habit of putting baby to bed with a bottle. Use other soothing bedtime activities, such as rocking and lullabies, to help your baby drift off to sleep.
- A Note about Dental Decay. Many people are unaware that dental decay is transmissible. Avoid placing your baby’s bottle, sippy cup, or pacifier in your own mouth to test the temperature. Likewise, don’t share utensils with your baby.
Partner With Your Dentist
Your baby should receive his or her first dental health checkup by the age of six months. Even though your infant may not have teeth yet, Dr. Yoon J. Kim can assess the risk your baby might face for oral diseases that affect hard or soft tissues. Dr. Yoon J. Kim can also provide you with instructions for infant oral hygiene, and explain what steps to add as your baby grows and develops.
East End Dental Wellness is your partner for good oral health, and we’re here to make caring for your baby’s dental hygiene and health easier and more enjoyable for you.
February 27th, 2018
Xylitol tastes sweet, but unlike sugar, it is not converted to acid that can cause your teeth to decay. It’s a naturally occurring sweetener found in plants, fruits, and vegetables; even the human body produces it in small amounts. Xylitol is widely used in sugar-free chewing gum, mints, candies, and even certain forms of medicine.
The World Health Organization has approved xylitol because only a small amount is needed for its health benefits. It’s even safe for diabetics, with a glycemic index of only seven. Xylitol has 40% fewer calories than other types of carbs: less than three calories per gram.
So how can this natural sweetener benefit your oral health? Take a look at the facts. Tooth decay starts when bacteria consumes the sugars left in your mouth. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria on your teeth will multiply and make acid that can destroy your enamel.
Xylitol is derived from fibrous parts of plants, so it does not break down like a regular sugar. It actually helps maintain a neutral pH level in the mouth, which in turn prevents bacteria from sticking to the teeth. The bacteria are then unable to digest xylitol, which means your teeth won’t develop enamel damage and cavities.
Studies have shown the consumption of xylitol as a sugar substitute or a dietary addition had a dramatic reduction in new cavities and even reversed existing cavities. These effects are long lasting: low cavity rates remained years after the trials were done.
When there’s less bacteria and acid in your mouth due to xylitol, your teeth stay healthier. The more frequently it’s ingested, the more you will prevent enamel damage.
Aim to consume around five grams a day, or one gram every three hours if possible. You can do this by consuming gum, tablets, candy, or mints that have xylitol as one of the first ingredients after your meals. You can find these products in health food stores and specialty grocery stores.
Since xylitol replaces sugar on a one-to-one ratio, it’s used in several common items:
- Mouth rinse
- Baby oral wipes, gel, and pacifiers
- Nasal wash
- Dry mouth spray
- Granulated forms for cooking
- Granulated packets to add to drinks
- Commercially prepared foods
Make sure to pick up items that contain xylitol the next time you’re at the store! This is an easy way to maintain great oral health. If you have specific questions about xylitol, ask Dr. Yoon J. Kim during your next appointment at our South Easton, MA office.