Persistent Dry Mouth?

Dental health General Dentistry Oral Health

The Harris Dental Guide To Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a condition where your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva, leaving you with a persistent dry feeling in your mouth. If you experience this, be sure to tell us at Harris Dental in Phoenix.

The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia, which is pronounced zero-STOE-me-uh. It’s a common side effect of certain medications, and is also common in people who are undergoing radiation treatment for cancer. It’s also caused by a condition of the salivary glands themselves, but that is less common.

Dry Mouth Causes

There are hundreds of different medications that list dry mouth as a side effect. This includes prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medicine. Antihistamines, decongestants, and pain medications may cause it, as well as many other drugs.

Dry mouth is also common in older people. Older people are often taking more medication than they did when younger. The body isn’t always as efficient in processing these medications as it once was.

Tobacco and alcohol use can also bring on symptoms of dry mouth, as well as so-called recreational drugs.

Chemotherapy may have an impact on the salivary glands, and their ability to produce saliva. It might return to normal once the treatment is finished.

Dry Mouth Complications

In addition to discomort, dry mouth can lead to increased plaque on the teeth. This can, in turn, lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Yeast infections and sores around the mouth can also occur.

People with dry mouth may also have poor nutrition, because chewing and swallowing are more difficult.

The treatment for dry mouth depends on what’s causing it. If you have persistent dry mouth but don’t know why, please let us know at Harris Dental in Phoenix. Our services include general and restorative dentistry. Call us to set up an appointment today.

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

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Gum Health Affects Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Dental health General Dentistry Gum disease Oral Health

gum disease increases diabetes risk Phoenix

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, we are concerned not only with the condition of your mouth, but also with how it affects your complete physical health and general well-being. This post looks at the connection between diabetes and oral health.

Scientists have known for quite some time that people with diabetes have higher rates of gum disease than those who don’t. Maintaining proper blood glucose levels is the key to minimizing the risk of gum disease and related problems for those affected.

Additional research is exploring the reverse relationship. In other words, whether poor oral health increases the risk of developing diabetes. Findings from a long-term study suggests that it does.

“We found that over two decades of follow-up, individuals who had periodontal disease were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life when compared to individuals without periodontal disease.” -Ryan T. Demmer, PhD, MPH1

Additional trials are exploring how tooth and gum health jolts the ability of diabetics to manage the disease.

“Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.”2

If you have diabetes, it is essential that you see a dentist regularly and are devoted to daily oral hygiene, proper nutrition, and other critical practices. In addition, your success in controlling your blood glucose levels will improve your oral health and vice-versa.

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, our services include gum disease treatment and general dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today!

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

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1Angelo Milone, “Does periodontal disease cause type 2 diabetes?,” Endocrine Today, November 2008, http://www.healio.com/endocrinology/diabetes/news/print/endocrine-today/%7Bacdccbd7-a2b2-4a9e-ac08-b29b53116908%7D/does-periodontal-disease-cause-type-2-diabetes, accessed August 12, 2015
2“Diabetes and Oral Health Problems,” American Diabetes Association, September 18, 2012, http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/diabetes-and-oral-health.html#sthash.9IlHJB8l.dpuf, accessed August 12, 2015

 

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Oral Cancer: Early Diagnosis Makes A Big Difference

Dental health General Dentistry Oral cancer screening Oral Health

oral cancer screening Phoenix

This post from Harris Dental in Phoenix serves as a reminder of how important oral cancer screenings can be.

When it comes to oral cancer survival outcomes, two numbers are key: 40% and 90%.

  • 40% of those who receive a late-stage diagnosis die within five years.
  • The survival rate for early stage diagnosis is 90%.

Oral Cavity and Oropharynx—Mouth and Throat

Cancers that start in the mouth (or oral cavity) are labeled oral cancers. The oral cavity is composed of the inside tissue of the mouth and cheeks, the lips, the tissue beneath the tongue, the roof of the mouth, and the front two-thirds of the tongue.

“Why only two-thirds of the tongue?” you might ask. Good question! The answer is that the back third of the tongue is considered part of the throat.

Throat cancers, or oropharyngeal cancers, start in the oropharynx, the part of the mouth behind the parts considered part of the oral cavity. The oropharynx is comprised of the soft palate, the tonsils, and the throat.

How Are Oral Cancers Diagnosed?

Some oral cancers create symptoms which prompt the patient to see a doctor and others are found by dentists and doctors during exams. Thousands of lives could be saved every year if more people received regular screenings.

A visual oral cancer exam is relatively quick and convenient, especially as compared to other cancer screening tests such as colonoscopies and mammograms. If an abnormality is discovered during an exam, the patient is referred to an appropriate specialist for further testing and diagnosis.

Oral Cancer Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use (cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or snuff)
  • Heavy drinking
  • Unhealthy diet
  • HPV infection
  • Weak immune system
  • Frequent exposure to UV light (a risk factor for cancers of the lips)

Oral cancer screenings save lives, and are an important part of what we do at Harris Dental in Phoenix. We also offer a wide range of general dentistry services. Schedule an appointment today!

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

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Cavity Fighting Chewing Gum?

Dental health General Dentistry Oral Health

Phoenix Oral DentistryAt Harris Dental in Phoenix we’ve been hearing more and more about Xylitol chewing gum. Does a type of gum really help prevent cavities?

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that was first discovered in birch tree bark but is also found in many fruits and vegetables. Unlike most other sweeteners (natural or synthetic), xylitol is actually beneficial for your teeth.

Numerous clinical studies have established that xylitol impedes the growth of the bacteria that initiates decay. It also diminishes plaque and strengthens tooth enamel.

Xylitol has other benefits, as well. Because it is low on the glycemic index, many of my patients with diabetes enjoy it as a healthy alternative to sugar. For those who live with frequent dry mouth, xylitol gum or mints can stimulate saliva production while preserving against cavities.

Is xylitol gum just as effective as brushing your teeth and seeing your family dentist regularly? Absolutely not! If you cannot brush your teeth after a meal, chewing xylitol gum for five or ten minutes is probably a good idea. However, you should still brush your teeth thoroughly (with a soft brush) after meals and get twice-yearly exams and dental cleanings.

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, our goal is to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for life by preventing dental problems before they start. Our services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment today.

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

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Top 10 Reasons To Visit Your Dentist

Dental health General Dentistry Oral Health

Visit Your Phoenix DentistYou smile deserves regular attention. If you haven’t had a dental exam in a while, think about these essential reasons to call us at Harris Dental in Phoenix:

  1. Check Up: It’s time, and this is the best way to prohibit dental problems.
  2. Clean Up: Our dental hygienist is ready to give you a super clean smile.
  3. Brush Up: If it has been a while since your last dental visit, it’s probably time to come in for a refresher course on correct dental hygiene.
  4. Avoid Pain: If you have dental pain and have been putting off a trip to the dentist, come in now, because we specialize in relieving dental pain.
  5. Fillings: We can find and fill all your dental cavities in almost no time at all. This will help you avoid more painful issues down the road, and helps some of those sensitivities to hot and cold.
  6. Prevent Gum Disease: Let us assess the health of your gums and suggest treatments or practices that are available to help you improve the health of your gums.
  7. A Whiter Smile: We can help. We have tooth whitening options available that will improve your smile and make your teeth whiter.
  8. Tooth Replacement: If you are missing a tooth, we can help restore your smile with the latest in tooth replacement technology.
  9. Cosmetic Dentistry: Considering making improvements to your smile? We can help you analyze the options.
  10. Confidence: Nothing brings you more confidence than a healthy smile.

At Harris Dental in Phoenix, your dental health is our top priority every day. Services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Call for an appointment today!

Contact Harris Dental:

480-428-0040

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

Connect with us.

 

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