IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN ORAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is linked to oral health, and vice versa. Good oral health can enhance mental and overall health, while poor oral health can exacerbate mental issues. Likewise, mental conditions can cause oral health issues. The connection between them is direct, cyclical and, when oral health is neglected, detrimental.

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DIABETES AND YOUR TEETH

Diabetes may cause serious problems with keeping your mouth healthy and having an attractive smile. The disease causes difficulties in the mouth, and problems in the mouth may cause trouble with diabetes. With diabetes, glucose is present in the saliva. When diabetes is not controlled, increased glucose in the saliva allows harmful bacteria to grow.   Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the most widespread chronic inflammatory condition worldwide, says Dr. Wayne Aldredge.

….FULL ARTICLE

SMART APPS FOR DENTAL HEALTH CARE

Oral health is often taken for granted. The mouth is a window into the health of the entire body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. Systemic diseases – those that affect the entire body – may first become apparent because of mouth lesions or other oral problems.   Regardless of age, oral health is very important. Positive oral health leads to improved overall health. More Americans today are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lives.

….FULL ARTICLE

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Your doctor will prescribe treatment based on the cause of your dry mouth. He or she commonly changes medications or dosages of drugs. The doctor may prescribe something to moisturize the mouth, such as Biotene, a mouthwash, or drugs that increase saliva production, such as Pilocarpine and Cevimeline. Your dentist can provide treatment to prevent or treat oral caries commonly caused by dry mouth. He might also prescribe a fluoride toothpaste that helps cut down on dental caries.


Here are some more tips for dealing with dry mouth:


1.  Keep water nearby and sip frequently.

2.  Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy.

3.  Breathe through your nose rather than through your mouth.

4.  Use a room humidifier at night to add moisture to the air.

5.  Use moisturizer to treat cracks in the lips.

6.  Avoid caffeine and alcohol as well as tobacco products, all of which may worsen dry mouth.

7.  Avoid spicy foods.

8.  Have frequent check-ups with your dentist.

Everyone has a dry mouth occasionally, but when dry mouth persists over time, it can become a problem. Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is fairly common and can range from being annoying to being a serious source of tooth decay. It can cause infection in the mouth and poor nutrition because of problems with chewing. It may also be an impediment to good overall health, not just oral health.


Symptoms of dry mouth may include a feeling of dryness and/or burning in your mouth or throat; thick saliva; bad breath; gum irritation; gum disease; and having a hard time chewing, swallowing and/or speaking. Another common symptom is hoarseness. Your sense of taste may change as well. Often in xerostomia, the lips become cracked, the tongue is dry and rough and occasionally there are mouth sores.


Dry mouth is likely due to a decrease in saliva. It happens when the glands in the mouth that make saliva are not working properly. The salivary glands could be impaired due to:


1.  Medications. There are over 400 drugs whose side effects include dry mouth. High blood pressure and depression medications, along with antihistamines, decongestants, muscle relaxants and some pain medications are most likely to cause dry mouth.

DRY MOUTH A COMMON ORAL HEALTH PROBLEM

JEAN JEFFERS

Jean is an RN with an MSN from University of Cincinnati. She is a staff writer for Living Well 60 Plus and Health & Wellness magazines.

more articles by jean jeffers

2.  Aging. This period in life does not implicitly cause dry mouth, but seniors are more likely to take drugs that cause it or to have other health conditions that lead to dry mouth.


3.  Cancer therapy. Both chemother- apy and radiation used in cancer treatment may cause dry mouth. They interfere with production of saliva by causing damage to the salivary glands.


4.  Other health conditions. HIV/AIDS and diabetes are two conditions that cause dry mouth.


5.  Smoking. Using tobacco products may cause dry mouth.


If you notice you have a dry mouth and it persists, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the situation. Your doctor will ask you a number of questions and also perform an oral exam. Sometimes blood tests are required or imaging scans of the salivary glands are taken.