All Posts tagged Healthy Lifestyle

Dry Mouth: What Causes it and How to Treat It

Dry Mouth: What Causes it and How to Treat It
Individuals of all ages can suffer from xerostomia, a condition more commonly known as “dry mouth.” Dry mouth is a direct result of decreased salivary flow inside the mouth. Saliva does more than just keep the mouth moist; it helps to digest food, neutralizes acid to decrease the risk of tooth decay and cleanses the mouth of bacteria and food debris. Affecting 10 percent of the total population, dry mouth is not only uncomfortable but can cause harm to the teeth and gums over time, if left untreated. Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa dentist, is here to tell you what causes dry mouth and how you can treat it.

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

Did you know, anyone can experience dry mouth? You may have gotten up to speak before a crowd and really needed a drink of water. Sometimes general stress or nervousness can cause dry mouth, but the more harmful effects of dry mouth become a problem when an individual has symptoms all or most of the time. These symptoms can include a cracked, sticky, or pasty tongue that may prevent an individual from tasting food or speaking clearly. The condition can also cause a burning or sore feeling inside the mouth that may include mouth sores. Dry mouth sufferers also may have trouble chewing or swallowing, which can decrease their ability to ingest necessary nutrients. If this sounds like you, keep reading.

(Source: Getty Images)

How to Treat Dry Mouth – At-Home Treatment

Treating dry mouth can reduce the likelihood of developing mouth sores, gum disease, oral thrush and tooth decay. Dr. Jaleel suggests the following general approaches to help treat dry mouth:

  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candy to stimulate salivary glands
  • Drink water regularly throughout the day
  • Use over-the-counter artificial saliva
  • Run a humidifier in your bedroom at night

Stimulating the salivary glands with sugar-free gum or candy is a useful treatment, if your salivary glands or the nerves that serve them are not affected. Since some causes of dry mouth simply reduce salivary production, stimulation will help increase the overall moisture level in your mouth.

Some dry-mouth sufferers wake up in the middle of the night with a sticky or dry feeling in their mouths, or even a feeling like the back of their throat is too dry to breathe. If you experience these symptoms, it could be because you are breathing through your mouth as you sleep. To alleviate this unpleasant situation, keep a glass of water bedside and run a humidifier in your bedroom. This is particularly helpful if you live in an arid climate. Drinking plenty of water can also keep your oral tissues moist throughout the day, which is also very important in dry climates.

(Source: BigStock Photos)

Avoiding certain foods and habits can also help to alleviate dry mouth. Make the following changes in diet and lifestyle if you suffer from xerostomia:

  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine
  • Use only alcohol-free mouthwash

Regular hygiene is also important to keep your mouth healthy, control acid levels and reduce side effects of xerostomia, such as gingivitis and bad breath. At the end of the day, make sure you are following Dr. Jaleel and our dental hygienists’ advice on proper dental care.

Dry Mouth Treatment from Your Doctor

If these methods do not provide sufficient relief, your doctor might prescribe medication to help your salivary glands function more efficiently. Prescription medications are often used to treat patients with underlying medical conditions that reduce saliva flow. These conditions include Sjögren’s syndrome, systemic lupus, and rhematoid arthritis.

Numerous medications cause dry mouth as a side effect. If you’ve just started a new medication and are suddenly noticing dryness, consult your doctor. Never change your prescription medication dosage without consulting with your doctor first.


Healthy Dental New Year’s Resolutions

Healthy Dental New Year’s Resolutions

Your dental health is an important part of your overall wellness, and the New Year is a great time to create resolutions for improving your health. Many people have dental health resolutions that range from improving their toothbrushing habits to completing delayed dental treatment. Understanding the benefits of your particular resolutions can be motivating and rewarding. Whatever your goals might be, it is important to take small steps to achieve them. Consistency is key with any resolution that you make.

Improving Toothbrushing and Flossing Habits

Perhaps you would like to improve your oral health. Daily toothbrushing and flossing is a sure and simple way to improve your oral health. For successful bacterial plaque removal, it is important to brush at least twice a day using an appropriately sized, soft-bristle, manual or electric toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste. When you brush your teeth, gently position the toothbrush bristles at a 45-degree angle toward the gumline and move the toothbrush across the teeth to effectively remove bacterial plaque. It is also important to floss at least once per day to remove bacterial plaque and food that has accumulated throughout the day. Your toothbrush should be replaced every 3 to 4 months, as well as after you have a cold or flu or if the bristles are frayed. Daily toothbrushing and flossing help to prevent gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay and halitosis (bad breath). The daily use of antimicrobial and fluoride mouth rinses also helps to improve your oral health.


Healthier Food and Beverage Choices

An important part of achieving your dental health resolutions is making healthier food and beverage choices, especially for snacks. Frequent consumption of food and beverages containing carbohydrates and acids contributes to tooth decay, so it is important to brush after snacking. Check out some of our earlier blogs on how to prepare healthy food for you and your kids.

Improving Your Smile

There are several smile-improving techniques that you can use while you brush and floss. In recent years, tooth whitening has acquired enormous popularity. It enhances the appearance of teeth by removing deep (intrinsic) or surface (extrinsic) stains. There are a number of tooth whitening products that can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) for at-home use, administered by a dentist at the dental office or dispensed by a dentist for at-home use. Tooth whitening products are typically categorized into two major groups: Whitening toothpastes (dentifrices) and peroxide-containing bleaching agents. The following are different types of tooth whitening methods:

  • Whitening toothpaste.
  •  Professionally applied bleaching products.
  •  Peroxide-containing bleaching agents.
  •  Dentist-dispensed and OTC home-use products.


Your New Year’s resolution may be to finally correct an abnormal bite caused by an injury, thumb sucking, tooth crowding or crooked teeth. Correcting any of these problems with braces not only enhances the look of your smile but also, and most importantly, improves your oral health. There are several options for straightening your teeth. Ask us about our orthodontics options; we offer traditional metal braces, Invisialign and Functional Appliances.

Restorative Dentistry

The New Year may be the right time to start or complete deferred restorative dental work, such as crowns, implants or fillings. Completing these types of procedures will help you to preserve the tooth structure and to maintain proper tooth alignment, which could ultimately improve your oral health.

Quit Using Tobacco Products

Quitting cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use is important for improving your oral and overall health. There is no better time than the present to make a resolution to stop tobacco use. Consider free online tools, smoking cessation groups, progress-tracking apps and support from friends and family to assist you with tobacco cessation.

Routine Dental Visits to see Dr. Jaleel

A resolution to make routine visits to the dentist may help prevent oral disease or reveal an existing disease in its early stage. Dental visits should take place every 6 months to allow Dr. Jaleel and our dental hygienists to monitor the condition of your oral cavity and develop an appropriate treatment plan to meet your wants and needs.