10 Dental Sealants FAQs: What They Are, Why They’re Important, and When to Get Them

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

There’s no doubt about it, children love sugary snacks and sweets. That’s why the first step in ensuring your child’s optimal dental health is to teach them good oral hygiene habits, including brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. 

But, if you want to give your child an extra layer of protection, consider having dental sealants applied at Eggert Family Dentistry. Sealants are a preventative measure that many parents take to keep their children’s teeth healthy throughout childhood. 

But what are dental sealants and how exactly do they work? Let’s go over the 10 most frequently asked questions about dental sealants. 

1.) What are Dental Sealants? 

Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are “painted”and then bonded onto the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Sealants are usually applied to the back molars, where bacteria and germs can easily hide, making these teeth harder to clean. 

2.) How Do Dental Sealants Work? 

Just as a raincoat will protect you from getting wet, the sealant protects the tooth by covering it, keeping bacteria and acid away from the tooth’s most susceptible surfaces. Less contact with bacteria, germs, and acid means fewer cavities and less tooth decay!

3.) How Long Do Sealants Last?

Sealants last for many years and can be reapplied if necessary.

4.) How are Dental Sealants Applied? 

First, the tooth is cleaned with an etchant and rinsed. The sealant is then “painted” over the adhesive as a liquid. Dr. Jeff Eggert, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert, or an Eggert Family Dentistry team member will then use a special blue light to harden the liquid, creating a barrier between the teeth and any plaque, food particles, or bacteria.

5.) When Should My Child Get Dental Sealants? 

We recommend that children have sealants applied to their molars as soon as they come in. Permanent molars first come in at around 5-7 years of age, with a second set coming in between the ages of 11-14. The sooner the sealant is applied, the more protected the new teeth will be from cavities, saving you money and time in the future. According to the Center for Disease Control, “School-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”

6.) Can Adults Get Dental Sealants?

Of course! Dental sealants can be applied at any age, though they’re most effective when applied from childhood. If you’re looking to prevent cavities for yourself as well as your family, ask Dr. Jeff Eggert and Dr. Elizabeth Eggert about scheduling an appointment to have dental sealant applied. 

7.) Will It Hurt to Get Sealants? 

Not at all. Sealant application is a pain-free procedure with no drills or shots necessary! 

8.) Do Sealants Make the Teeth Look or Feel Different? 

Sealants are white like your teeth so they don’t make the teeth look different. After sealants are applied, some patients report feeling like something is covering their teeth or experience the sensation of needing to bite down. But the sealant is thin, and the sensation will fade after a few days. Also, the Eggert Family Dentistry team can adjust on the sealants before you leave the office, if necessary, to reduce any strange feeling with your bite. 

9.) How Long Should My Child Wait to Eat After Getting Sealants?

You or your child can eat right away after getting dental sealants. However, we recommend staying away from certain foods, such as hard candies, jaw breakers, ice, or especially chewy foods, as these are more likely to break the newly applied sealants. 

10.) Are Dental Sealants Expensive?

No! Some dental insurance plans will cover sealants, but even without coverage, sealants are still very affordable. And dental sealants are a much cheaper option than having to get fillings done to fix cavities!

Let Eggert Family Dentistry Protect Your Family’s Dental Health 

Do you have more questions about dental sealants? Dr. Jeff Eggert or Dr. Elizabeth Eggert will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Call Eggert Family Dentistry today to find out if dental sealants are right for your family, or to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping your family’s smiles be the healthiest they can be! As always, our motto is “Dentistry for a Lifetime of Smiles!”

How Occlusal Equilibration Helps Jaw Pain and TMD

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, as many as 12 million U.S. adults suffer from pain in the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ), a disorder known as TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder).

If you suffer from TMJ dysfunction, you know how painful it can be. When your jaw is misaligned, it can cause agonizing joint problems as well as increased wear on your teeth.

Jaw pain caused by TMD is often solved using devices like splints and mouthguards, or even surgery. But if you have jaw pain related to TMD, there’s another solution that could help: occlusal equilibration.

Read on to learn more about this procedure and how occlusal equilibration helps jaw pain and misalignment.

Is Your Jaw Pain Caused by Jaw Misalignment?

Jaw pain can be caused by a number of factors. Some of the most common causes include: decayed or abscessed teeth, gum infection, migraines, sinus or ear infections, heart disease, bruxism (teeth grinding), and TMD.

The treatment for your jaw pain will depend on what is causing it. If your jaw pain is caused by jaw misalignment or TMD, occlusal equilibration could help relieve it. 

But how do you know if your TMJ is causing your TMD and jaw pain?

The simple answer, of course, is to visit Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert to determine the cause of your jaw pain. But if you are experiencing the following symptoms, TMD may be at the root of your pain:

What Is Occlusal Equilibration?

Occlusal equilibration is the process of subtly and precisely reshaping the biting surfaces of your teeth to correct the alignment of your bite and positioning of your jaws. 

A well-aligned jaw allows your upper and lower teeth to fit together properly when you bite down. But when your jaw is misaligned, your bite becomes uneven, putting stress on individual teeth as well as the jaw joint and especially the surrounding muscles. When the misalignment is corrected with occlusal equilibration, those muscles relax, reducing or eliminating pain and sensitivity. 

This procedure is generally pain-free, and doesn’t require anesthesia. It’s quick and affordable, and the adjustments are generally so slight that they don’t change the appearance of your teeth.

How Occlusal Equilibration Helps Jaw Pain and TMJ

When something keeps your bite from being evenly distributed throughout your mouth (tooth loss, clenching, grinding, and so on), it can cause occlusal trauma. 

This can manifest as worn or chipped teeth, sensitive areas on the teeth, gum recession, headaches, or a “popping” sound when you open and close your mouth. In addition, an uneven bite places pressure on teeth and this can accelerate periodontal disease including bone loss and loosening of teeth.

Occlusal equilibration redistributes that pressure so your bite is even, eliminating spots of excess pressure and allowing the bones and ligaments to heal.

During this procedure, Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert will note all of the areas where your teeth don’t align properly, then re-shape and adjust on the teeth using the dental handpiece. This restores your correct mouth structure and alleviates pain caused by misaligned jaws.

Many of our patients who have had occlusal equilibration have seen results quickly, saying they can feel the difference in their bite within even minutes of the procedure.

Determining if Occlusal Equilibration Is Right for You

At Eggert Family Dentistry, Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff both love helping their patients who would benefit from occlusal equilibration and they can help you determine if this treatment is right for you.

The first step is to schedule a diagnostic appointment, where Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert will assess your mouth’s structure and analyze how your teeth move against one another. This will allow them to determine if adjusting the biting surfaces of your teeth could help reposition your jaws properly. If they determine occlusal equilibration is right for you, our office will help you schedule a separate appointment for the procedure.

Ready to find out if occlusal equilibration could help your jaw pain? Contact us to schedule your diagnostic appointment.

The Power of a Great Bite – Steve’s Story

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

Steve came to us in 2020 and talked to us about how his bite never felt right after a new crown had been done at another dental office.  Steve said that he even had undergone two rounds of Invisalign trying to make his bite feel normal again.  He told us he chose our office because he researched and found that Dr. Elizabeth Eggert had the experience he was looking for in regard to helping people feel better about their bites.  He told us, “I am not happy with my bite and I really just want my jaw to feel better.”  He was not concerned cosmetically about his teeth, but wanted to be comfortable with his bite and to be able to eat again without feeling like he would break his teeth. 

What was involved?

Steve underwent the Records Process and some interesting things were noted from the analysis.  Dr. Elizabeth was able to obtain Steve’s pre-Invisalign records and noticed that he started with spaces between many of his front teeth.

Pre-Initial Invisalign

The analysis helped her find that Steve had a strained muscle and jaw position and therefore, it made sense for Steve to start his treatment with splint therapy to help find a consistent bite position for jaw and muscle comfort.  The best appliance for Steve was an Anterior Deprogrammer to help his muscles release and decrease pressure and stress on his functional system.  After splint therapy, it was clear that Steve’s bite had unevenly high points and his body seemed to crave more space in his mouth because his lower jaw wanted to be forward from where it was.  It was almost like he was “locked” into an uncomfortable position.  Dr. Elizabeth suspected that because Steve’s first Invisalign treatments closed the spaces between his teeth, that a cascade of muscle imbalances followed for him.

She recommended that Steve undergo Invisalign AGAIN in order to open the spaces back up and then restore his teeth to fill in the gaps. 

Invisalign helped gain space back and Steve’s muscles were finally able to relax again, however his teeth still hit somewhat unevenly in the back.  Therefore, equilibration was also completed for Steve to even out the bite forces on his teeth now that his muscles were in a calm position.  After the 3rd round of Invisalign and the equilibration, Steve told us “My muscles feel REALLY GOOD!”

Before restoring his anterior teeth with porcelain veneers to fill in the gaps, Steve also wanted the rest of his teeth whiter.  Steve completed the Zoom bleaching procedure and brightened up at least 5 shades!

What does Steve think? 

Steve is very happy with the final results and said that during the procedure he did not have any worries. 

“I think it was a good process and I didn’t have any sensitivity with my teeth.”  He told us his muscles and bite feel much more stable and he no longer gets the feeling that he is going to break his teeth.  He said “The timeline was good and it went by fast.”  His family also likes the results, but Steve says “It really wasn’t about the cosmetic aspect for me, but it was worth it to have the stability in my bite!”

Congratulations Steve – your results are amazing!  We are so happy we were able to get your bite back for you.  This case was a fun puzzler for Dr. Elizabeth because she was able to figure out how important your “pre-condition” was to a future successful outcome!  We appreciate you putting your trust in us!

12 Days of Christmas, Eggert Family Dentistry Style!

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Maintain healthy teeth and enjoy a little holiday fun with the 12 days of Christmas, Eggert Family Dentistry style! (We dare you not to hum along!)

The 12 Days of Eggert Family Dentistry Christmas

On the 1st day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…1 Records Process for a healthier mouth in 2023!

On the 2nd day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…2 recare visits for healthy teeth. (Here’s what you can expect at your next recare visit!)

On the 3rd day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…3 fillings for my cavities. (Did you know there are different types of dental fillings? Learn all about them!)

On the 4th day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…4 sealants to prevent my kiddos’ cavities. (Learn how to spot and prevent cavities and keep your kids’ mouths healthy!)

On the 5th day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…5 ways to improve my smile. (So I can show off those pearly whites!)

On the 6th day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…6 Seattle Protocol Steps to help me sleep. (This gradual, gentle, and reversible process helps us identify solutions for our patients with airway issues.)

On the 7th day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…7 steps to whiter teeth (with the Zoom whitening system!)

On the 8th day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…8 Invisalign trays to straighten my teeth. (Enough for the first four months of my Invisalign treatment!)

On the 9th day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…9 new toothbrushes for healthy teeth. (Are you changing your toothbrush every 3-4 months? If not, you should be!)

On the 10th day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…10 experienced team members! (Our team works together to bring you the best dental care possible. We love our patients!)

On the 11th day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…11 (plus more) tips for healthier, brighter and whiter teeth this holiday season. (Our blog is full of some great oral health tips and other resources. Check them out here.)

On the 12th day of Christmas Eggert Family Dentistry gave to me…12 (and more!) Eggert Comforts to ease dental phobias. (If you’re afraid of the dentist, you’re not alone! We’ll help make you as comfortable as possible.)

Happy Holidays from Eggert Family Dentistry!

From all of us at Eggert Family Dentistry, we wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a wonderful 2023! And as you look toward the year ahead, there’s no time like the present to schedule your recare visits! Contact us to schedule your next visit with Dr. Elizabet Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert today.

9 Oral Health Gift Ideas for the Holidays

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Not sure what to buy for your loved ones this holiday season? Why not give them the gift of a healthy, happy mouth? Not only are dental hygiene gifts practical, but they can also be fun! Better yet, they’re usually highly appreciated. This holiday season, check off your gift-list with this round-up of 9 creative oral health gift ideas. 

1.) Electric Toothbrush ($20-200)

Did you know that an electric toothbrush has been proven to decrease more plaque and gingivitis than a manual toothbrush? While these toothbrushes are definitely more of an investment than their manual counterparts, dentists like Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert agree: they’re absolutely worth it! When you give a family member or friend one of these toothbrushes, you can feel good knowing that their oral health is about to improve dramatically! 

2.) Fancy Toothpaste ($10-55) 

Have you dived into the world of luxury toothpastes before? If not, you’re in for a treat, literally. From fancy toothpastes that reportedly taste like cocktails, to gel toothpastes that harness the power of oxygen to heal your gums, there are so many options to choose from that will delight and amaze your giftees! 

3.) Dental Travel Kit ($3-10)

Do you have a frequent flier in your life? A digital nomad? A dental travel kit will make an excellent stocking-stuffer for anyone who’s been bitten by the travel bug. It’s not always convenient to carry around a full size brush, floss, toothpaste tube, and bottle of mouthwash with you everywhere you go, so having mini versions of these that can fit in a small bag is ideal.

4.) Sugar free gum and mints ($1-20) 

These gifts make great stocking-stuffers! Sugar free gum is good for your dental health because it stimulates saliva production which keeps your mouth healthy (it also freshens your breath!) Sugar free mints have these same benefits without the chewing, which make them perfect for people who prefer not to chew gum. You’ve also maybe heard us talk about Xylimelts, a mild mint product with xylitol. They keep your saliva production up as well as help you fight cavities! 

5.) Water Flossers ($10-200) 

If you’ve got someone in your life who has braces, or someone who struggles with carpal tunnel, arthritis, or other dexterity limitations, a water flosser such as the Waterpik would make a perfect oral health gift. Water flossers flush bacteria and food particles out from between the teeth and below the gums where floss can’t always reach. The water pressure also stimulates the gums, leading to an overall healthier mouth. While water flossers don’t replace actual flossing, they can make a great addition to your oral health routine!

6.) Professional Whitening Treatment ($650-1350) 

Store-bought whiteners don’t whiten any bonding, veneers, or caps and crowns. Additionally, they can be mildly to extremely painful for people with sensitive teeth. If you really want to make somebody smile this holiday season, get them a professional Zoom or Kör whitening treatment. At Eggert Family Dentistry, we recommend Zoom whitening treatments for those who are looking for less expensive, quicker results. For people who have extreme sensitivity or tetracycline stained teeth, we recommend you take the Kör route, instead. 

7.) Eco-Friendly Dental Supplies ($5-25) 

Delight your eco-conscious friends and family with some ingenious eco-friendly dental supplies. From certified-vegan bamboo toothbrushes, to mint-flavored (non-vegan) zero-waste silk floss, to plastic-free chewable toothpaste tablets with fluoride, these products are both earth-conscious and budget friendly! 

8.) Oral Care Subscription Box ($30-55)

Of all the subscription boxes out there, we think oral care has to be the most practical. After all, you use your toothbrush, floss, toothpaste, and mouthwash daily! It makes sense to restock on these products every month. Of course, you’ll want to shop around—some popular oral care subscription boxes include the eco-conscious Nudge and Bazoo, and Cocofloss for those who like fun floss flavors.   

9.) Invisalign 

The best gift you could give a person is a perfect smile! Invisalign is the name for clear aligners that act like braces, but are more discreet—almost invisible! Invisalign relies on the natural processes in your mouth to subtly reposition your teeth over time. Whether you’ve got a teenager looking for an alternative to braces, or an adult who wants to discreetly perfect their smile, contact Eggert Family Dentistry. We’ll be happy to create a custom Invisalign treatment plan for you and your family! 

Have questions about Zoom and Kör whitening treatments, or Invisalign aligners? Call Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert today at 651.482.8412 We look forward to helping you check off your holiday shopping list this year! 

Teeth Bleaching vs. Veneers

By: Dr. Elizabeth Egger

If you’re a coffee-lover or a wine connoisseur, you’ve probably considered a couple teeth-whitening solutions before. In fact, there are so many foods and drinks that can stain our teeth, you’d be hard pressed to find a person who wasn’t interested in making their smile whiter and brighter! 

If at-home treatments like whitening toothpastes and whitening strips aren’t giving you the results you’re looking for, you might want to consider an in-office whitening treatment. When it comes to choosing between bleaching your teeth and having veneers made, however, there’s a lot to consider. The option that’s best for you is usually based on your level of staining, your budget, and your tooth sensitivity. Here’s a little about the professional options we offer: 

Opalescence Go! 

Pros: 

  • Can take it home with you from your dental appointment 
  • Effective 
  • Inexpensive 
  • Non-invasive 

 Cons: 

  • Takes about 10 days at home
  • More sensitivity than other professional options 
  • Not effective on restorations
  • Won’t remove deep stains
  • More “gooey” to use

Zoom! Whitening 

Pros: 

  • Fast, takes 2 hours in-office 
  • Effective (8 shades whiter)
  • Less expensive than Kor 
  • Non-invasive 

Cons: 

  • Possibly more sensitivity than Kor 
  • Not effective on restorations (bonding, veneers)
  • Won’t remove deep stains

The Zoom! bleaching process is very simple. Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff’s team will first isolate your teeth, then apply peroxide gel to your teeth. A low heat light is placed close to your teeth that activates the whitening gel. You will undergo up to four 15-minute cycles during your session.

Kör Whitening 

Pros: 

  • Extremely effective (up to 16 shades whiter)
  • Non-invasive
  • Removes even tetracycline staining
  • Least amount of sensitivity 

Cons: 

  • About double the cost of Zoom!  
  • Not effective on restorations (bonding, veneers)
  • Time-consuming – sometimes requires 4 in-office sessions and time at home 

The Kör treatment was developed by Dr. Rod Kurthy in response to the lack of consistency in results of traditional whitening products, and complaints of sensitivity from patients post-treatment. This treatment is extremely effective, bleaching some patients’ teeth up to 16 shades whiter! It’s also the least sensitive option due to the science Dr. Kurthy used to develop his product, making it the perfect option for people with extremely sensitive teeth. 

The Kör treatment involves both at-home and in-office processes. After an impression appointment and two weeks prior to your in-office appointment, Dr. Jeff or Dr. Elizabeth will give you an at-home kit that includes a dental tray and a special gel. This tray must be worn overnight, every night before your appointment. The at-home treatment allows for longer exposure to the gel, resulting in even whiter teeth.

When you come in for your appointment two weeks later, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff’s team will apply a breathing gel to your teeth to finish the treatment. Sometimes a second in-office appointment is also needed, depending on the desired results. 

Veneers as a Whitening Solution

Pros: 

  • Extremely effective (you may choose your shade of white)
  • Completely masks all staining
  • Long-term results 

Cons: 

  • More costly 
  • Alters tooth structure 
  • Some tooth sensitivity 
  • Time-consuming 

Teeth bleaching works very well for lighter stains caused by food and drink. For more stubborn staining that can’t be removed by the bleaching process, you may consider getting veneers. This is the most involved whitening option of the three listed in this post. 

Veneers are a very thin ceramic shell that covers your existing tooth structure. In placing these new veneers on your teeth, you can fix the look of issues such as staining, cracked teeth, spaces, misaligned teeth, chipped teeth, and more. 

The process of getting veneers involves at least two to three visits to Eggert Family Dentistry. During the first visit, we will discuss the shape and look of your veneers and develop a plan together. On the second visit, we will prepare your teeth for the placement of the veneers by removing a thin layer of enamel. We will also take an impression of your teeth, and provide you with a beautiful temporary solution to cover your teeth over the next few weeks. Your final visit will take place two to three weeks later, during which Dr. Elizabeth Eggert or Dr. Jeff Eggert will place your brand-new veneers.

Let Eggert Family Dentistry Brighten Your Smile!

If you’re unsatisfied with the results of over-the-counter whitening treatments, call Eggert Family Dentistry at 651.482.8412 to discuss potential in-office whitening solutions and schedule an appointment. Dr. Elizabeth Eggert and Dr. Jeff Eggert will be able to help you decide which option is right for you. We look forward to helping you achieve the smile you’ve been dreaming of! 

Dry Mouth and Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

By: Dr. Elizaabeth Eggert

While anyone can experience dry mouth, it’s one of the most common side effects of diabetes I and II. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is an uncomfortable condition in which your body under-produces saliva, leaving your mouth feeling dry, rough, sticky, and just plain uncomfortable. 

As we expanded on in a recent blog, saliva is extremely beneficial for your dental health. Since dry mouth is a reduction in the amount of saliva produced in your mouth, this condition can wreak havoc with your oral health.

But here’s the good news: dry mouth is a completely manageable condition that can be managed with at-home techniques, or treated here at Eggert Family Dentistry. But first, let’s explore the connection between dry mouth and diabetes.

Why Does Diabetes Cause Dry Mouth?

The two most common causes of dry mouth in people with diabetes are high blood sugar and the side effects of diabetes medications. 

High Blood Sugar: 

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is a common side effect of diabetes that isn’t well managed. While healthcare providers aren’t quite sure why high blood sugar causes dry mouth, chronic dry mouth is often the first noticeable symptom that someone with diabetes experiences.

Diabetes Medications: 

Side effects of certain diabetes medications, including Metformin, include dry mouth. ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors, which are used to treat hypertension and diabetes, can also cause dry mouth. 

Symptoms of dry mouth include: 

  • Bad breath
  • Burning feeling in the mouth
  • Difficulty eating, chewing, swallowing, or speaking
  • Dry, cracked lips
  • Mouth that feels dry nearly all the time
  • Sores or infections in the mouth
  • Tongue that feels rough and dry

If you experience these symptoms consistently, be sure to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to make sure it isn’t a sign of another underlying condition. If your case of dry mouth is diabetes-related, you’ll be happy to know that it’s manageable at home and in our office! 

How to Manage Dry Mouth With Diabetes 

Everyone has different advice on how to manage dry mouth when you have diabetes, but all advice follows the same thread: 

1.) Make sure you’re hitting your targets

2.) Take steps to moisten your mouth and encourage saliva production. 

Here are some at-home remedies for managing dry mouth: 

  • Manage your blood sugar levels.
  • Avoid salty, spicy, or sugary drinks and foods.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day.
  • Avoid caffeine, which can dry out your mouth.
  • Chew gum or suck on hard candies that do not contain sugar. 
  • Do not use tobacco.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Use alcohol-free mouthwash.
  • Use lip balm (to manage chapped lips). 
  • Use a humidifier while you sleep at night.

To manage the effects of dry mouth on your dental health, brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly. Because dry mouth accelerates the process of tooth decay and gum disease, you want to be extra vigilant when it comes to taking care of your teeth! 

How Eggert Family Dentistry Can Help 

For patients with severe dry mouth, Dr. Jeff and Dr. Elizabeth can prescribe medications that stimulate saliva production, such as pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac).

With the right medications and at-home management, dry mouth can be a thing of the past! Let Dr. Elizabeth and Dr. Jeff be your partner in managing the effects of diabetes on your dental health. Contact us or call us at 651.482.8412 to schedule an appointment today!

Dry Mouth: What You Need to Know

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

Have you ever had a dry mouth? It can be irritating. After all, a dry mouth can make it difficult to swallow and difficult to speak. But what about chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia? It’s important to recognize what chronic dry mouth is, be able to identify causes and side effects, and understand what treatment options are available.


What causes dry mouth?

There are many possible causes of dry mouth:

  • Medications: Over 400 commonly prescribed medications list “dry mouth” as a possible side effect
  • Dehydration
  • Cancer treatment: Radiation and chemotherapy can cause temporary dry mouth and in some cases permanent damage to the salivary glands, leading to chronic dry mouth.
  • Autoimmune disease: Sjogren’s syndrome, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus
    Diabetes

Side effects of dry mouth

The side effects of dry mouth may include:

  • Burning sensation in the mouth
  • Mouth sores
  • Cracked lips
  • Halitosis (aka bad breath)
  • Cavities
  • Yeast infections
  • Gingivitis

When chronic dry mouth goes untreated, over time it can become difficult to taste, swallow and even speak. Also, without adequate saliva to rinse your mouth of food and plaque, gingivitis can set in. Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to tooth loss.

Treatment options

Dry mouth can often be alleviated by treating underlying conditions and restoring saliva production. For medication-induced dry mouth, changing medications can help. In other cases, saliva production can be increased through a variety of means: moisturizing gels, special toothpastes and mouthwashes and prescription medications.

Staying hydrated, chewing sugar-free gum and sucking on sugar-free candies are a few other easy options for keeping your mouth lubricated. 

If you’re serious about combating dry mouth, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption and stay away from salty, dry and sugary foods.

If you’re dealing with dry mouth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff. They can help you get to the root of the problem, experience relief and protect your smile. Call our office at 651.482.8412!