Category Archives: Alcohol

Suffering From Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth (also called xerostomia) is caused by a decrease in the amount of saliva in the mouth when the salivary glands do not work properly. The salivary glands help keep your mouth moist, which helps prevent tooth decay and other oral health problems. Saliva helps wash away cavity-causing bacteria, provides enzymes to help digest food, protects teeth from decay by neutralizing harmful acids and keeps oral tissues healthy. Without saliva you would lose your teeth much faster

Dry mouthWhat causes Dry Mouth?
Prescription and over-the-counter medications are the most common cause. There are over 400 medications that can cause it, but the most common culprits are antihypertensives, antidepressants, painkillers, tranquilizers, diuretics and antihistamines. It can also happen when you are under stress or be a sign of a serious health condition. Other causes include radiation therapy and chemotherapy or diseases such as AIDS, diabetes or Sjogren’s syndrome.

Dry mouth can cause several problems including difficulty in tasting, chewing or swallowing. It also allows plaque to build up on your teeth faster leading to a high risk of cavities. It can also lead to bad breath, ulceration or soreness of the mouth, gum disease and difficulty in wearing dentures.

How do I treat dry mouth?Dry mouth relief
Many treatments can help ease the symptoms of dry mouth, including over-the-counter saliva substitutes. Remember to brush and floss twice a day. You may also chew sugar-free gum. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine, smoking, acidic juices, dry foods, and overly salty foods. Drink plenty of water and maintain regular dental visits.

Cardiovascular Disease and Your Oral Health

Large group of peopleCardiovascular disease is a class of disease that affects the heart and/or blood vessels.  It is estimated that more than 80 million people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.  These forms include

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary heart disease (acute heart attack and angina pectoris)
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure

Studies have shown that there is a link between cardiovascular disease andImage gum disease periodontal (gum) disease, the chronic inflammation and infection of the gums and surrounding tissue.  Forms of gum disease, such as gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (bone loss), can be indicators for cardiovascular problems, which is why it is important for individuals at risk for cardiovascular disease to visit Dr. Marinic on a regular basis, practice good oral hygiene, and keep Dr. Marinic informed of any oral and overall health issues.

How are periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease connected?

circulatory systemIt has been suggested that the inflammatory proteins and bacteria associated with gum disease enter a person’s bloodstream and can cause various effects on the cardiovascular system.  A study published in the February 2005 issue of Circulation examined the presence of the bacteria known to cause periodontitis and the thickening of the blood vessel wall typically seen in heart disease.  After examining samples from more than 650 participants, the investigators concluded that the presence of the same bacteria known to cause periodontitis was associated with an increased level of blood vessel thickening.

What can I do to keep my gums and heart healthy?Woman brushing teeth

Practicing proper oral hygiene is essential to maintaining healthy gums.  This includes flossing regularly, brushing twice a day with antibacterial toothpaste, and visiting Dr. Marinic at least every six months.  A healthy diet and regular exercise can help improve both your cardiovascular health and your overall health.

What do my physician and Dr. Marinic need to know?

Pill bottlesIt is important to keep all medical professionals up-to-date on your oral and overall health issues.  Inform your physician if you have been diagnosed with a form of periodontal disease or are experiencing any issues with gum inflammation.

Likewise, inform Dr. Marinic if you have been diagnosed with any form of cardiovascular disease, have experienced any cardiovascular problems, or have a family history of cardiovascular disease.

What other risk factors are associated with cardiovascular disease?

Individuals who are most at risk for cardiovascular disease include:

  • People over the age of 65
  • African-Americans
  • Hispanics
  • Males

While these particular factors cannot be changed, there are some risk factors that you can change through lifestyle management and/or medical treatment to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease. These risk factors include:

  • Smokingsitting on couch
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Obesity
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Stress

If you have any questions, be sure to ask Dr. Marinic or your physician.

Is Everything OK in Your Mouth?

Dorothy cleaningRegular dental exams not only help decrease your risk of oral diseases, such as cavities and gum (periodontal) disease, but may also help to diagnose other, sometimes life-threatening, medical conditions.  Dr. Marinic is an important part of your health care team.  He is able to assess your overall oral health and may recognize symptoms of serious diseases, including diabetes and cancer, which often manifest as signs and symptoms inside your mouth.  There are many diseases with oral manifestations that, in many cases, may first present in the mouth.

Diabetes

More than 25 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes. Diabetes is associated with high levels of blood sugar and is known to lower resistancGum diseasee to infection and increase the chance of the following:

  • Gum disease, including gums that bleed easily or are tender and swollen
  • Tooth decay
  • Taste impairment
  • Inflammatory skin disease
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Changes in teeth position

Additionally, patients with diabetes (especially those with dentures) are more likely to experience oral fungal infections, including thrush (oral candidiasis).

Oral cancer

During your regularly scheduled dental check up, Dr. Marinic will also search for signs of oral cancer.  Oral indicators of cancer include:Oral cancer

  • Sores that bleed easily or do not heal
  • Crusted, rough areas of skin
  • Lumps or thick hard spots
  • Red, brown, or white patches
  • Changes in the lymph nodes or other tissues around the mouth and neck
  • Tenderness or pain, numbness inside the mouth
  • Changes in the way the teeth fit together

While Dr. Marinic will check all his patients for these signs and symptoms, patients with a history of smoking, using smokeless tobacco, or drinking heavily are at an increased risk for developing oral cancer.

Eating disorders

Eating disorderEating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, physically damage both your oral and overall health.  These disorders, which include patterns of insufficient food intake or excessive food intake with purging, can rob the body of much needed vitamins and minerals.  These vitamin and mineral deficiencies can present themselves orally.   Without proper nutrition, the gums can lose their healthy pink color and become increasingly soft and tender, bleeding easily.

Additionally, disorders that involve excessive vomiting, such as bulimia, can cause discoloration and erosion of the teeth through constant contact with stomach acid. Those with eating disorders may also experience:

  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Dry mouth
  • Thin, sensitive teeth
  • Loss of tooth enamel

Alcohol use disorders

Alcohol use disorders affect more than 17 million adults in the United StatesAlcoholic beverages alone.  In addition to causing irreparable social and medical problems, alcohol use disorders can severely impact your oral health.  Dentists treating patients with alcohol abuse problems may observe the following signs and symptoms:

  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth erosion
  • Moderate to severe gingivitis (gum disease)
  • Gum irregularities
  • Poor dental hygiene

Be proactive about your oral health

Diseases that negatively impact your general health also can damage your teeth, gums, and mouth.  Regularly scheduled dental exams allow Dr. Marinic to detect or monitor these diseases and recommend treatment.  Patients should inform Dr. Marinic about all medical conditions they have or medicines they are taking, which may affect their oral health.  Remember, maintaining a healthy body includes taking care of your oral health.