What Happens in Your Mouth While You Sleep?

Ah, nighttime… the end of the day, the ceasing of work, and hopefully a good night’s sleep. But did you know things are still happening in your mouth all night long, even if you’re blissfully unaware of it? The Brandon dentists of Walker & Raynal, DMD shed some light on the world of your mouth and everything going on inside of it while you catch some zzz’s.

Dry Mouth

You produce much less saliva overnight than you do during the day—your body’s way of minimizing the risk of choking. This leads to the common occurrence of dry mouth. Dry mouth can be a bit uncomfortable and lead to more cavities and bad breath. It’s perfectly fine and normal to have less saliva at night but to take care of your oral health, it’s important that you brush and floss before going to bed.

Saliva usually rinses away the food debris that can stick around and cause plaque and bad breath, so it’s a good idea to head to bed with a blank canvas. Keeping a glass of water by your bed can relieve the pain in your mouth and throat from dry mouth.

Bruxism

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Dental Sealants Keep Cavities at Bay

A trip to the dentist should be a pleasant experience. That’s what we want for our kids: happy associations with that twice-annual visit to Walker & Raynal, DMD. Nothing ruins the good feeling at a dental visit faster than the dreaded words, “I found a cavity.” A cavity in a baby tooth is bad news, but not the end of the world. A cavity in a newly erupted permanent tooth is more cause for concern.

So what is a cavity? How do they form? And, what can we do to keep them from ever getting started?

What is a Cavity?

Simply, a cavity, also known as dental caries, is a hole in the tooth enamel. A tooth has an outer layer of hard enamel surrounding an inner layer of dentin, which covers the tooth pulp, which contains blood vessels and a nerve. A cavity forms when the enamel is weakened then fails and no longer covers the dentin.

A small cavity can usually be drilled to remove any decayed portion and stop further decay, then filled with strong material, like resin, to re-strengthen the remaining tooth with a tooth-colored filling. A larger cavity might require more extensive drilling and different materials to strengthen it. A very large cavity might need a root canal, where the inside of the tooth is removed and the whole tooth is filled.

How Do Cavities Form?

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Sugar Rush: When Sweet Turns Bitter

You’ve heard it before. Too much sugar is not good for little bodies. Or, more precisely, added sugar is not good for people, big or small. The more we learn about how sugar affects the body, the more we realize that lots of added sugar has many downsides for health. This is particularly true of dental health. Sugar can cause serious problems for tiny teeth.

The Rise & Fall

A sugar rush is a real thing, and it can be no joke. Sugar is a simple source of energy that the body can use very quickly to make energy. Because the body uses it so quickly, the sugar rush is generally followed by a sugar crash when the body runs out of the high-energy sugar.

The human body isn’t the only thing that feeds quickly on the simple sugar. The bacteria in your child’s mouth also like to feed on sugars. When they eat sugary foods or drink high-sugar drinks, the bacteria in their mouth begin to feast. This lets the cavity-causing bacteria grow quickly, making lots more bacteria.

A Balancing Act

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Bad Breath: When Morning Breath Becomes Halitosis

It’s often said that a true friend will tell you if you have bad breath. Bad breath, formally known as halitosis, is embarrassing and can hold you back from truly enjoying your life and social situations. Like a good friend, your Brandon dentists will tell it to you straight. Read more below to determine what to do about your bad breath.

Is Bad Breath Normal?

Yes. Sorry. But some bad breath is just unavoidable. Moderate and occasional bad breath is caused by the normal breakdown of foods for digestion. Most people don’t wake up with minty fresh breath because bacteria build up in your mouth overnight while you are sleeping. Keep normal bouts of bad breath at bay with good oral hygiene, by drinking plenty of water, and by chewing sugar-free gum containing xylitol.

Lifestyle vs. Medical Causes of Bad Breath

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Hot on the Trail with Oral Pathology

When it comes to your oral health, we hope you never have any pains or problems. Good preventive care will help you always feel your best! But even with the best habits, dental problems do happen. In that case, oral pathology is the science and medicine that helps diagnose and treat whatever is making you ache. If you think you have oral disease, don’t be embarrassed, but get help as soon as possible.

What is Oral Pathology?

Sometimes things go wrong, even in the healthiest people. If you have pain, bleeding, or unusual symptoms in your mouth, oral pathology helps us find the answers you need.

According to the American Dental Association: “Oral pathology is the specialty of dentistry and discipline of pathology that deals with the nature, identification, and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions.” In other words, oral pathology is the science that understands the causes and effects of these diseases. Common practices include clinical examinations, lab testing, and taking the whole body health and chemistry into consideration.

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Prevention vs. Treatment of Oral Health

The World Health Organization defines health as “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Sadly, in our fast-paced culture, many of us settle for less-than-healthy or even truly sick conditions every day. We allow ourselves to be tired, achy, stressed and in pain more often than not. Why? Because it’s hard to prioritize our long-term health in a world of so many immediate needs competing for our attention. But long-term health is actually the most important need of all. Without our health, we won’t truly be able to enjoy life or contribute to a greater good.

Walker & Raynal, DMD offers a few points on how to seek wellness and prevent oral health problems before they even start.

Starting Upstream

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Could White Teeth Help You Land a Job Interview?

A recent, three-part study by Crest® puts numbers to what most of us already knew – white teeth are beautiful and powerful! The study used both qualitative and quantitative measures in multiple settings to determine what effect white teeth can have on a person’s life.

In a portion of the study on employment, researchers found that whiter teeth greatly increased a person’s chance of being offered jobs but also of receiving higher pay. In a portion of the study on romance, subjects went on simulated dates and found the dates were more successful after their teeth had been whitened.

Dr. Dacher Keltner, smile psychologist and psychology professor, says, “This study provides some of the first findings that speak to the powerful benefits of having a whiter smile.”

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Do I Have Herpes? Cold Sores 101

Cold sore. Fever blister. Herpes Simplex Virus-1. These babies go by a lot of different names, but the experience is always the same:

  • Telltale burning or itching near the lip
  • A red bump appears a day or so later
  • The bump becomes a cluster of blisters
  • Blisters dry up and scab over
  • The scab falls off
  • The whole process usually takes two weeks or less.

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Filling in the Gaps: Restoring Your Smile & Quality of Life

Life is full of unexpected surprises, and while we’d love for all of them to be smile-inducing, that’s not entirely realistic—and there may be many reasons you hide your smile. If you’re hiding your smile because of one or more missing teeth, we want you to know you’re not alone. In fact, 120 million people in the U.S. are missing at least one tooth, and more than 36 million Americans do not have any teeth at all.

Whether the cause is tooth decay, gum disease—#1 on the list of reasons, with 50% of Americans over the age of 30 having the most severe form of periodontitis—illness, or injury, there are solutions. Dr. Walker and Dr. Raynal at Walker and Raynal, DMD would like to fill you in on your options, which have expanded and improved over the years thanks to technological advancements and continuing education. Read more ›

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Oral Health & Alzheimer’s

Did you know that unhealthy gums might put your brain at risk?

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, which harms your memory, ability to think, and can cause changes in your personality. It’s very common and usually affects people aged 60 and over. And, Alzheimer’s might be significantly more likely to happen if your mouth and gums aren’t healthy.

The Link is Inflammation

A New York University College of Dentistry study found, “long-term evidence that periodontal (gum) disease may increase the risk of cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s.” Read more ›

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