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Xerostomia is the clinical term used in dentistry referred to dry mouth.

Our saliva has many important jobs such as:
Moistens and cleanses our mouth
Helps digest foods
Prevents infections in the mouth by controlling bacteria and fungi

When we don’t produce enough saliva, our mouth becomes dry and uncomfortable leading to xerostomia (dry mouth)

Some of the common symptoms of dry mouth include:

Cracked lips
Frequent thirst
Dry feeling in the throat 
Sticky, dry feeling in the mouth
Dry, red, raw tongue 
Problems with speech, taste, chewing and swallowing

There are many different causes of dry mouth, some are listed below.

- Many prescription & non-prescription drugs can cause dry mouth. Some include drugs to treat, depression, anxiety, asthma, high blood pressure, epilepsy or acne.

Diseases and infections
- Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medical conditions, including Sjogren syndrome, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, anaemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, high blood pressure, stroke or cancer.

Nerve Damage
- Injury or surgery to the head and neck area in which there is nerve damage can result in dry mouth.

Tobacco use
- Smoking or chewing tobacco affects saliva production and provokes dry mouth.

Mouth breathing
- Breathing with your mouth open can also contribute to the problem.

Dry mouth causes the irritating symptoms mentioned above and it also increases the risk of gingivitis (gum disease), tooth decay and mouth infections such as thrush.

To prevent dry mouth, be sure to drink plenty of fluids during exercise. If the cause of dry mouth is through medications being taken, the doctor may be able to adjust the dose or change the drug to one which doesn’t cause dry mouth. As well as this, the doctor or dentist can prescribe an oral rinse to restore mouth moisture.

Chewing on sugar free gum or sugar free sweets can help improve the flow of saliva. Drinking plenty of water to keep the mouth moist, breathing through the nose and not the mouth as much as possible and using a room vaporizer to moisture the bedroom air, are all ways in which you can prevent or improve the dry mouth condition.

Ian, the Mosman dentist. Dentist Mosman.


Fissure Sealants

Fissure Sealants

Dental Sealants or Fissure Sealants are mostly used in children’s dentistry, however, they can also be applied to adult teeth as well.

What are Fissure Sealants?

Fissure sealants are a plastic material which is applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent molars, they provide a barrier to bacteria which might invade the pits and fissures of the teeth.

Some back teeth, especially molars can be hard for a person to clean because the pits and fissures (the grooves found on the tooth's chewing surface) are deep and narrow. When the toothbrush isn’t reaching these areas the plaque isn’t cleared away and the teeth are at risk of decay.

By bonding plastic resin, also known as, fissure sealants, into the grooves of the tooth it creates a smoother tooth surface.  After the sealant is applied, there are no areas left on the tooth that the toothbrush bristles can’t get to. Therefore, the plaque is being removed and the risk of decay is minimised.

Sealants are most effective when applied to teeth soon after they have erupted, before they have a chance to decay. Any teeth with deep grooves that are at risk of tooth decay should be sealed by the dentist. So if someone cannot easily clean a groove in a molar then the groove needs a sealant.

Fissure sealants should be checked at regular dental appointments and can be reapplied.
Good oral hygiene and the use of fluoride toothpaste is still critical after fissure sealants are applied as well as 6 monthly check-up visits to the dentists.

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