When Mouth Is Dry, Oral Bacteria Run Rampant

Hot, parched, arid, dry… words that should not be used to describe the inside of your mouth. However, it doesn’t take much to dry a mouth out, and some of the ways this can occur may surprise you.

First, let’s discuss why a dry mouth is a problem, other than it just feels bad. Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleansing agent. It serves as a rinse that removes food particles from the mouth. Combined with brushing and flossing, good saliva flow helps to keep bacteria levels under control.

When saliva flow is compromised, oral bacteria are able to reproduce and multiply quickly.  As bacteria accumulate, a sticky film forms on teeth and gums from this buildup. As bacteria coat the interior of your mouth, bad breath begins.

If this film (known as plaque) is not removed daily, it can hardened into a concentrated mass of oral bacteria. This hardened form of bacteria is commonly referred to as tartar, or calculus. Tartar attaches to teeth and eats away at tooth enamel and gum tissues.

Oral dryness is one of the biggest influences in developing gum disease. Even though poor oral hygiene is a key factor when it comes to bacteria overload, dry mouth is a common contributor because it has many causes.

Common drying factors include smoking, alcohol, spicy foods, caffeine (coffee, colas, chocolate), and side effects of some medications. Other drying causes may surprise you. In addition to mouth breathing (most often from snoring and sinus problems), some illnesses or health conditions can lead to frequent mouth breathing.

Aging is another common factor as our bodies produce less oral moisture in our senior years. People who have Sjogren’s Syndrome or are undergoing treatment for HIV or cancer are more susceptible to dry mouth.

So, how do you avoid having a dry mouth (and the subsequent bad breath and oral health risks associated with it)? First, be committed to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home. This includes twice daily brushing (at least two minutes per time), daily flossing, limiting caffeine and having 6-month dental cleanings and exams. These visits are designed to remove tartar buildup that has accumulated between visits BEFORE damage can occur.

Rather than reach for a soft drink, choose bottled water instead. Most colas contain caffeine, which actually dehydrate your system rather than moisten it. Along with the sugar contained in most colas, you’ve got a recipe for costly dental problems.

Also, consider using an oral rinse to replenish moisture if your mouth is frequently dry. Certainly, DON’T smoke or use other nicotine products.

It is also important to be proactive when dry mouth becomes an ongoing problem. While oral bacteria can lead to gum disease, cavities and tooth loss, research has also found it is an inflammatory trigger for health problems elsewhere in the body.

Studies have found a correlation between oral bacteria and heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, pre-term babies, memory loss and even impotency. Obviously, oral bacteria is potent stuff.

If you don’t think oral bacteria is a problem, notice just how quickly the sticky film of plaque can form in the brief time between brushing in the morning and at night. Now, imagine the damage these reproducing organisms can do without the continual cleansing action of saliva.

Oral Bacteria Are Destructive Organisms. Oral Dryness Supports Their Reproduction.
Oral Bacteria Are Destructive Organisms. Oral Dryness Supports Their Reproduction.

Remember, oral bacteria are living organisms. This means they eat and produce waste – in your mouth! YUCK! That image, in itself, should be good incentive to keep oral bacteria levels to a minimum!

Rather than deal with dry mouth problems that can require expensive and time consuming treatment, let’s work together to help you prevent these problems in the first place.

Call 586-739-2155 to arrange an exam. Or, ask for a free consultation to begin. This will allow you to meet us and have your questions answered in a no-cost, no obligation conversation.

Smile Makeovers Have Positive Effects Inside and Out!

While the visual impact of the smile makeovers we create for our patients is obvious, what cannot be seen, just by looking, is the significant effect a more flattering smile can have when it comes to (what we refer to as) “smiling from the inside out.” It’s the uplifting feeling these patients have when their smile truly reflects their inner joy.

An attractive smile tends to boost one’s self-esteem and level of confidence. Our ‘smile makeover’ patients often tell us they find themselves smiling more often and feel more outgoing. From what we witness, it’s no surprise that research has found that the mere act of smiling gives a boost to one’s mood.

Apparently, the brain reacts to smiling by releasing endorphins, which are our ‘natural high’ chemicals that make us happy. Even ‘faking’ a smile seems to prompt this reaction, according to research.

When it comes to smile improvements, however, having a ‘makeover’ isn’t always needed to make a positive result in both appearance and perception of how one feels about their smile. Sometimes, even small changes can have a tremendous effect. In some cases, we’ve placed just four veneers on upper, front teeth for a marked improvement.DrB Pt Mirror copy

Porcelain veneers are the ‘gold standard,’ providing optimal durability, longevity and natural appeal. Veneers give a opalescense like that of natural teeth, even reflecting light in a similar way. Yet, there are a number of ways to improve the appearance of a smile.

Whitening teeth can create a notable improvement for those who have stains or discoloration from foods, aging, smoking or medications. A whiter, brighter smile tends to camouflage flaws and projects a cleaner, healthier appearance of teeth.

Bonding is another way to repair minor flaws, such as chips, uneven teeth, or gaps between teeth. Although not as durable as porcelain veneers and less resistant to staining, bonding is a less expensive method for improving small issues. And, when it comes to a smile, these small issues can have a dramatic effect on how one feels about their smile.

You may be surprised that many esthetic treatments can often be completed in just one visit. And, as with all procedures in our office, comfort is a high priority. For those who desire, we make oral or IV sedation available. Both are safe relaxation methods that erase most, if not all, memory of your procedure time. Recovery is quick and you are monitored throughout treatment with advanced equipment and trained staff.

Imagine yourself with a smile that gets compliments often. Would it make you want to smile more often? Would you feel more attractive? Would it boost your confidence in social or business settings?

Yes? Then, begin with a free Consultation to learn about the latest techniques and materials in esthetic dentistry. During this time, we’ll discuss the best options to create the smile you desire. I’ll go over the specifics of treatment and estimated costs. If desired, you can also meet with our Financial Coordinator to learn about easy payment options, most are interest-free with no down payment required.

Imagine that smile you want and then take a first step to fulfilling your dream! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a time convenient for you.

Pancreatic Cancer Research Shows Links To Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Over the past few decades, scientific studies have focused increased attention on how periodontal (gum) disease has connections to our whole health. And, rightly so.

As research has become more focused, links have been found between infectious oral bacteria and a growing list of serious health problems. These include heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, preterm babies, impotency and more.

The potent bacteria of gum disease can travel through the body by entering the bloodstream through tears in weakened tissues. It is now known that it can trigger inflammatory reactions that are related to the development of the conditions mentioned above.

Recently, studies have added to that list, revealing that periodontal disease bacteria is a risk factor in the development Microscopeof pancreatic cancer. While this has been suspected based on the results of previous studies, one particular, long-term study focused on how the risk exists.

The study included over 350 adults who had DNA analyzed (through saliva samples) and eventually developed pancreatic cancer. Researchers compared the saliva DNA samples of this group to a similar number of adults who remained healthy.

For true comparisons, adjustments were made in both groups for variations in age, race, sex, body mass, use of alcohol, smoking and being diabetic. To eliminate pre-existing factors that could influence statistical outcomes, participants who developed pancreatic cancer within two years or less from the time their DNA samples were taken were omitted.

Using findings from previous research along these lines, this particular study closely scrutinized two types of oral bacteria pathogens. Researchers found that one pathogen was far more prevalent in the saliva of participants who developed pancreatic cancer with a 59% increased risk of developing the deadly cancer. Just as alarming was that the second pathogen was shown to increase this risk by 50%.

Because pancreatic cancer is not commonly diagnosed until it is in advanced stages, it has a deadly track record. Of those who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, less than 10% will still be living in five years.

Obviously, this infectious oral bacteria is nothing to take lightly. When you consider its ability to create inflammation elsewhere in the body with devastating (and even deadly) results, the health of your gums should be a top priority.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include tender gums that bleed when brushing, persistent bad breath, gums that are sore and swollen, gums that deepen in color and pus pockets that form at the base of teeth. In latter stages, teeth will loosen and require removal. Even though gum disease is the nation’s number one cause of adult tooth loss, still, nearly half of the adults in the U.S. have some form of it.

Periodontal disease begins without obvious warning signs. By the time symptoms begin, it is often well underway. Unfortunately, many people assume seeing blood in the sink is a sign that they are doing a good job when brushing. Too, because gum problems are not visible (being concealed inside the mouth), they are easier to ignore than conditions that can be easily seen.

When gum disease is not treated, it continually worsens. As research continues to reveal, however, the destruction of periodontal disease bacteria doesn’t just affect your smile. Your overall health and well-being are at risk as well.

What can you do to protect your smile AND your overall health? First, have a thorough examination to determine the presence of periodontal disease. If it exists, we’ll recommend treatment to restore your mouth to a healthy state. We will also create an effective regimen to follow at home to keep your smile healthy between visits.

You can also begin with a no-charge, no obligation consultation appointment. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles. During this time, I’ll answer your questions and explain how you can enjoy a healthy, confident smile affordably and comfortably.

Celebrating 20 Years In Shelby Township!

When I think back to where I was 20 years ago, I realize just how quickly time has flown. In February 1997, I was a fairly new dentist and learning just how significantly a healthy, confident smile could impact an individual’s life.

Dr. Barbat 20 years ago!
Dr. Barbat 20 years ago!

Twenty years later, I still see how important those smiles are at every age. After all this time in Shelby Township, I have found that patients actually smile from the inside out. When someone feels good about how their smile looks and feels, it beams with confidence and joy.

Although I may only see some of these members of our ‘patient family’ twice a year, I know that the positive interaction we share at each visit is just as important as the high level of care we deliver. This is where I feel my team and I bring our patients the very best, every day.

Dr. Barbat today with husband Joe Dindo and sons Paul and Luke.
Dr. Barbat today with husband Joe Dindo and sons Paul and Luke.
6044 24-Mile Road, Shelby Township
6044 24-Mile Road, Shelby Township

Shelby Township has been a special home to us. We’ve enjoyed getting to know its people, support various events and charities, and grow along with our fellow business community. But most of all, we are grateful to all those who have entrusted their smiles to our care.

We look forward to our next twenty years! We always welcome new patients and hope you will add to our family of healthy, joyful smiles!

Call 586-739-2155 or visit: www.WhereLastingSmilesBegin.com.