Common mouth sore treatment
Canker sores usually heal on their own after a week or two. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics and antimicrobial mouth rinses may provide temporary relief. Stay away from hot, spicy or acidic foods that can irritate the sore. See your dentist if the sores do not heal or are painful. Antibiotics from your dentist and some oral bandages can reduce secondary infection.
Cold sores usually heal in a week by themselves. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics can provide some relief. Your dentist may prescribe antiviral drugs to reduce these kinds of viral infections.
Treating leukoplakia: If you show signs of this condition, your dentist examines the lesion and checks the biopsy results to help determine how to manage the disease. Treatment begins with removing the factors that contribute to the lesion: quitting tobacco or replacing ill-fitting dentures or bridges.
Treating candidiasis: Control focuses on preventing or controlling the conditions that caused the outbreak. Good oral hygiene is essential. Clean dentures to remove Candida and remove the dentures at bedtime. Saliva substitutes and prescription medications may be helpful when the underlying cause of dry mouth is incurable or unavoidable.
Heart Patients: Antibiotic prophylaxis
Before some dental treatments, patients who have certain heart conditions and those with artificial joints take antibiotics. These people may be at risk of developing an infection in the heart or at the site of the artificial joint, respectively. Antibiotics reduce this risk. This is called antibiotic prophylaxis (pronounced pro-fuh-lax-iss).
When treating patients with heart conditions, dentists follow recommendations developed by the American Heart Association (AHA), with input from the ADA. For patients who have total joint replacements, they refer to recommendations developed by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).
Recommendations for People with Heart Conditions
The AHA recommendations are meant to reduce the risk of infective endocarditis (pronounced end-o-car-die-tiss). Infective endocarditis (IE) is an infection of the lining inside the heart or the heart valves.
In the past, a number of heart conditions were thought to put patients at risk for IE. When writing the new recommendations, the AHA looked at published research and other scientific articles. They found that fewer conditions were associated with IE. As a result, a smaller group of patients needs to premedicate before dental treatments.
Treatment for Xerostomia
Reduced saliva flow that results in a dry mouth is a common problem among older adults. It is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.
Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include a constant sore throat, burning sensation, problems speaking, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or dry nasal passages. Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Without adequate saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food, and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive decay can occur.
We can recommend various methods to restore moisture. Sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses.
The good news is that you can help prevent periodontal (gum) disease by taking good care of your teeth every day and having regular dental checkups. Here’s how to keep your teeth and gums healthy:
- Brush your teeth well twice a day.
- This removes the film of bacteria from the teeth. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that is in good condition. Toothpastes and mouth rinses containing fluoride strengthen the teeth and help prevent decay. Choose products that bear the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, your assurance that they have met the ADA’s standards for safety and effectiveness. The ADA reviews all advertising claims for any product bearing the Seal. The Seal on a product is an assurance for consumers and dentists against misleading or untrue statements concerning a product’s safety and effectiveness.
- Clean between your teeth every day.
- Cleaning between your teeth with floss or interdental cleaners removes bacteria and food particles from between the teeth, where a toothbrush can’t reach. Early periodontal (gum) disease can often be reversed by daily brushing and flossing. If you use interdental cleaners, ask your dentist how to use them properly, to avoid injuring your gums.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Choose a variety of foods from the basic food groups, such as breads, cereals and other grain products; fruits; vegetables; meat, poultry and fish; and dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Limit between-meal snacks.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
- It is important to have regular dental checkups, and professional cleaning is essential to prevent periodontal diseases.
Eating disorders and your teeth
Eating disorders can also affect oral health. Without the proper nutrition, gums and other soft tissue inside your mouth may bleed easily. The glands that produce saliva may swell. Individuals may experience chronic dry mouth. Throwing up frequently can affect teeth, too. When strong stomach acid repeatedly flows over teeth, the tooth’s outer covering (enamel) can be lost to the point that the teeth change in color, shape and length. The edges of teeth become thin and break off easily. Eating hot or cold food or drink may become uncomfortable.
Treatment for Oral Health Consequences of Eating Disorders
- Maintain meticulous oral health care related to tooth brushing and flossing.
- Immediately after throwing up, do NOT brush but rinse with baking soda to help neutralize the effects of the stomach acid.
- Consult with your dentist about your specific treatment needs.
Treatment for Oral Cancer
An estimated 400,000 of the 1.2 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year may develop painful oral complications from their cancer treatment. Persons who undergo cancer treatment are sometimes unaware that a dental examination is a critical step in maintaining their overall health.
Someone who is receiving radiation therapy of the head and neck area, or has a history of such treatment, may develop certain complications including dry mouth, sensitive lesions in the oral cavity, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay and difficulty swallowing. Chemotherapy can also have significant effects on the oral cavity.
To help prevent, minimize and manage such problems, your dentist and oncologist can work together—before and during your cancer treatment.
During the treatment period for head and neck cancer, gently brush your teeth twice a day unless your dentist recommends otherwise. Your dentist may recommend a mouth rinse in addition to daily brushing. If you develop a condition called dry mouth, your dentist may recommend a saliva replacement, an artificial saliva that is available over-the-counter at pharmacies. Frequent fluoride applications may also be recommended.
Because any mouth infection may have serious implications, contact your dentist or physician immediately should any occur. Your dentist and physician both want your treatment to be as safe and effective as possible.