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Oral medicine

Oral medicine

Our mouth isn't sterile. More than 6000 types of bacteria can be found in our mouth, which usually live and interact harmoniously. At birth, a child's mouth is essentially sterile, however, once born the mouth is exposed and microorganisms flourish in the mouth. Most are not dangerous, rather are useful and are usual inhabitants in the mouth.

Our oral flora changes throughout life. These changes depend on dietary habits, dental caries, oral hygiene, and prosthetic restorations.

Our body has developed a perfect defense system towards microbe invasions that start in the mouth. Our defense system is made up from a healthy and intact mucosa and saliva. Saliva and gingival fluid wash away microbes and food during chewing. A healthy mouth is a reflection of our general health, dietary habits and oral hygiene.

„Dry Mouth" - xerostomia

Statistics show that 2 of 10 patients suffer from dry mouth. Poor salivary flow can result from certain illnesses, hormonal changes in menopause, medication (antidepressants, antihistamines, diuretics for regulating blood pressure,) strict diets, radiation therapy, etc...

All previously mentioned conditions can affect the quantity and quality of saliva.

A dry mucosa is vulnerable, susceptible to infections and the colonization of harmful micro-organisms. In such conditions, the mouth is subjected to bad breath, frequent injuries to an already sensitive mucosa and frequent dental caries. The patient usually experiences a burning sensation in the mouth, many cervical caries and poor denture fit.

Do you suffer from „dry mouth"? We can help you!

 

CHEILITIS ANGULARIS

The corners of the mouth are frequently moist due to saliva flow, and are susceptible to infections. Many believe that such infections are contagious; however, they become contagious when the cracked corners of the mouth become colonized with streptococcus and staphylococcus bacteria and yeasts due contamination from unwashed hands, drinking from a dirty glass, etc...

The infection then progresses rapidly and can be spread to another person. The corners of the mouth become cracked and painful when are opened because the cracks break and bleed, which heals by crusting. Inadvertently, moistening the corners of the mouth by licking of the cracks just prolongs the healing process. 

Most common causes:

  • lack of Vitamin B12
  • Candida infection
  • streptococcus and staphylococcus infections
  • missing lateral teeth resulting in a loss of vertical dimension
  • people who talk excessively and continuously lick the corners of their mouth
  • injury due to overstretching the lips

Treatment depends on the cause of infection.

 

HERPES SIMPLEX

After getting over a herpes infection, the virus goes into a latent period. Certain stimulants (stress, physical stress, psychological excitement, low immune system due to an illness) can re-activate the virus and induce a herpes infection.

A herpes infection usually appears on the lip or face as a cluster of small blisters preceded by a burning sensation and pain. When the blisters burst, scabs form which heal without scarring.

Advice: Do not pick at the scabs with your hands; rather let them fall off by themselves!

Treatment is administered with acyclovir, interferon and topical ointments.

 

APHTE (Canker sores)

The cause of aphthae has not been entirely proven, however stress and anxiety greatly contribute to occurrence of aphthae. Aphthae usually affect younger adults, school children, college students, as well as those with high stress jobs, such as mangers. Aphthae also occur when ones immune system is low, such as colds, various illnesses, and chronic diseases. Symptoms include redness and pain. Ulcerations with white edges can be seen on the mucosa and/or tongue. The entire affected area is painful. Aphthae are recurrent and often occur in intervals.

Treatment is symptomatic, analgesic lozenges before eating, application of re-epitelization medicine, and taking Vitamin C and B. 

 

DIABETES

Besides high blood-glucose levels, high levels of glucose can be found in saliva. Such high levels increase the acidic reactions in saliva, resulting in the colonization of yeast, Candida albicans which causing redness and white deposits, especially on the tongue.

Because of a decreased immune system, bacteria found in the mouth can cause various inflammations. The mucosa is dry, red, slightly swollen and very sensitive. Gums bleed at even the slightest touch. Patients experience acetone breath, where as the acidic levels cause frequent caries infections and periodontal disease. Oral hygiene in such patients needs to be impeccable, and daily use of an antiseptic mouth wash is strongly recommended.

Treatment consists of treating diabetes, avoiding stress, maintaining ones oral hygiene and frequent dental check-ups and professional cleanings. 

 

SMOKING AND YOUR MOUTH

A smoker’s mouth speaks for itself. We first sense the nicotine odor, and then we notice the brownish-yellow discolored teeth which are a result of tar buildup. The patient experiences conditions such as an altered sense of taste and chronically dry mouth.

The adverse effects of smoking on the oral cavity have been proven. Symptoms include chronic inflammations of the gingiva, necrotic ulcer gingivitis (painful gums, bad breathe, possible of a temperature), various injuries to the mucosa, and even premalignant conditions which can lead to leucoplakia and other malignant cancers. 

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