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Dry mouth (xerostomia)

The saliva present in the mouth serves to lubricate and reduce friction in the mouth, the structures in the mouth are delicate and the presence of saliva to reduce friction helps prevent injury to the tissues, helps prevent us from biting our tongue during speech. In addition saliva contains some enzymes and substances which help us to digest food in the mouth and make it easier to swallow; there is some antibacterial effect of bacteria and washes away food debris.

When the mouth is dry it therefore gives a cause for concern and this affects some of the earlier mentioned functions of the saliva present in the mouth.

There are several reasons why the mouth may be dry; we will examine some of these pathological and non pathological states that can lead to the dryness of the mouth also known as xerostomia.

 

PSYCHOGENIC

There are people who complain of the presence of dry mouth only to discover on examination the tissues are properly hydrated and moist, such could be as a result of a psychogenic or psychological disorder

COMPLICATIONS OF SOME MEDICATION

Certain prescribed drugs used to treat a condition may lead to dry mouth as a side effect, in such instances the cessation of such medication may lead to the dry mouth abating.

Read more: Dry mouth (xerostomia)

Breast-feeding relevance to oral health

It is quite difficult to really associate breast feeding with oral health, most especially when viewed from the general perspective.

Breast feeding has been a long accepted method of delivering nutrition to the infant most especially in most cultures, Africa included. This is except the European culture where it has always been viewed in different light. Women in this environment are often obsessed with their figure, structure and looks. In the Victorian age for example, women wore tight fitting dresses, known as corsets. These corsets were literarily bound so tightly to their bodies more like second skins.

The idea of feeding an infant in these contraptions was really unthinkable and nigh impossible and unattractive.

The beginning of the twentieth century saw the arrival of infant milk formula which was touted under massive campaigns as providing adequate nutrition to the infant and even seen as superior nutrition scientifically. Obviously this was market driver than based on clinical evidence.

The natural child birth movement of the early 1970s started reinforcing homebirth the need for midwives visit and the resurgence of breast feeding came to fore.

Whilst there seems no obvious relationship between oral health and breast feeding, facts show otherwise.

Breast feeding affects the oral health of the infant which may indeed impact on the mother eventually.

The relevance is seen in the first moments of an infant’s life outside the womb on delivery. The first attempt at nursing may present the first issues, say for example there is a tongue-tie, and feeding is difficult. There is a lingual cord that attaches the cord to the floor of the mouth , when there is a tongue tie the attachment is more anterior and more towards the tip of the tongue.

Read more: Breast-feeding relevance to oral health

Mumps

Healthy Living with Dr. Samuel Omodele Awosolu

08108155239 (SMS only) | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  (Text only)

This is a viral infection of the salivary glands. Mostly affected is the salivary glands the parotid between the corner of the jaw joint and the ear.

Read more: Mumps

Glossary of commonly used dental terms (VII)

•Root planning : The process of scaling and planing exposed root surfaces to remove all calculus, plaque, and infected tissue.

Read more: Glossary of commonly used dental terms (VII)

Sexually transmitted diseases and oral health (1)

Sexually transmitted diseases are on the increase. This is despite the best efforts of health professionals in educating the public and creating awareness. Venereal disease like almost all other human diseases, have an oral manifestation -that is symptoms present in the mouth. A dentist, during a routine examination of the mouth, could easily pick signs of these and make diagnosis of a more sinister occult disease.
There are certain individuals due to their sexual practice may be at greater risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases most especially the promiscuous and the young adventurous adults and homosexuals. This last group are existing in our community despite the abhorrence and the promulgation of laws public concerns. Promiscuous heterosexuals, drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics armed forces members for obvious reasons, merchant seamen, aircrew, frequent business travellers, and the sexual partners of members of the group all prone. The list is by no means exhaustive; these diseases are contagious and mainly contactable by intimate and not ordinary contact. This is through blood and other body fluids, not by airborne route nominally.
A couple of venereal diseases will be examined in this series.

Read more: Sexually transmitted diseases and oral health (1)

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