Recent Posts



Is Your Mouth Frequently Dry? Oral Bacteria Thrive In A Dry Mouth.

Posted on Mar 30, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Okay, let’s admit it – we all have not-so-fresh breath at times. Upon wakening in the morning, after several cups of coffee, or indulging in a garlicky dish – we all have times that leave us hoping to avoid close interactions.

Occasional bad breath is fairly normal in situations as described above. Other than its source being certain foods (which can emerge from the stomach and linger long after consumption), smelly breath odor is most commonly the result of oral bacteria buildup.

It’s normal for every mouth to contain a certain amount of bacteria. It’s when the bacteria levels accumulate beyond what is manageable that creates the unpleasant stink of bad breath.

One source of persistent bad breath is periodontal (gum) disease. Frequent bad breath is a symptom of gum disease and is often accompanied by gum tenderness, seeing blood in the sink when brushing, or gums that deepen in color. If your breath odor is not coming from gum disease, however, your problem is likely related to a dry mouth.

Xerostomia, commonly known as ‘dry mouth,’ is a frequent state of oral dryness. Saliva is your mouth’s natural rinsing agent that helps cleanse oral bacteria from the mouth. This keeps bacteria to a minimum and their ability to cause problems at low risk.

When saliva flow is depleted, however, bacteria ‘hang around’ in the mouth longer and multiply rapidly. As oral bacteria thrive, reproduce and amass, the initial result is plaque. Plaque, the sticky film you can feel on teeth, also has an odor.

Periodic dry mouth can occur from consuming alcoholic beverages, coffee and certain medications. Although sugary drinks don’t necessarily dry oral tissues (unless they contain caffeine), sugar provides an ideal food for bacteria reproduction. When these beverages are both sugary and caffeinated, your mouth gets a one-two punch when it comes to oral bacteria growth.

Medications, such as antihistamines and some prescribed for depression and urinary incontinence can contribute to dry mouth. Medical conditions, including acid reflux, sinus infections, diabetes and bronchitis can also cause dry mouth. A bad cold, snoring or just being in the habit of breathing through the mouth are drying as well.

And the worst culprit of all for dry mouth? Smoking.

To begin, we examine patients who have a dry mouth to determine its source. Once the reason for your breath odor has been found, simple measures can often resolve the problem. These include:
 – Brush at least two minutes, twice daily. Use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue with your toothbrush after brushing teeth.
 – Floss daily. If this is difficult or awkward for you, purchase an electronic flosser.
 – Drink lots of water throughout the day. (Sports drinks do not count!) If you take medications that have drying side effects, use an oral rinse that replenishes saliva. There are several available over-the-counter.

Having fresh, confident breath begins with a clean, healthy mouth. If you have symptoms of gum disease or feel you have persistent bad breath, call (828) 274-9440 to schedule an examination.

Prostate Health Connection To Gum Health Revealed

Posted on Mar 27, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

For decades, research findings have shown health risks related to the effects of systemic inflammation. This is chronic inflammation inside the body that continually simmers and can’t turn itself off. While this inflammatory ‘boil’ is not obvious, it has been found to contribute to a number of serious health problems.

Research has found links between systemic inflammation and heart attack, stroke, memory loss, arthritis, diabetes, some cancers, preterm babies, impotency and even Alzheimer’s Disease.  In their quest to track down potential triggers of internal inflammation, researchers have been taking a closer look at periodontal disease, a bacterial infection in the mouth.

Periodontal (gum) disease begins when there is an over-accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. As bacteria reproduce and thrive, they attack gum tissues and the structures that support teeth. When this infectious bacteria enters the bloodstream through weakened gums, it can create inflammatory reactions that can set into motion the potential development of serious conditions.

Symptoms of gum disease include tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, persistent bad breath, gums that turn red, receded gums and pus pockets that form around teeth. Because many people are unaware that these symptoms are so harmful, periodontal disease is estimated to exist at some level in over 47% of American adults. Thus, it is no surprise that gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss.

In addition to the health problems listed above, new research has shown a possible connection between gum disease bacteria and Prostatitis, an infection of the prostate. Like periodontal disease, Prostatitis is an inflammatory disease. Prostatitis causes a frequent urge to urinate and a painful or burning sensation during urination.

The connection between periodontal disease bacteria and Prostatitis was revealed as a result of a study by researchers at Case Western University’s School of Dental Medicine and the Case Medical Center’s Department of Urology & Pathology. They found that Prostatitis symptoms were greatly improved by treating gum disease, even when prostrate treatment was withheld.

In the study, all participants had moderate to severe levels of gum disease. Additionally, each had inflammation of the prostrate gland with higher than normal prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels.

The participants were divided into two groups. One group consisted of men who were treated for gum disease. The other group received no treatment for their gum disease. Throughout the study, both groups had prostrate symptoms and PSA levels monitored but none received treatment for their prostate conditions.

At one-month and two-month marks, the PSA levels were measured in both groups. The findings showed that an overwhelming majority of those who were treated for gum disease had significantly lower PSA levels.

While these findings may help Prostatitis patients achieve better treatment results, the study reinforces how closely our oral health is connected to our overall health, even more than previously thought. Based on the study, just managing oral bacteria levels can reduce the risk of triggering inflammatory reactions in the body. In addition, we avoid oral problems that can be costly and time-consuming to treat.

Obviously, the potent bacteria of gum disease is nothing to ignore. As research continues to find links between it and serious health problems, we will share them. For now, take good care of your body AND your smile! If you have any of the symptoms associated to gum disease, call 828-274-9440 to schedule an examination. As a periodontal specialist, I am trained to treat all stages of gum disease.

Best To Replace Tooth With Dental Implant Promptly After Removal

Posted on Mar 23, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Even with the best of care, a tooth needs to be removed. Removal may be necessary because of an injury or break that extends below the gum line. Occasionally, removal is necessary when a tooth needs repair beyond what a crown can provide. When it is necessary to remove a tooth, there are several reasons to replace it immediately.

For many people, appearance is an important reason for placing an implant and crown right after tooth removal. Immediate replacement means they can avoid having an awkward and embarrassing gap in their smile. More importantly, however, is making sure that neighboring teeth are kept in their proper positions.

When an open area exists, the teeth on either side and the one above (or below) no longer have their reinforcement. The teeth on each side will tilt inward to the open area and the tooth above will grow longer. This begins a process of bite misalignment.

The delicate balance of upper to lower teeth is vital to your oral health, and beyond. A misaligned bite leads to cracked, broken, fractured or chipped teeth. Because an improper bite places strain on the jaw joints (TMJ), it can lead to frequent headaches, migraines, worn teeth (from grinding or ‘bruxing’), sore or popping jaw joints, difficulty opening the mouth fully, ear ringing, dizziness and sore facial muscles.

Just one missing tooth can lead to many future problems.

Before other teeth can move, it is wise to replace the tooth. As a lasting solution to a missing tooth, many adults choose to replace it with a dental implant immediately following removal. In addition to helping neighboring teeth hold their proper positions, another advantage is the prevention of bone loss. By inserting an implant immediately after a tooth is removed, you minimize the risk of bone loss, or ‘resorption.’

The process of resorption is when a tooth root is no longer present in the jaw bone. Because tooth roots stimulate and nurture the bone, their absence leads to bone shrinkage over time.  The declining foundation of bone places adjacent teeth at the greatest risk of being the next to be lost. This tends to set off a domino effect. Statistics show that the next tooth you’ll lose will be the next tooth in line.

Another benefit of immediate implant placement is the preservation of natural gum contours. Within days of having a tooth removed, the natural arch of gum tissue and the ‘points’ of gum tissue that dips between the top of each tooth will start to flatten. Placing an implant promptly following tooth removal helps to preserve the natural contours of your gum tissues. And the gums provide a natural frame for teeth, offering both esthetic appeal and protection.

Immediate replacement is also beneficial when two (or several) teeth in a row are missing. Because implant treatment fees are largely based on the number of implants placed, having one implant support a bridge of teeth saves you money while also preserving natural gum contours.

Additionally, since the positions for an implant (depth, angle, etc.)  in your jaw bone is already at proper dimensions, placing an implant following removal greatly simplifies treatment time, healing and procedural requirements.

To discuss immediate placement implants or any type of dental implant, call 828-274-9440. As a Periodontist, I have advanced training and skills in the diagnosis and placement of all types of implant systems. Begin with a consultation to discuss the implant best for your needs, the implant process and associated fees.

Don’t Let Lupus Compromise Your Smile

Posted on Mar 22, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Over the years, I’ve shared many findings that have revealed links between the infectious bacteria of periodontal (gum) disease to other serious health problems. The culprit tends to originate in how oral bacteria can trigger systemic inflammation elsewhere in the body. Because the bacteria can become bloodborne through tears in weakened gum tissues, it can freely travel throughout the body and lead to chronic inflammatory reactions.

Periodontitis is an advanced stage of periodontal (gum) disease. In the mouth, it causes destructive inflammation that leads to the loss of the structures that support teeth. Eventually, this leads to tooth loss and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S.

A person with Lupus, depending on the type of disease, faces a variety of oral health challenges. As an autoimmune disease, Lupus affects the collagen tissue in the entire body. This includes the collagen that exist in the tissues of the mouth. This adds to the problems of Lupus patients with longer healing times required after oral procedures as well as the common symptom of dry mouth.

When a mouth is dry, oral bacteria can more easily accumulate. Having a dry mouth contributes to an increased risk of developing cavities, gum disease and candidiasis, a fungal mouth infection. Dry mouth can cause the gums to become red and leukoplakic lesions to form on gum tissues. These are white, scaly patches that appear on the gum tissues inside the cheeks and/or on the palate and inner border of the lips.

To overcome the challenges of dry mouth, Lupus patients should practice ways to stimulate the production of saliva flow. This can be done by chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless hard candy.  They should drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep the mouth wet, preferably taking frequent sips. To soothe dry, cracked lips, a petroleum-based lip balm is recommended.

Dry mouth can be made worse by consuming caffeinated foods and beverages, spicy foods and alcoholic beverages. The worst drying agent to oral tissues is smoking or ‘chew.’

In addition to actions to prevent the problems associated with dry mouth, a saliva substitute may be helpful to replenish low saliva production. These products mimic some of the properties of saliva and help make the mouth feel wet. Some also contain fluoride, which can help to prevent cavities.  However, the benefits of saliva products are limited since they are eventually swallowed.  Because the effects last only a few hours, it may be necessary to use them several times a day.

Although the challenges that Lupus patients face are many, keeping good oral health can occur by devoting mere minutes to proactive oral health measures. In addition to helping to keep your mouth moist, be committed to a thorough at-home oral hygiene regimen. This includes daily flossing, twice daily brushing (at least two minutes each time), and limiting snacks.

We believe every person, regardless of their challenges, can enjoy a healthy, confident smile. If you have Lupus or any disease that creates hurdles when it comes to your oral health, let us help. Together, we can develop a plan that is appropriate for your individual needs. Call 828-274-9440 to arrange an examination to begin.