Dry Mouth

Dry mouth happens to everyone on occasion, but sometimes the problem is unusually severe or does not improve with a drink of water. Chronic dry mouth occurs when the saliva glands do not produce sufficient saliva to keep the mouth moist. While annoying, dry mouth can also have an impact on your overall health and the health of your teeth.

Causes of Dry Mouth

One of the most common causes of dry mouth is medications, including both prescription and over-the-counter, for conditions like nerve pain, anxiety, allergies, depression and congestion. Pain medications can also be a contributing factor.
Dry mouth can happen as a natural part of the aging process, although most often people notice dry mouth as they age due to new medications or health conditions they are experiencing as a result of aging. Treatment for cancer can also cause the condition. Drug an alcohol abuse, nerve damage and a number of autoimmune diseases can also cause a dry mouth.

Problems Connected to Dry Mouth

Without sufficient saliva, you may develop problems with increased plaque, as the bacteria in the saliva will not break down the tartar that leads to plaque. This, then, can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Mouth sores, fungal infections of the mouth, sores in the mouth, cracked lips and difficulty chewing and swallowing can also occur.

Get Help for Dry Mouth

If you are struggling with dry mouth, Dr. James J. McCall is ready to help. The treatment will depend on the cause of your condition, and may involve working with your doctor to change your medications, using products to moisturize the mouth or even using prescription medications to stimulate saliva production. You will also need to work with your dentist to protect your teeth from the problems connected to dry mouth.

To get help with your dry mouth, contact Dr. James J. McCall at his Jacksonville practice at 904-620-9225.

Diabetes: Dental Tips for Improving Oral Health While Fighting Diabetes

An estimated 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, and each year around 1.7 million new cases will be diagnosed. People with diabetes have trouble processing the sugar they eat, and that can cause a wide range of health effects, including problems with the mouth and teeth. In fact, for some people, oral health problems are the first visible signs of their diabetes. Here are some facts you should know about diabetes and your oral health.

Oral Health Symptoms of Diabetes

If diabetes is left untreated, often because a patient does not know he has it, it can cause a range of oral health problems. These include:

• Delayed wound healing in the mouth
• Infections in the mouth
• Lower saliva levels in the mouth
• Increased risk of cavities
• Increased risk of gingivitis
• Inability to taste food well

Many of these problems stem from poor blood sugar control. In addition, infections with the mouth, including serious gum disease, can cause blood sugar to rise, creating an endless cycle of poor oral health and poor blood sugar control. That is why proper dental health is even more important to someone with diabetes.

How to Protect Your Mouth While Fighting Diabetes

If you are struggling with diabetes, you will need to work hard to keep your teeth healthy. This starts with routine visits to your dentist. It also includes brushing and flossing routines at home. If you notice any sores or signs of infection, make an appointment with your doctor right away. Finally, do what you can to keep your blood sugars in line, so you can avoid problems from poor blood sugar control.

If you are looking for a dental practitioner who can help you maintain good oral health, while learning to control your diabetes contact Dr. James J. McCall at his Jacksonville, Florida practice. Call 904-620-9225 to schedule an appointment today.

Tooth-Friendly Diet

Can you diet affect your teeth? Absolutely! You probably already know that eating a lot of sugary foods is bad for your teeth, and warn your children about cavities every Halloween, but there is more to a tooth-friendly diet than simply ignoring sugar. Eating the right foods and drinking the right beverages can actually help you keep your natural teeth longer while avoiding staining and other damage.

A Calcium-Rich Diet

When your mom told you to drink your milk, she was not wrong. Adequate calcium intake keeps teeth strong and healthy. When you do not have enough calcium, the body may pull it from your teeth to compensate, and this can lead to an increased risk of cavities and tooth decay. Aim for two to four servings a day of diary or other calcium-rich foods.

Vitamin-C

Vitamin C also helps promote oral health. In fact, those who eat less than the recommended daily amount of vitamin C are 25 percent more likely to develop gingivitis than those who eat more than the recommended daily amount. Adding citrus fruit or kiwi to your daily diet will help. Just one serving per day will help.

Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables

Crunchy fruits and vegetables not only add important nutrients to your diet, but also help wipe away the bacteria that can lead to plaque. The chewing motions required to eat these foods also help you create more saliva in your mouth, which neutralizes bacteria in the mouth.

Avoiding Sugary Snacks

Of course, sugar is the enemy of healthy teeth. Enjoy sugary snacks in moderation. Hard candies and gummy candies, which can stick to the teeth, are particularly damaging. Acidic foods can also be a problem for teeth, as the acid breaks down tooth enamel. Soda, which contains both acid and sugar, is another dangerous food for your teeth.

Everything you put in your mouth comes in contact with your teeth, and your food also has the potential to give your teeth nutrients they need to be healthy. Make sure you protect your oral healthy by choosing foods that do not damage, but rather support, your oral health. If you have further questions about a tooth-friendly diet, talk to Dr. James J. McCall.

Teeth Grinding

Nearly everyone will occasionally grind or clench their teeth. Sometimes, this is just a minor response to a stressful situation and requires no attention or intervention. Chronic teeth grinding, however, is a condition called bruxism, and can cause damage to the teeth and other health concerns.

Why People Grind Their Teeth

Teeth grinding is sometimes a response to stress and anxiety. For some people, however, the action occurs during sleep without any stress or other problems. In these cases, it is often due to an abnormal bite that causes the mouth to line up incorrectly. Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can also cause teeth grinding.

Unfortunately, many people are unaware that they grind their teeth, because they do it in their sleep. The only symptom they may experience is a dull, constant headache or soreness in a jaw. Others may find out that they grind their teeth when someone who lives with them mentions hearing it. Excessive wear on the teeth noted at dental appointments can also be a sign that there is a problem.

Problems Connected to Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, when it is a chronic problem, can cause fractures of the teeth or cause the teeth to wear down too far. Severe problems with teeth grinding can cause the teeth to loosen or fall out. Sometimes the action of grinding the teeth can damage or injure the jaws or cause problems with the TMJ. Some people, if the condition is not addressed, will notice a change to the appearance of their faces.

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist. You may be able to use a mouth guard to stop the action and protect your teeth. Orthodontics may also be able to adjust your bite to limit the action.

For grinding that occurs due to stress, a dentist or doctor may be able to provide suggestions to reduce stress. For those who grind due to a sleep disorder, treating the disorder may be the answer. You can also help improve sleep and limit teeth grinding by avoiding caffeine, chocolate and alcohol consumption prior to sleep.

Teeth grinding, if left untreated, is more than just a minor annoyance. It can be a serious health risk. Talk to your Dr. James McCall if you suspect that you or someone you love is struggling with teeth grinding, so you can make the necessary changes to stop this potentially damaging behavior.

Plaque and Gingivitis – Two Enemies of Your Oral Health

In your goal of keeping your mouth health, plaque and gingivitis are your two worst enemies. Understanding more about these common dental problems will help you take the right steps towards improving your overall oral health.

What Is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky biofilm made up of bacteria that lives on gum tissue, teeth and dental crowns. It constantly forms on the teeth, and is a normal part of your mouth. However, the bacteria in plaque releases acid, and the sticky nature of the plaque keeps those acids in contact with your teeth. This, in turn, can cause a breakdown in the enamel that leads to tooth decay.

In addition, plaque can build up on the teeth and turn into hard tartar. It can also cause gum disease, with gingivitis being the first sign of a problem.

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a gum disease commonly associated with plaque buildup. Gingivitis causes tender, swollen gums, and sometimes the gums will bleed. If left untreated, the disease causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. The bacteria then have access to the bone supporting the teeth, and over time this bone deteriorates to the point that the tooth falls out.
Preventing Plaque and Gingivitis

Plaque is a normal part of your mouth, but plaque buildup is not. To prevent plaque and gingivitis, you need to pay close attention to dental health. Start by ensuring that you are brushing properly, preferably around 20 minutes after each meal using a fluoride toothpaste. Also, floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth.

Then, be careful what you eat. Sugar feeds the bacteria in the plaque, causing it to build up more quickly, while acidic foods lead to greater tooth breakdown. Reduce your sugar intake, and ensure that you either brush or chew sugar-free gum after eating sugary or acidic foods.

Finally, have your teeth cleaned professionally regularly, opting for every six months to ensure that the plaque you can’t address is properly removed. Dr. James J. McCall is happy to help you with keeping your mouth plaque and gingivitis free. Contact him today to schedule your annual cleaning.

Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is one of the most important dental hygiene steps you can take each day. Brushing your teeth removes food and plaque, helping prevent tartar buildup, enamel breakdown and cavities. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and Dr. James J. McCall recommends adding in a third brushing after your third meal.

When to Brush

Most people brush their teeth in the morning and at bedtime. This is a good routine, but you may wish to consider brushing about 30 minutes after each meal. This will remove food before it has a chance to cause problems, and will also help improve your breath. Keep in mind that you should wait for at least 30 minutes if you ate something acidic, as these foods can weaken your tooth enamel. Brushing your teeth too soon can damage the enamel.

How to Brush

Brushing your teeth seems simple, but unfortunately many people make mistakes that could damage their teeth.

First, start with the right amount of toothpaste. You only need about a pea-sized amount on a soft-bristle brush that you replace every three months. Brush for about two minutes, but do not be rough with your teeth. Sawing at your teeth will not get them cleaner, and can lead to gum recession. If your gums recede too much, the nerves will become exposed, causing sensitivity.

Next, be sure to brush all sides of your teeth, including the inside surfaces. It can be easy to miss some inside surfaces when switching positioning of the brush. Finally, when you are done, remove food and bacteria from the tongue by sweeping the brush back and front across your tongue.

Do you have further questions about brushing technique? Talk to Dr. James J. McCall to discuss your oral health and brushing technique, and ensure you are caring for your teeth properly.

Stress and Your Dental Health

Does stress affect your oral health? Stress affects every part of the body, and a recent video from Dr. James J. McCall points out ways in which stress affects oral health. According to Dr. McCall, stress can cause a variety of oral health concerns, which is one reason among many that controlling stress is important.

Canker Sores

One problem that can be made worse with stress is the development of canker sores. Canker sores are small ulcer-like sores with a white or gray base, often bordered in red. They appear in pairs or even larger groups, and medical professionals do not know what causes them to develop. However, stress and fatigue make the chances of developing canker sores much higher. These sores are not contagious, but can be quite uncomfortable. Using topical anesthetics and avoiding spicy or acidic foods, which can increase irritation, may help manage the symptoms. The sores last about a week.

Cold Sores

Unlike canker sores, cold sores have a known cause- the herpes simplex virus, which is highly contagious. These fluid filled blisters appear around the lips, nose or chin. Stress and strong emotional upset can cause an outbreak. If you are suffering form cold sores, talk to your doctor about treatment to avoid spreading them.

Clenching or Grinding Teeth

If you are already in the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, stress can make the problem worse. Unfortunately, if left unchecked, this habit can wear down your teeth and cause problems with the jaw, including TMJ. A night guard or other oral appliance can help.

Poor Oral Hygiene

When you are under periods of intense stress, oral hygiene is easy to overlook. Unfortunately, skipping oral hygiene routines can make oral disease worse. Also, stressful periods of time can contribute to unhealthy eating, which can create further problems with the teeth and gums.

The reality is that stress does affect oral health. To ensure that the health of your teeth and gums is not compromised, find healthy ways to relieve stress, including healthy eating and routine exercise.

Why You Should See a Cosmetic Dentist

Have you considered going to the cosmetic dentist? If you are unhappy with your smile for any reason, the cosmetic dentist can be the right choice to help you make your smile more appealing. If you have concerns about your smile or lack confidence because of your teeth, Dr. James J. McCall recommends a visit to a cosmetic dentist in this recent video.

What The Cosmetic Dentist Can Do

What can the cosmetic dentist do for you? According to Dr. James J. McCall, the cosmetic dentist has several techniques to use to make your smile more visually appealing.

One of the most popular treatments available through a cosmetic dentist is teeth whitening. Your dentist can use a variety of techniques to bring your teeth several shades whiter and brighter. Often, this is all that is necessary to improve your look and your confidence.

Porcelain crowns and veneers can also help when severe staining or damage is present. Cosmetic dentists use these devices to give you a smile that looks like the teeth God gave you. For missing teeth, dentures, implants and other prosthetics can replace the teeth and restore the look of your smile. Sometimes these procedures require the help of an oral surgeon or periodontist, but the cosmetic dentist can help you get started.

Choosing the Right Cosmetic Dentist

If you have decided to use the services of a cosmetic dentist, you will want to choose carefully. Your regular dentist can be a source of a referral, but make sure you do your homework beyond this basic referral. As with any medical professional, you need to check credentials and reputation to ensure that you have chosen the right one. Your smile is worth a little extra time to research dentists and choose a cosmetic dentist that has a reputation for quality work.

If your smile is not something you are proud of, do not despair. Something can be done to make your smile and your teeth more appealing. With the help of a cosmetic dentist, you can have a smile you are proud of again.

Comfort and Customer Service in Dentistry

With over 450 dental practices in the Jacksonville area, how can you be certain that you have chosen the right one? Dr. James J. McCall is committed to providing you with a patient-centric experience, where your comfort comes first. With one simple philosophy – the patient always comes first – Dr. McCall and his staff have created a practice where you will actually look forward to coming to the dentist.

Your dental visit starts with a friendly smile from our reception staff. While you wait, enjoy fresh baked cookies, coffee and tea in our reception area, where you will relax on comfortable couches, not hard office chairs. Pick up a magazine and get comfortable.

But your wait won’t be long. We are committed to seeing every patient on time, every time, so you will not be sitting around. Your time is valuable, and we know our patients lead busy lives, so we will be respectful of your time.

When you are escorted back to the exam area, you will be surprised at how relaxing the environment feels. Our spa-like dental clinic provides for all of your needs. When you lean back for your exam, you can relax watching the TV mounted to the ceiling. If you are feeling nervous, we will provide nitrous oxide to help you relax. For patients who feel cold, a warm blanket is available.

Throughout your appointment, we will keep you informed. We explain both what needs to be done, and why it is needed, and provide a through education of the risks if you choose to skip a treatment. We do this because we believe that patients who understand what we are doing and why will take better care of their teeth. We will never proceed until all questions about a procedure are answered, you know what is happening, and you have approved the treatment.

After your procedure, we will bill your dental plan for you. If you are concerned about the cost of treatment, we will find a financial option that works with your budget. We never want cost to be a reason that one of our patients forgoes a necessary treatment.

Welcome to the dental clinic of Dr. James J. McCall. Here, you are treated like family. We want you to keep your teeth for life with a beautiful, confidence-building smile. Let us help you take control of your dental health.

Bad Breath – What Does It Mean?

Is bad breath an oral health concern? Dr. James J. McCall warns patients that it can be. Halitosis, or bad breath, can be as simple as a garlic sauce on the pasta you had for lunch and as complicated as severe liver problems. Understanding halitosis will help you take better care of your health.

What Causes Bad Breath

For most people, bad breath occurs due to poor oral hygiene. Gum disease or food particles retained in the teeth both cause halitosis. However, it can also occur when people have a medical infection, are struggling with kidney or liver failure, have a dry mouth, use tobacco or have diabetes. Chronic bad breath, even when oral hygiene issues are addressed, is something you need to look into, because it can indicate an underlying health condition.

Why Does Breath Stink in the Morning?

Many people, no matter how careful they are about their oral hygiene, have what is known as morning breath. This is a normal condition and is rarely a sign of a serious problem.
While you are sleeping, your body produces less saliva. This, in turn, allows more bacteria to grow in the mouth. This bacteria causes morning breath. Simply brushing your teeth or eating breakfast can eliminate the problem.

Controlling Bad Breath

Controlling bad breath starts with good oral hygiene. You need to brush and floss your teeth twice per day, and brush the tongue, cheeks and roof of the mouth when you brush. Chewing gum, as long as it is sugar free, will help as well by stimulating saliva production and removing some food particles. Then, make regular visits to the dentist to check for gum disease and other physical problems that are leading to bad breath. Regular professional cleanings can keep bacteria, plaque and other bad breath triggers at bay.

If you are concerned about your bad breath, Dr. James J. McCall is ready to help. Call today to schedule your appointment.