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Why do I have a
dry mouth in the mornings?
If you are not on any medication, the most common cause
of dry mouth in the morning is mouth-breathing or snoring
at night. These conditions are typically undiagnosed as patients
think that they are not important enough to merit treatment
or even to mention in their normal checkup.
Nothing is further from the truth. Mouth-breathing can adversely affect a lot
of body systems. Snoring can develop into Sleep Apnoea, which carries a real
risk of a stroke or a heart attack. If you notice that you usually have a dry
mouth in the morning, especially when you are properly hydrated, please seek
Can I replace missing teeth?
Missing teeth can be replaced. There are many treatment
options available including implants, bridges and all sorts
of either fixed or removable appliances. It is very important
though for a thorough assessment of your situation to be
done first to determine what the best option would be for
you and for the end result to be lasting and something that
you are happy with.
Is snoring a problem?
Snoring can certainly be a problem. It is important to
understand that snoring is usually a symptom of some type
of airway obstruction. As such, snoring should not be thought
of as something that just exists and you have to put up with,
but something that needs to be investigated. Once the cause
is determined, steps can be taken to resolve it. If left
unresolved, snoring has the potential to develop into Sleep
Apnoea which is a serious condition with a real risk of death
due to a stroke or a heart attack. Over 90% of Apnoea is
undiagnosed. Any snoring either in an adult or a child should
be investigated promptly.
My jaw joints click and or lock,
is this a problem?
Any unusual sign or symptom
in the jaw joints can indicate previous or ongoing problems
in the joints and should be investigated. Even if there is
currently no pain, a thorough assessment should be done,
which will indicate the current condition in the joints.
If the joints should deteriorate in the future, then it’s
possible to reflect back on the initial assessment and determine
how the situation has changed. This can sometimes be invaluable
in helping to determine what type of treatment should be
My partner says that I grind my teeth
at night, is it a problem?
Yes, tooth grinding can cause unnecessary wear and fractures
of the teeth as well as damage to the jaw joints. It can
also contribute to headaches due to muscle tension and spasm.
Tooth grinding itself can be a symptom of other conditions
not necessarily just a response to stress as is commonly
believed. Some common causes can be:
- neck muscle tension
- over-closed bite
- underdeveloped upper and lower jaw
- abnormal compression of the jaw joints
Any night time or even daytime grinding or clenching of
the teeth should be investigated further.
How do I keep my teeth and gums healthy?
Optimum health of the gums and teeth can only be achieved
and maintained long term by a thorough and consistent oral
hygiene routine that you can perform yourself. This almost
always needs to be customised to the individual patient’s
mouth however I can list the basics for you to get started
- optimum nutrition for a strong immune
- elimination of factors that locally
suppress immune system such as smoking
- elimination of mouth-breathing/snoring
- optimum hydration
- basic oral hygiene routine (minimum
once per day)
- floss all teeth
- brush teeth/gums
- clean the tongue
- mouthwash (once a week to once per fortnight,
the type of mouthwash varies according to result
that is required)
How can I prevent the need for braces in
Braces are usually used to correct crowding or cosmetic
misalignment of the teeth. Once the dentist is presented
with this situation, its usually too late as treatment can
be very involved, costly and time consuming.
Prevention in this situation is very much better than a
cure. It is also important to realise that genetics do not
play a major role in how the jaws develop and teeth are arranged.
Jaw development and growth is influenced mainly by muscle
For optimum growth and development and to achieve a nice
face and pleasing tooth arrangement, we need proper breathing
(nose breathing) right through a child’s critical development
years (0-13 years). If any airway obstruction occurs either
due to; nutritional problems, allergies,
physical obstruction (e.g. a deviated septum) your
child can develop mouth-breathing which can lead to abnormal
function of the tongue and cheeks and even abnormal swallowing.
This can affect growth as the muscles will be working against
growth instead of with it.
Breathing problems should always be assessed as early as
possible in children so that they can be eliminated before
they develop into habits.
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