Rare mouth conditions

Most dental ailments are well known, like cavities, halitosis and impaction. These are solved by tried and tested methods and medicine that dentists most likely dole out daily. But there are a few ailments that are rare and take a bit more expertise and investigation to diagnose. 

Three rare conditions that affect the mouth are Burning Mouth Syndrome, Denture Stomatitis and Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.

Burning Mouth Syndrome 

Burning Mouth Syndrome is the awful sensation that your inner mouth is heating up. This can affect all areas inside the mouth, including the tongue, roof and inside of the cheeks. Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) is sometimes called ‘glossodynia’. Some people have even reported the feeling reaching as far as the outside of the lips.

The sensation has been likened to eating very strong chillies. The mouth does not physically heat up though. The inflamed parts will be at normal temperature to the touch. 

The condition is, in fact, the result of nerve damage or the brain not being able to read messages sent from the nerves in the mouth. You get this feeling when there are changes in the way the nerves in your mouth send messages to your brain, says Dental Health.  If your brain cannot read the signals to it accurately, it can cause the feeling of pain or burning.

BMS is believed to be brought on by several factors, including stress, immunodeficiency and hormonal changes.

It is also linked to other dental issues and conditions such as acid reflux; which is when the stomach acid moves up into the mouth. 

Other conditions related to BMS are thrush, diabetes and certain nutritional deficiencies. BMS is sometimes seen in people who are low on iron and B12, or who suffer from bulimia).

BMS is treated with several methods. Treatment depends on the exact cause. If you have BMS caused by anxiety, you will most likely need therapy and an antidepressant or SSRI inhibitor. Your dentist can also change your medication if your BMS has been caused by dry mouth (a side effect of some medications).

BMs can be kept at bay with a well-balanced diet and a healthy exercise regimen. Also, staying hydrated really helps. 

Many people who suffer from BMS find temporary relief from sucking on ice or eating minty, sugar-free gum.

Irritants like cigarette smoke and alcohol tend to worsen symptoms.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is a painful condition that babies and toddlers get from having sugars present in the mouth, eroding the teeth. 

The teeth erode when sugary liquids are left in the mouth for extended periods. An example of this would be when a baby falls asleep still suckling on a bottle. If the bottle isn’t removed from the mouth, the liquid that doesn’t get swallowed remains in the mouth and starts eating at the tooth enamel. These sugars in the liquids pool around the infant’s teeth and also feed the plaque-causing bacteria.

Some people have nicknamed the condition as ‘bottle rot’, which describes the more advanced stages. 

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay starts as white, patchy spots on the surface of the tooth and over time turns into brown and even black decay. 

Some kids suffer from swollen gums and infection if the issue is not resolved. 

How is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay treated?

The type of treatment depends on the severity of the decay, the age of the child and the child’s overall health. 

Most kids will get an antibiotic to combat any infections that have been caused by the rot.

Fluoride treatment or placing fluoride varnish on the teeth can be used to remineralise all the teeth. This reverses decay in its earliest stages by helping to rebuild the surface enamel. 

According to Colgate; your dentist will recommend fluoride supplements in all stages of bottle rot. In the initial stage, dietary changes could also help delay the rotting and give the meds a chance to work. 

The diet changes will include limiting acidic foods and adding more water to the diet. The less acid, which can worsen the already fragile teeth, the better.

Denture stomatitis (Thrush)

Denture Stomatitis is a yeast infection, caused by a fungus commonly known as candida.

Everyone has candida in the mouth. Denture Stomatitis is aggravated by perpetuating poor oral hygiene habits while wearing dentures.

Other people who are likely to develop Denture Stomatitis are diabetics, people who use inhalers and those who have recently finished a course of antibiotics.

Treatment is purely based on proper hygiene control. People who wear dentures need to clean their dentures every day in the proper solution provided by the dentist. It is also important to brush the gums, tongue and remaining teeth each day with fluoride toothpaste. 

The condition can be identified as white or red, sore patches under the dentures anywhere inside the mouth.

Affinity Dental boasts three tiers of dental insurance available at different price points. Each of these options covers certain specialist work to various degrees. Having a dental insurance plan will save you money and make sure that you are covered for dental treatment to keep rare conditions like these at bay! 

The Silver Plan starts from as little as R189 a month and covers basic dentistry needs. The Gold Plan offers Full Mouth Examination or Scale and Polish, Intraoral Radiographs, Emergency Examination, Infection Control, Extractions, Fillings, Root Canal, Impaction, Crowns and once again, Specialist Dentistry.

There is even a  Platinum Plan that costs members around R389 a month. 

Visit the website for our plans and information.

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