A Closer Connection in 2019

The relationship between mothers and daughters is complex and filled with nuances. And while some may enjoy a picture-perfect bond of warmth, security, and mutual understanding, most of us have had times when we just wish we knew how to connect without conflict.

Mother-daughter relationships naturally undergo major change when the daughter transitions to adulthood, and the changes can seem even more jarring as Mom ages. Sometimes, there’s a long history of conflict or disagreement that becomes enlarged as Mom needs her daughter’s help and care.

At times, when the roles of nurturing and care giving seem to reverse, both mother and daughter can be left at a loss with how to relate to one another. Here are a few tips on how to reset your relationship with Mom, and get started on building a closer, healthier connection this year:

Realistic expectations

“My mother tries to control my choices and my life.”

“My daughter has no respect for my wishes!”

Many daughters imagine that a mother should be a constant, unending source of support and unconditional love. Many moms tend to view their daughters as extensions of their own hopes and dreams. Remembering that both you and your mom are individuals in your own rights can help in maintaining realistic expectations of what each of you can and cannot do.

Sometimes communicating means having that tough conversation. “Mom, I feel criticized when you disapprove of my choice of career.” “Mom, I know you feel that I haven’t spent enough time with you lately. I’d like to apologize and explain…” Remember to discuss problems calmly and with sensitivity. If you’ve had an argument, try to resolve the issue quickly before it has a chance to fester and grow into a more serious rift.

Be quick to forgive.

When Mom seems to always be criticizing your lifestyle, your choices, or even your taste in clothing, keep in mind she’s doing it with your best interests at heart. A mother cares so deeply for her child that she will go to any lengths to give her the best of everything – even when what she thinks is best for you is eons away from what you actually choose as best for yourself!

Be a good listener.

As Mom ages, it can be difficult for her to come to terms with new limitations or dependencies. She may feel that you’re too busy for her, or that you’re moving on without her. She may be fearful of the future, sad over the past, or depressed that she can no longer care for herself.

Be sensitive to her feelings, and devote time to listening and validating her place in your life.

The only behavior you can change is your own.

As in every relationship, you can’t control what Mom says or doesn’t say to you – you can only control what your own reaction will be. When Mom makes an angry or insensitive comment, you can choose to reciprocate with hurtful words of your own, or you can make the decision to react with compassion and empathy.

Remember that it’s not easy to be a care recipient. Whether you are the direct caregiver or your mom is at a nursing home, she feels vulnerable and maybe even humiliated. This can cause her to react more strongly than she means to, and the ball is in your court to prevent it from escalating.

Balance individuality and closeness.

The basis of every rewarding relationship is healthy boundaries. Don’t be afraid of pulling back a bit if you feel Mom has overstepped hers – and at the same time, remind her that you will always remain her loving and devoted daughter.

How to Set an Effective New Years Resolution

As the holiday season draws to a close, and the last of the trimmings have been stored away, most people turn toward the coming year with a resolve to change something for the better. Whatever your age or stage in life, setting goals for self-improvement is a great way to refocus and get a fresh perspective for the new year.

Why is it, then, that so many people—as much as 92 percent of Americans—have all but forgotten their goals come February? Experts say that there is actually a method to finding a New Year’s resolution you can stick to.

Make it positive and enjoyable.

If you’re already dreading it before you start, you’re going to drop that resolution fast. Find something you will look forward to, or at least plan it in an enjoyable way. If you’ve resolved to be more physically active, choose an enjoyable exercise routine or do it with a friend. If you plan to organize your old papers and documents, plan a time of day to work on it, and reward yourself afterward.

Write it down.

Writing down your resolution will help you think it through clearly and plan for strategies for when the going gets tough. While you’ll probably be feeling eager to consume only carrot sticks and green beans for the first week of January, what will happen when that craving for sweets hits?

Get support.

There’s nothing like company when it comes to the journey to reach your goals. Get a friend or family member on board to help you stay focused and motivated.

Pick something small, concrete and doable.

This is probably the biggest factor in the goals that are achieved and the ones that are left to gather dust with the New Year’s party blowers. Don’t paint your resolution in broad terms; break it down into concrete, bite-sized chunks. Want to start eating more healthfully? Plan two ways that you’ll incorporate additional healthy foods into your diet. Dreaming of decluttering your home? Choose one room—or even part of a room!—and designate a specific time for it.

That said, here are six realistic goals that can be your springboard toward an accomplishing 2019:

  • Update legal documents. You never know when you’ll need them, and when you do, it’s usually too late. Draw up your will if you haven’t done so yet, and make sure your living will and power of attorney documents are in order.
  • Choose one area to improve in health. This is a biggie. Good nutrition, healthy sleeping habits, and regular exercise are vital in keeping your body fit for many more years to come. Don’t aim to work on all at once—pick one doable improvement, such as resolving to eat more veggies, and stick to it.
  • Learn something new about technology. One of the best ways to stay young is to keep up with the world around you. What better way than by learning about a useful technology? Skype and social media are great ways to keep in touch with friends and family, and learning new things has been proven to improve cognitive health.
  • Go for a physical. Checkups are ever more important as the body ages. Your doctor will be able to detect small problems before they develop into full-blown crises, and can also assist you in helping to maintain your good health.
  • Have that tough conversation you’ve been pushing off. There’s no time like the present! The start of the new year is the perfect time for a discussion about the future. Talk to your family members about plans for your future needs and care.

Malnutrition in Seniors—Know the Signs

A growing concern in the senior population is the problem of malnutrition. Malnutrition occurs when an individual’s diet fails to provide proper nutrition for the human body to maintain good health. This doesn’t always mean that there is a lack of food; many times malnutrition can result from consistently poor food choices.

Signs and Dangers of Malnutrition

Malnutrition in seniors can result in many health problems. Take notice this holiday season and look out for these common symptoms and results of malnutrition:

  • Weight loss
  • Unusual bruising or injuries that don’t seem to heal on their own
  • Muscle weakness, making the senior more susceptible to dangerous falls
  • Memory loss or cognitive decline
  • A weakened immune system, which can lead to getting sick more often, and cause minor illnesses to develop into more serious problems.

Malnutrition in seniors can stem from a number of causes. These include:

  • Oral, digestive, or general health problems. Many seniors may suffer from health issues that require restricted diets, and the foods they are allowed may be unappetizing or bland. They may have oral or dental problems that make chewing and swallowing difficult.
  • Decreased mobility. A senior with decreased mobility or declining fine motor skills may find it difficult to navigate the kitchen to prepare meals, and may resort to low-nutrition packaged snacks. Additionally, an individual suffering from dementia may forget to prepare meals, or may even lack the ability to venture out to a grocery to buy healthful foods.
  • Loss of appetite due to social isolation, depression, or medication. If an individual fails to take an interest in food, he or she will tend to choose easily accessible foods that don’t need to be prepared, which are often over-processed and lacking in proper nutrition. For example, he or she may choose to eat cookies or packaged snacks rather than taking the time to cook a proper chicken dinner, because it requires less effort. A senior living on his own may feel that preparing meals to eat alone requires too much effort. Additionally, some medications can lead to decreased appetite.
  • Financial constraints. Many seniors who are no longer working may no longer have the funds to purchase healthy foods, and may opt instead for cheaper, less nutritious choices.

How to Prevent Malnutrition

Help combat malnutrition in your senior by taking these steps:

  • Make mealtimes an enjoyable time. For a senior who has lost interest in preparing meals due to social isolation, try to arrange for friends or relatives to visit at mealtimes, or to have their meals at senior centers. If your loved one is restricted to unappealing foods, experiment with new spices, colors, and variety, and choose snacks that are nutrient-rich, such as nuts and cheeses.
  • Exercise and the outdoors can help increase appetite. Encourage your senior to engage in light activities such as walking. This can help with feelings of social isolation as well.
  • Ask your loved one about his/her eating habits, and try to ensure that there are always nutritious options at hand.
  • Always discuss medications with a doctor or pharmacist, and be aware if they may lead to loss of appetite or digestive problems.
  • Many communities have resources and programs for seniors, such as Meals on Wheels, which can help your senior with providing proper meals.

If you think you see symptoms of malnutrition in your loved one, always discuss your concerns with a healthcare provider.  Malnutrition can be difficult to detect, but can lead to a myriad of health problems over time. A doctor can identify underlying causes and can provide you with individual guidance and strategies to care for your loved one in the best way possible.

The Best Diet in the World

Mediterranean diet: olive oil, cherry tomatoes, and a leafy green herbAs November draws to a close, I wanted to talk about a way of eating that has been touted as the healthiest diet in the world.

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and we’ve been covering the topic extensively on our corporate blog.

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive mental deterioration that ends in complete infirmity and eventual death. Much is still unknown about the disease, but one thing is clear:

Following the Mediterranean Diet can reduce your chances of the disease. Fringe benefits include improving your heart health, brain health, energy levels, and overall physical well being.

These are ambitious claims for a diet to make, but eating in the Mediterranean way has proven health benefits. Let’s explore the diet and see how you can incorporate it into your own life.

The Mediterranean Diet: The Healthiest Diet on Earth

About 50 years ago, researchers discovered that Italians were living longer and healthier than Americans. In fact, all the countries along the Mediterranean Sea had lower incidences of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other age-related diseases.

Today, study after study has shown that the traditional cooking in those cultures is the source of their health and longevity. Here are just some of the scientifically proven benefits of the Mediterranean Diet:

In fact, if you go back to every article we’ve written on various age-related conditions and diseases, you would probably find recommendations in sync with the Mediterranean Diet. Following this lifestyle is the single-most effective steps you can take to maintain your health long-term.

So what does the diet include?

Here are the key components of the heart-healthy eating plan:

  • Eating mostly plant-based foods. These include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Leafy greens are especially beneficial.
  • Substituting healthy fats, such as olive oil and canola oil, in place of butter.
  • Limiting salt, and using a rich variety of spices and herbs to flavor your food instead.
  • Eating red meat no more than once a week.
  • Eating lean meats, such as poultry, and fish around twice a week.
  • Avoiding processed foods, especially those with a lot of sugar, trans fats, and fake flavorings.
  • Exercising regularly and responsibly.

Following the Mediterranean lifestyle isn’t easy, but after a few weeks of eating real food and exercising, you’ll begin to feel much more energized. Your cholesterol levels will improve, you might lose that excess weight, and your heart will do better.

Even if you can’t give up all aspects of the standard (and unhealthy) American diet, even making some smaller changes can provide huge health benefits.

Here are some to get you started:

  • Drink flavored seltzer or water instead of cola.
  • Snack on roasted, unsalted nuts instead of potato chips.
  • Make one day a week your “vegetarian day,” and eat only fresh, plant-based foods that day.
  • Start taking a brisk, 20-minute walk every day.
  • Use canola cooking spray, instead of butter, to fry your morning omelet.
  • Visit your local farmers market and stock up on fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables. Then grab one anytime you feel the munchies.

I hope these ideas can help jump start your journey to a healthier you. Let us know in the comments what aspect of the Mediterranean diet you’re going to incorporate into your current lifestyle!

Happy Thanksgiving—And National Family History Day!

photo of fall bounty, including pumpkin, squash, mushroomsToday, November 22, 2018, is Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving has its roots deep in American history, when the pilgrims held a festival to thank God and their generous native neighbors who helped them survive the first year in their new colony.

We celebrate Thanksgiving with families and friends gathering to share a bountiful meal and spending time together. What do families talk about when they get together for their Thanksgiving dinner?

Forget about politics, sports, or gossip. Thanksgiving dinner is the perfect time to talk about family history—family medical history, that is.

With all the advancements of modern medicine, knowing your family health history remains one of the most important tools in detecting and fighting hereditary diseases. It’s so essential, the U.S. Surgeon General declared Thanksgiving as National Family History Day.

This Thanksgiving, take some time to learn and document your family health history. It’s the best holiday gift you can give your family to ensure a longer and healthier future.

How Family History Affects Your Health

You already know that certain hair colors, temperaments, and talents run in your family. Along with blue eyes and a short temper, your parents may have passed down certain genes that make some medical conditions more likely.

Some common hereditary medical conditions are:

  • Arthritis
  • Certain cancers
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke

When you know the health conditions your parents and grandparents had, you can start learning about them, take steps to prevent it, and find out if regular screening would be appropriate.

Tracing your family’s health history can also tell you how high your risk is. For example, if more than one close relative has a specific disease, your personal risk is usually higher than someone with just one relative with that condition.

How to Collect Family Health History

Tell your family members what you’re doing and why. Ask them to help you compile the information. You want to catalog data about your relatives related to you by blood, those are your parents, grandparents, children, siblings, and your parents’ siblings.

Here’s what you should look for:

  • Birth defects
  • Childhood health problems
  • Age of death
  • Cause of death
  • Common adult diseases

There are two powerful online tools you can use to document your family’s medical history, share it with your family members, and show it to your doctors when necessary.

  1. My Family Health Portrait from the Centers for Disease Control
  2. Family Health History Book from Genetic Alliance

Don’t push it off for another year. This Thanksgiving, start documenting your family’s health history.

Your loved ones will thank you.

National Family Caregivers Month

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and today we’d like to raise awareness about family caregiving.

Check out these astounding family caregiving statistics from caregiver.org:

  • About 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months.
  • The majority of caregivers (82%) care for one other adult, while 15% care for 2 adults, and 3% for 3 or more adults.
  • About 15.7 million adult family caregivers care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
  • The value of services provided by informal caregivers has steadily increased over the last decade, with an estimated economic value of $470 billion in 2013, up from $450 billion in 2009 and $375 billion in 2007.
  • The economic value of the care provided by unpaid caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias was $217.7 billion in 2014.
  • 65% of care recipients are female, with an average age of 69.4.
  • Upwards of 75% of all caregivers are female, and may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than males.

Here at Regency Nursing, we are so proud of our incredible family members who make sure to stay involved in their loved one’s care. While they’ve entrusted their loved one to our care, they stay hands on and involved every day.

We’ve written about caregivers in the past, and we invite you to take a look at our archives for tips and advice for the unpaid family caregiver.

Here are some articles to get you started:

Male Caregivers: An Overlooked Population

Why You Should Join a Caregiver Support Group

Prevent Caregiver Burnout

Who Will Care For The Caregiver?

What is Respite Care?

Take a Break From Stress

Let us know in the comments what else you want to see on our blog for and about caregivers.

Have a wonderful weekend!

All About Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system. The disease impacts people in different ways, but it all centers on affecting movement. In this article, we’ll talk about the signs and symptoms, possible interventions, and risk factors.

Parkinson’s Symptoms

The symptoms are different for everyone, and the early signs can be so slight you don’t even notice them. In most cases, one side of the body will be affected first, and remain worse even after the other side shows symptoms as well.

Here are some of the early symptoms of the disease:

  • Tremor, or shaking, often beginning in the hand or fingers
  • Slowed movement, shorter steps, difficulty rising
  • Muscle stiffness and pain
  • Stooped posture
  • Impaired balance
  • Loss of unconscious movements, such as smiling, blinking, or swinging your arms when you walk
  • Slurred, soft, or hesitant speech
  • Changes to writing and other fine motor skills

Parkinson’s typically has five stages. It ranges from mild symptoms that don’t interfere much with day-to-day activities, to extremely debilitated

In the first two or three stages, the patient can more or less live independently, but their daily activities will become more and more taxing. By Stage Four, symptoms are much more severe, and walking becomes very difficult. In Stage Five, the the patient is usually bed-ridden and in need of care around the clock.

Parkinson’s also comes with many complications, most of which are treatable. These include:

  • Cognitive problems and thinking difficulties
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
  • Sleep disorders
  • Incontinence or difficulty urinating
  • Constipation

Parkinson’s Risk Factors

The disease is caused by a breakdown or death of certain nerve cells in the brain. The exact reason for the damage to these neurons is unknown, but the older you are, the more likely it is to happen.

That’s why age is the main risk factor for Parkinson’s. It usually develops in middle to late life, with most cases occurring at age 60 or older.

Other risk factors are having a close family member with Parkinson’s, although the chance of developing it is still small unless many family members have the disease. Men are also more likely to develop the disease.

Some evidence exists that ongoing exposure to herbicides and pesticides may slightly increase the risk of Parkinson’s. If you’ve been a gardener for many years, you may want to talk to your doctor about any possible increased risk.

Parkinson’s Treatment

There are no specific diagnostic tests to diagnose the disease. When you come to your doctor with your symptoms, he will review your medical history, new symptoms, and do a neurological and physical exam.

He may conduct lab and imaging tests to rule out other conditions, a process that can a long time.

While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, there are medications to control symptoms, often with great effect. Some lifestyle changes, such as incorporating aerobic exercises into your daily routine. Physical therapy can also help.

When Was Your Last Mammogram?

Breast cancer is an ongoing health concern for American women. About 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and it kills women at a higher rate than any other cancer besides lung cancer.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

One of the main risk factors for breast cancer is age, so we at Regency Nursing are committed to raising awareness of breast cancer among our residents and families.

The current screening recommendation for women with no history of cancer is to receive a mammogram every 1–2 years from the age of 40 or 50 until around 75.

A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast, used to detect early signs of breast cancer. Having an annual mammogram is one of the best ways to find breast cancer early, before it spreads to other areas of the body.

Most private insurances cover annual mammogram screenings, and Medicare offers an annual mammogram at no cost from age 40 and up.

The exact screening recommendations are contested, though. About 10 years ago, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated their recommendation. They now say women don’t need to start receiving mammograms until age 50, and even then they only need one every other year. The American Cancer Society and other advocacy groups disagree, however, and maintain that most women should start at age 40 and undergo the screening annually.

After age 75, the picture is much more fuzzy. That’s because hardly any credible research has been done on breast cancer survival rates on women over that age. USPSTF says the risks of mammogram outweigh the benefits once you reach advanced old age, and they recommend stopping the routine screening after age 75.

However, a 2014 study of elderly women found that mammography resulted in longer life-expectancy and better outcomes for that age group.

So should you get a mammogram this year?

The answer depends on many factors: your age, your general health, whether you have a previous history of breast or other cancers, whether you have a family history of female cancers, and whether you had a mammogram last year.

Ask your doctor to share the most recent breast cancer research with you, and discuss whether annual mammograms are right for you.


10 Warning Signs of Dementia

The risk of developing dementia goes up for every year we live. Humans are living longer than ever before, which naturally means more and more people develop dementia every year.

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific subset of dementia, but there are many different variations of this umbrella disease characterized by progressive memory disorder, personality change, and impaired reason.

But how do you differentiate between normal aging and dementia? Is Mom’s forgetting to turn off the stove a memory lapse or a sign of something more serious? If I forgot to pay a bill on time, should I be worried?

There is no straightforward way to tell the difference between dementia and normal aging. The best way is to monitor your behavior or that of a loved one. Everyone has off-days. But if a behavior has become a disturbing trend, it’s time to visit a neurologist.

Here are 10 warning signs to look out for:

  1. Memory Loss: by far the most common and well-known symptom. Forgetting names, dates, appointments, and other items is a frightening and disorienting experience. If it happens every now and then, you probably just need more sleep. But if happens all the time—or you’re forgetting significant details like your spouse’s first name—it’s probably more serious.
  2. Difficulty with familiar tasks: when cooking, doing laundry, or using the telephone becomes difficult and hard to follow.
  3. Communication difficulties: your loved one forgets everyday words and phrases, and his or her writing is much harder to decipher.
  4. Confusion: this is especially so for time and place. When a senior gets lost on their own street, or forget where they are, it’s a serious sign of dementia.
  5. Poor judgement: dressing inappropriately for the weather, buying things they don’t need, or doing unsafe things like putting foil in the microwave can all mean dementia has taken hold of their judgement.
  6. Difficulty with abstract thinking: finding math problems harder than before can be a sign of dementia.
  7. Difficulty with spatial relationships: difficulty reading, judging distance, and determining color can all mean Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
  8. Misplacing things: inability to retrace steps. When you lose something, you’re usually able to retrace your steps and find it. When you notice you can’t do that anymore, or you’re putting things in weird places, it may be a sign of dementia.
  9. Mood changes: mood swings, increased anger, and unprovoked aggression are all common dementia symptoms.
  10. Withdrawal: skipping events, sleeping more, or neglecting oneself can all be signs of dementia. When someone is going through early dementia, they may feel frightened and unsure of themselves, so they’ll withdraw from the world.

If you notice your loved one has stopped participating in his or her own life, find out why. Dementia may be the reason.

Dry Mouth: A Minor Aging Problem That’s Not So Minor

close up of senior woman's white teethAround 20 percent of seniors experience dry mouth—a lack of saliva in the mouth. While this may sound like a minor annoyance that can be solved by drinking more, it’s not quite so simple.

Dry mouth, most often a side effect of medications, can affect not only your oral health but also the overall health of your body. Furthermore, it can seriously hit your quality of life and self-image.

In this article, we’ll discuss what causes dry mouth, how it affects your overall health, and how you can treat it.

What is Dry Mouth?

Also called xerostomia, dry mouth is most common in seniors. Saliva production drops by around 30 percent as we age, leaving a dryer environment in the mouth.

Further compounding this are the 400+ medications that can worsen a dry mouth. Saliva reduction is a side effect in drugs used for many common conditions, such as high blood pressure, incontinence, depression, etc.

Less saliva creates an acidic environment in the mouth, which is the main contributor to tooth and gum problems. That’s because plaque—a corrosive mix of bacteria and food particles—is much more likely to form in the dryer, more acidic mouth. Plaque build-up leads, in turn, to gum inflammation. This is especially true with seniors, whose gums naturally recede with age.

Gum inflammation is linked to health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. In addition, gum inflammation and disease will lead to losing teeth—which will always shorten lifespan.

Symptoms of Dry Mouth

If you are a relative to an elderly person, remember that they probably won’t be forthcoming with details about their dry mouth.

When checking on your loved one who lives alone, you need to be observant and notice all changes or symptoms. This is especially so for dry mouth, when many of the symptoms are easily noticeable.

Here are the general symptoms of an excessively dry mouth:

  • bad breath
  • splitting or cracking of the lips
  • split or sore skin at the corners of the mouth
  • dryness in the mouth
  • taste disorders
  • refusing to eat favorite foods
  • fungal infections in the mouth
  • increased need to drink water, especially at night
  • inflammation of the tongue
  • tongue ulcers
  • painful tongue
  • lipstick sticking to teeth
  • more tooth decay and plaque
  • trouble speaking
  • problems swallowing and chewing—especially dry and crumbly foods, such as crackers or cereals
  • problems with dentures
  • denture sores
  • tongue sticking to the palate
  • sticky or stringy saliva

If you notice your loved one seems to be having some of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with the dentist as soon as possible. You may want to consider using a geriatric dentist, since they will be most knowledgeable about oral health problems plaguing seniors.

How to Treat Dry Mouth

Even before you get to the dentist, there are many things you can do to reduce the dryness in your mouth.

Some easy ways to keep the mouth lubricated are:

  • Chew sugar-free gum or sucking hard sugarless candies. These can stimulate saliva production and alleviate many of the symptoms.
  • Sip water throughout the day.
  • Rinse with water several times a day.
  • Use antibacterial mouthwash at least once a day, but avoid mouthwashes that contain alcohol.
  • Don’t sleep with your dentures.
  • Crunch on hard vegetables such as carrots and celery.

People with dry mouth should avoid smoking, sugary or acidic foods and drinks, dry foods, spicy foods, or extremely hot or cold drinks.

If your doctor discovers which of your medications is causing your dry mouth, he may be able to alter your dosage or prescribe an alternative that doesn’t cause these symptoms. If the underlying cause either can’t be found or can’t be changed, your doctor may prescribe a medication that stimulates saliva production.

You should also pay special attention to your dental hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends older adults should see their dentist twice a year, and adults over age 75 should go three times a year.

Dry mouth is unpleasant and unhealthy, but it is not an inevitable part of aging. If you or your loved one is suffering from dry mouth, see your dentist to treat it as soon as possible.