The Basics of Bad Breath

Bad breath- the down low, the dirty and the details…

Image

On the DNL (Down Low)….

Have you noticed friends or co-workers stand further away than necessary to talk to you? Do you receive daily offers of gum and mints? Does your dog run away when you bend down and say hello? If the answer is yes to any of these questions … you probably have bad breath, also called halitosis.

How is it possible for you to have bad breath and not know it? Your body uses a process called acclimation to filter out its own scents so you can use your nose to detect outside smells. This means your nose is used to whatever odor is emitting from your mouth. Even if you cup your hand and breathe into it, you probably won’t detect foul aromas. So, how can you tell if you have halitosis?

The easiest test for determining if your breath is rank is to ask someone. Friends or family members will probably be more than happy to render an honest opinion. Another way to test for bad breath is to wipe your tongue with a cotton ball and give it a whiff. Or go to a mirror, stick out your tongue, and see if it looks whitish. Ew! That’s accumulated bacteria, which produces the sulfur compounds that create halitosis.

Why do I have bad breath? (The dirty!)

The most common reason people have bad breath is decaying food particles and bacterial growth in the mouth, especially on the tongue. If you have poor oral hygiene habits, the accumulation of food and bacteria will make your breath smell like you ate gym socks for lunch.

There are other reasons for bad breath. Gum disease and cavities can produce halitosis, and so can systemic illnesses such as diabetes, acid reflux (GERD), and sinus infections. In fact, if you have chronic bad breath that doesn’t respond to any of your freshening and cleansing attempts—you may have a larger health concern, and should make an appointment with your dentist.

How do I avoid bad breath? Details…!

Keeping a daily oral hygiene routine can go a long way to prevent halitosis. Brushing and rinsing in the mornings and evenings, and flossing at least once a day, can remove the food and bacteria that are the main causes for bad breath. And you can brush after meals, too, to ensure any strong-smelling foods you’ve eaten are eradicated from your teeth and gums. Other measures you can take to prevent halitosis are:

Drink plenty of water. Water loosens and rinses away food particles and also encourages saliva production.

Eat grains!  High Liquid diets, diets high in cheese, diets high in protein milk shakes- they all leave phlem on the back of your tongue- thus a great place for that nasty stinky bacteria to grow! Eat toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch or bread at dinner.  The very back of your tongue you can not get to with anything- but toast does a great job cleaning it off.

Chew gum that’s either sugar-free or sweetened with Xylitol.Chewing also encourages saliva production, and minty flavors help freshen breath.

Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. Your dentist may have suggestions for the best over-the-counter mouthwashes, and may also give you a prescription oral rinse. One of the VERY best mouthwashes for bad breath is Breath RX.  It has a special formula to target the VOC’s that cause that horrible stinky breath!  Rinse 2x/day and by all means- scrape your tongue- THEN rinse and gargle.

Use a tongue scraper. These devices are designed to remove the bacteria and food debris that cling to your tongue’s surface. They do exceptionally better than a toothbrush which pushes it around and leaves it on your tongue (blech!).

Invest in an electric toothbrush. Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque, and since most of them are designed to turn off after a specified time, people tend to brush for a longer period.

Go to your regular checkups. Attending your regular exams with both your dentist and your medical doctor ensures your health issues will be addressed at their earliest appearance.  There are medical issues that show themselves through bad breath- so after you do all that and you still have issues- don’t be shy! That’s what we’re here for! Let us help you feel great about yourself again!

Advertisements

When the economy’s down, keep your dental health up!

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: many households across America are suffering the effects of the current economic slowdown, and people are worried about their finances. When household budgets are tight, consumers start looking to cut down on what they consider to be unnecessary services, and in some cases that includes dental checkups. Before you cut us out of your schedule, please consider carefully the many repercussions of this decision, and how it could rebound to end up costing you more money in the long run.

It’s a proven fact that overall health is linked to oral health. In fact, the American Academy of Periodontology has evidence that infections in the mouth can lead to a host of other, seemingly unrelated, medical problems in some people. The rationale behind this is that periodontal disease, or gum disease, is a bacterial infection, and infections starting in the mouth could easily enter the blood stream and travel to major organs to begin new infections.

While more research continues to be conducted, findings to-date suggest a possible link between periodontal disease and a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, uncontrolled diabetes, preterm births and respiratory disease.

Even if your mouth and teeth feel fine to you, we, as dentists, cannot stress strongly enough the importance of regular dental checkups. Gum disease is something that is often hard to detect without a formal examination, which is why your dental visits should be a regular part of your health schedule.

We urge you to be diligent with your dental appointments especially if you already have heart or lung disease, diabetes or osteoporosis and low bone mass, if you are thinking of becoming pregnant, or if you have a family member with periodontal disease. Routine oral examinations can also uncover symptoms of oral cancer, eating disorders, substance abuse and HIV.

Thorough dental checkups, including X-rays when necessary, are an essential part of preventive health maintenance. Don’t wait until something hurts; if you haven’t already scheduled your next dental checkup, please call us today! 734.485.2200

Don’t Believe Everything You Hear!

Here’s an interesting quiz for you.

Who originally dispensed the famous recommendation to “see your dentist twice a year?”

We all know it’s true (or do we???) – so when and where do you think that bit of advice originated?

a)      The American Dental Association in 1933

b)     The world’s first dental college – The University of Maryland School of Dentistry in 1845

c)      An article in The Journal of Oral Surgery by Dr. Henry Horseacre in 1909 entitled “Proper Protocol for Dental Cleanings.”

d)     A radio ad for Pepsodent Toothpaste in 1929

Believe it or not, if you guessed “d” you are correct!

Most of us know the famous order to “see your dentist twice a year.” Some insurance companies even use that interval to define their standards for payment. But the fact is that phrase was developed with no scientific basis at all – and to sell toothpaste!

Another example of this logic was the ad campaign for Pear’s Soap in the late 1800s. The slogan “Have you used Pear’s soap today” ushered in the habit of daily bathing! And while that was certainly a good thing, the fact is that we are all different and to expect that everyone requires the same schedule for their health needs just does not make sense.

When you wash your hair, do you “rinse and repeat?” Do you associate diamonds with engagement rings? Are you convinced that Volvo builds the safest cars? If so, you have been influenced by advertising, not necessarily facts. Don’t worry – we are all guilty of it!

At our office, we don’t believe in a cookie cutter approach when your health is involved. In order to determine the correct dental treatment for you (including how often you should have your teeth cleaned) we perform a thorough examination, checking your teeth, gums, medical history, bite, jaw muscles and more. We even do an oral cancer screening at every check-up.

Everyone is different, so despite what the ad men from Pepsodent once said, let’s scientifically determine the correct schedule for your dental visits by looking at the facts, not an ad slogan. Then you can look forward to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums – and keep smiling forever!

If you have any questions or you would like to schedule a visit, please call 1-734-485-2200. We are here to help you!

Custom Sports Guards/ Mouth Guards

Mouth Guards and Sports Guards!

Dr David Schmidt recommends you use a mouthguard during any activity, sport, that could result in a blow to the face or mouth. A properly fitted mouthguard can help prevent broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. It will stay in place while you are wearing it, making it easy for you to talk and breath.

Ask your dentist about having a custom mouthguard made specifically for you. This will fit well and offer the best protection for your smile.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a mouth protector?

Anyone who participates in a sport that carries a significant risk of injury should wear a mouth protector. This includes a wide range of sports like football, hockey, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, and volleyball.

Mouth protectors, which typically cover the upper teeth, can cushion a blow to the face, minimizing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to the soft tissues of the mouth. If you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.

 

What are the advantages of using a mouth protector?

Accidents can happen during any physical activity. A mouth protector can help cushion a blow to the face that otherwise might result in an injury to the mouth. A misdirected elbow in a one-on-one basketball game or a spill off a bicycle can leave you with chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth or even tooth loss. A mouth protector can limit the risk of such injuries as well as protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.

A properly fitted mouth protector will stay in place while you are wearing it, making it easy for you to talk and breathe.

 

Are there different types of mouth protectors?

There are three types of mouth protectors:

  1. Stock
    Stock mouth protectors are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
  2. Boil and bite
    Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They should be softened in water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. If you don’t follow the directions carefully you can wind up with a poor-fitting mouth protector.
  3. Custom-fitted
    Custom-fitted mouth protectors are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized they can offer a better fit than anything you can buy off the shelf.

 

I wear braces. Can I use a mouth protector?

A properly fitted mouth protector may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouth protector also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, limiting the risk of soft tissue injuries.

Talk to your dentist or orthodontist about selecting a mouth protector that will provide the best protection. Although mouth protectors typically only cover the upper teeth, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest that you use a mouth protector on the lower teeth if you have braces on these teeth too.

If you have a retainer or other removable appliance, do not wear it during any contact sports.

Dr Schmidt offers custom mouth guards with custom colors as well! Call us if you or your child is in need of a custom made mouth guard!  734-485-2200

The Fighting Features of Fluoride

Dozens of studies by universities, government and public health organizations have concluded that the regular use of fluoride, whether ingested through local drinking water or fluoride supplements, or applied topically through toothpastes, gels or mouth rinses containing fluoride, reduces the likelihood that your child’s teeth will develop cavities.

Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in various foods and water supplies to help defend teeth against decay. It is added to the water supplies in many communities across North America as a cost efficient way to provide fluoride protection to large numbers of people. If your community does not include fluoride in its water supply you should ensure that you and your children brush twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride, and use a fluoride rinse at bedtime. For those at high risk of developing cavities we may also recommend additional fluoride supplements through our office.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening the outer layer – the enamel – on teeth against the harmful effects of the acids that are produced by the bacteria in the mouth. The fluoride then goes on to remineralize, or repair, any damage caused by the bacteria’s acid to the microscopic crystals that make up the structure of teeth.

While various studies have shown a marked decline in tooth decay rates due to fluoride use – up to 50 percent in children specifically – be aware that like anything else, you can have “too much of a good thing” with fluoride. Dental fluorosis is a non-health threatening condition that is a result of a child getting too much fluoride, and it shows up as white specks on a child’s teeth. The child may be getting too much fluoride because of the combination of fluoridated water plus fluoride toothpaste, rinses or supplements in the household. If you notice spots on your child’s teeth, please talk to us about possible causes for this condition in your child and the treatment available.

Talk to us about if you have well water, it may not contain the right amount of fluoride for your teeth, or if you and your family may require fluoride supplements.  734.485.2200  We’d love to hear from you with any questions you have!

Understanding Morning Breath

Image

Here’s a mystery – if we floss and brush before we go to bed and settle down to sleep with a fresh mouth every night, why is it that just mere hours later, we wake up with dreaded “morning breath”?

The simple answer is that during the day, saliva works as nature’s mouthwash by washing away bacteria and the volatile sulfur particles that cause bad breath. When we go to sleep, saliva production decreases and our mouth dries out, providing the perfect environment for odor-causing bacteria to thrive.

Bad breath (or “halitosis”, as it’s officially known) can come from a number of different sources such as a dry mouth, bacterial decomposition of food particles in and around your teeth, and foods (such as garlic and cabbage) that contain certain sulfur compounds. Halitosis may also reflect medical conditions, from chronic infections in the lungs to kidney and liver failure. Even dieting and fasting can slow down the stimulation of saliva flow and result in offensive breath, while talking for long periods of time will dry out your mouth with the same result. Most everyday bad breath, however, can be controlled by following these four simple steps:

  1. Floss between your teeth to remove any hidden food particles;
  2. Brush your teeth after every meal, and brush or better yet, scrape your tongue too.  Afterwards gargle with an antiseptic mouthwash that targets VOC’s like Listerine, Breath Rx or Crest Pro Health – up to 50% of the bacteria in your mouth can be found hiding on the surface of your tongue;
  3. Keep your mouth moist with frequent sips of water;
  4. Maintain regular dental checkups so that your dentist can check for periodontal disease – a treatable cause of bad breath – during your routine gum exam.
  5. Eat yogurt! Health bacteria actually helps to minimize the VOC’s that build up on your tongue and eating crunchy toast in the morning can help to clean off the back of your tongue as well to get the area clean that you can’t get to!

Talk to us if your concerns go beyond morning breath. We’d be happy to give you some “fresh” oral hygiene tips.

Brushing Up on a Healthy Smile!

Most of us don’t think too much about brushing – it’s just something that we do automatically. When it comes time to teach our kids how to brush though, it’s worth taking a refresher course by sitting in on his or her dental visit while we show them, step-by-step, what the proper procedure is.

The first thing to do is to ensure that your child has the proper toothbrush – one with soft, rounded bristles. Whether they prefer a manual toothbrush or electric toothbrush, the selection of toothbrushes these days can be overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to ask us for suggestions on the one that would be best for your child. In fact, the choice of a toothbrush, especially a toothbrush with a bright pattern or picture of a popular cartoon character, can encourage the child to brush just for the novelty of the toothbrush design.

When you’re comfortable with your child’s choice of toothbrush, you’ll want to review these simple brushing guidelines:

    1. Start cleaning teeth early: “Early” means cleaning the very first baby teeth with a clean, damp cloth every day. When more teeth come in, switch to a small, soft toothbrush; you won’t need toothpaste at first, especially if the child can’t yet spit it out.
    1. Don’t overdo the toothpaste: After about age 2, your child can start using a small amount of training fluoride free toothpaste. A pea-sized amount of toothpaste is sufficient. While fluoride in toothpaste is important for fighting cavities, too much exposure at too young an age can cause white spots in a child’s permanent teeth.  Once a child can spit out the toothpaste, then switch to a child’s toothpaste with fluoride in it.  Child toothpaste has a lower amount of fluoride, as children will still swallow a little of it and, as we said before, too much fluoride will cause white spots on the adult teeth.
  1. Supervise brushing. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day until your child can confidently and properly do it alone, generally children can properly brush all their teeth by 3rd grade.  Before 3rd grade- parents should do a final sweep 1 or 2x a day depending on the child.  It’s great to let the child take turns with you brushing.  They’ll enjoy their independence and take pride in doing a task themselves!  Sticker charts help them remember (and parents too!).

Regular, thorough brushing is a simple, yet effective way to remove the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease. Take care of your child’s teeth, and they’ll reward you with a lifetime of healthy smiles!