Bad Breath = Bad News!

 

Embarrassing and unsociable, bad breath is a common condition that many people suffer from needlessly.

 

Bad breath, or halitosis as it’s professionally known, can be caused by a number of everyday causes.

 

What you eat – or don’t eat.
Once garlic, onions and certain spices are absorbed into your bloodstream, their odors are transferred to the lungs, where they are expelled through your breath. You can mask the odors by brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash, but until the food has been eliminated from your body, you won’t fully get rid of the smell.

 

Bad breath can also be a nasty side effect of today’s popular low carbohydrate diets. The reason for this is that low-carb diets force the body to burn stored fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. As the excess fat gets burned away, the body releases ill-smelling chemicals called ketones through the breath and urine. In addition, the high-protein component of low-carb diets can also contribute to halitosis since many cases of bad breath result from the breakdown of food particles that produce sulfur compounds, and high-protein foods are known producers of these compounds.

 

Your brushing and flossing habits.
It’s essential that you brush and floss your teeth daily in order to get rid of the food that can collect between your teeth, on your tongue and around your gums. If food particles are not removed, they can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor in your mouth.

 

Gum disease.
Persistent bad breath can be a sign of gum disease. If you notice that you have red, swollen or tender gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, or gaps in-between your gums and your teeth, you may be experiencing the first signs of gum disease. Talk to us about steps you can take to halt or even reverse the indications of this preventable disease.

 

Dry mouth.
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. Dieting, fasting and the use of diet pills and other medications can slow down the production of saliva, which is known as “nature’s mouthwash” due to its function in washing away bacteria and sulfur compounds in the mouth that cause halitosis. Dry mouth can also be caused by salivary gland problems or from continuously breathing through the mouth. In addition to bad breath, dry mouth can also put patients at risk for cavities and gum disease. When saliva is not present in the mouth to continuously flush foods away, food particles may adhere to teeth and begin the decay process.

 

Tobacco.
Tobacco use leads to bad breath, amongst other medical problems. Talk to your dentist and doctor about tips to help you cut down or eliminate your tobacco habit.

 

Medical disorders.
An infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailments are some possible medical sources of bad breath. If we determine that your mouth is healthy and that your oral hygiene is on track, we may suggest a visit to your family doctor to determine alternate causes of bad breath.

 

If you have any concerns at all about your breath, please ask us us to help diagnose the cause of your bad breath! We’d love to help you! 734.485.2200

 

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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

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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.

Why the heck do you need to know that?

When you come in for your dental visit, you may notice that we do a lot more than examine your teeth and gums.

One of the most important parts of your visit is when we ask you questions about your general health. But many people have said to us:

“What does that have to do with my dental check up?”

The answer…a lot!

More and more research is being published linking dental health to overall health, and at Dr David Schmidt’s Family Dental Practice we are concerned about both!

Did you know that diabetes, especially when it is undiagnosed, can be a huge factor in gum disease and eventually cause tooth loss?

A recent study by Columbia University concluded:

“Gum disease is an early complication of diabetes.” It continues:

“Since 70% of adults se a dentist at least once per year this is a perfect opportunity to screen for diabetes and other diseases.

According to a recent article in The British Dental Journal, it works the other way around too, as gum disease can be a contributing factor in heart disease, oral cancer and other illnesses.

Are you taking any medications, either prescription or over the counter? Many of these can lead to dry mouth, gum inflammation and other dental problems.

And it’s even more complicated for women, as hormonal changes, pregnancy and oral contraceptives can cause many changes in dental health. (Isn’t everything more complicated for women?)

So the good news is, unlike a visit to your physician- you get to keep your clothes on and you won’t be poked and prodded anywhere other than your mouth! But as you can see, it is extremely important that we know about your total physical health and any medications you are taking. Not only can we save your teeth – we may actually save your life!

If you want to know more about your dental health and how it relates to your overall health, please let us know. If you have any questions or want to schedule your next appointment, just give us a call at (734) 485.2200. We are here for you!