February 28th 2014
For some patients, bad breath is something that only happens occasionally, after a meal heavy on garlic, for instance. For others, though, it’s a daily struggle caused by the accumulation and breakdown of bacteria in the mouth. That’s why frequent bad breath–also known as halitosis–is also a sign of early-stage gum disease.
The good news for patients who struggle daily with bad breath is that managing the condition is possible. By following these five helpful steps, patients with halitosis can experience relief and live more confidently.
Brush and floss regularly
Brushing and flossing are the first steps for anyone struggling with bad breath. These simple actions will help you control the amount of bacteria in your mouth by clearing away leftover food particles that contribute to the production and buildup of bacteria. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing at least once.
Rinse with a mouthwash
Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash is the second step for patients who struggle with bad breath. Antibacterial mouthwashes kill bacteria before they have a chance to accumulate and they simultaneously freshen breath.
Scrape or brush your tongue
In addition to accumulating around the gum line, bacteria can also hide on tongue. Using a tongue scraper–or even your toothbrush–to clean your tongue will do a lot to hold bad breath at bay.
Change your toothbrush
Your toothbrush is another place bacteria can hide. That’s why we recommend switching to a new one about every three months. With a new toothbrush, you can be sure that you’re cleaning your teeth with a bacteria-free brush.
What you drink can have a big impact on your oral health. Sugary or acidic drinks can be damaging, while drinking water throughout the day will help you control the buildup of bacteria and wash food particles away.
Do you have questions about what causes bad breath and how it can be treated? Call your local dental office with your questions or to schedule an appointment.
February 14th 2014
Did you know that chocolate is good for your teeth?
Recent studies by Tulane University have shown that antioxidants, which occur naturally in dark chocolate, promote dental health by fighting cavities in addition to combating plaque. This means that your “guilty pleasure” sweet is actually actively fighting gum disease while you snack. Dark chocolate substances work to harden the enamel of your teeth. It’s even more effective than fluoride! You can strengthen your teeth and oral health as you eat.
And that’s not all!
Whether you’re enjoying a sweet Valentine’s Day treat or indulging in your favorite candy, you’re even fighting heart disease. Because gum disease has been linked to the development of cardiovascular problems, consuming your daily allowance of chocolate can even protect your heart! Keep in mind that the recommended amount of dark chocolate averages one ounce a day, because everything is better in moderation.
Some experts recommend the raw form of dark chocolate for the most health benefits. This type is less processed, and therefore contains more of the beneficial antioxidants! As always, remember to brush and floss properly after you eat. That way, your smile can shine brightly.
January 31st 2014
When most people consider the topic of good oral hygiene, the first thing they think about is teeth. You brush and floss your teeth to keep them white and cavity-free, but how much do you think about your gums? Often overlooked, the importance of healthy gums goes beyond the matter of a pretty smile. In fact, gums that are allowed to become infected can actually make you seriously ill.
While the initial effects of gingivitis and periodontitis are severe enough on their own – bleeding gums, inflammation, redness and eventual tooth loss, to name a few – the complications of untreated gum disease can be far more serious. When the bacteria from infected gums is inhaled or released into the bloodstream, it can travel throughout the body, wreaking havoc on other organs and tissues.
The most common systemic complications associated with periodontal disease are coronary artery disease, respiratory issues, diabetes and arthritis. In addition to addressing the gum disease itself, patients must take special care to treat any other conditions that arise because of it.
Some problems associated with chronic periodontal disease affect not only the individual patient, but others as well. Pregnant women with gum disease, for example, are significantly more likely to give birth to underweight babies. Infants who begin life at a low birth weight can suffer from a number of potentially serious complications, including respiratory distress shortly after birth. This is why proper oral health care is so crucial for women, especially when they are pregnant.
If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or show any signs of redness and swelling, it’s time to see your dentist for periodontal treatment. In most cases, the damage caused by plaque and tartar buildup can be reversed with consistent professional care. Talk to your oral care professional to find out how you can protect yourself and lower your risk of serious infection and illness associated with gum disease.
December 10th 2013
For most of us, gift-giving is just a holiday thing. Every year, we spend the time between Thanksgiving and December 25 looking for the perfect gift for those who are most special to us. But did you know there’s a very simple gift you can give your loved ones, and even strangers, any time you want? It’s your smile!
Believe it or not, smiling can have a remarkable impact on you and those around you. According to scientific studies, it can improve one’s mood and even relieve stress.
Here’s how it works. When you smile, particular muscles in your face are stimulated. These muscles will, in turn, stimulate the part of the brain responsible for creating warm and pleasant feelings. Meanwhile, for those around you, a smile is simply hard to resist. Smiling at someone who’s having a hard day may inspire them to smile back, triggering those same pleasant feelings in them. That’s how smiling can easily become a gift you give someone else.
So, is the busy holiday season starting to wear you down? Practice your smiling. You may find that you start feeling better in no time. And why not make a New Year’s resolution to smile more throughout 2014. Just like regular brushing and flossing and twice-yearly checkups, committing to smiling throughout the year will help you enjoy better overall wellbeing and confidence.
November 15th 2013
For those trying to stay healthy around the holidays, you may have already sworn off second or even first helpings from the dessert table. However, there are still plenty of dishes that can cause damage to your waistline and your smile. Many main-course Thanksgiving foods contain high levels of sugar and fat. However, there is some confusion about one in particular.
The Cranberry Sauce Debacle
Research from Rutgers University has shown that cranberries are extremely beneficial in fighting plaque thanks to proanthocyanidine, a natural chemical compound found in the fruit. You may know that a buildup of plaque can lead to cavities and gum disease, an incurable condition which affects the entire mouth, but you may not know that standard cranberry-based holiday fare probably won’t help your smile.
Cranberry sauce, a popular holiday dish, usually contains large amounts of sugar to balance the tartness of the cranberries. Most of the many benefits of cranberries can only be reaped in the natural state, without additives. Sugar plays an active role in deteriorating enamel and increases the production of plaque. In fact, a single serving of cranberry sauce can easily contain over 20 grams of sugar, which is comparable to a bar of milk chocolate!
Are you responsible for making the cranberry sauce? Try tinkering with the recipe to reduce or substitute the sugar to reduce the overall content. If you truly enjoy this condiment in its traditional state, immediately brush and floss after your dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!