Ways to Beat Bad Breath

Having bad breath can be a major cause of embarrassment and social isolation. It may just be the result of eating something strong (such as onions or garlic), or it could be a symptom of an underlying health problem. Regardless of the reason, there are steps you can take to make your breath pleasant once again.

Brush and Floss

Poor dental hygiene is one of the most common reasons why people develop bad breath. Food gets caught between teeth and bacteria build up, leading to halitosis—the dental term for “bad breath”. You should brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and also brush your tongue to help remove bacteria in that area.

Stay Hydrated

Bad breath can also be the result of dry mouth. When your mouth is not producing sufficient saliva, you should drink water or chew sugarless gum in order to stimulate production. If your saliva is low because of medications or a medical condition, talk to your dentist about it because there may be ways they can help.

See Your Dentist

You should be seeing your dentist at least twice a year. Everything may feel fine, but it never hurts to get a professional cleaning. This is especially important if you wear braces or dentures. If these devices are not cleaned properly, then your breath can begin can be impacted negatively. A dentist can show you how to properly clean teeth and remove plaque deposits that build up and can’t be removed with a toothbrush.

Quit Tobacco

A big cause for bad breath is frequent tobacco use. There is a huge list of reasons why you should quit tobacco, and this is yet another one you can add to the list.

Address a Medical Condition

Sometimes halitosis is a symptom of a much larger problem such as diabetes or a sinus infection. In these instances, you will need to address the underlying issue. Seek the necessary medical treatment from your dentist if needed for these conditions.

Taking some steps now to help improve your breath can ensure that you won’t have to stress about it right before that big meeting at work or that hot date. There are plenty of ways to make your breath smell minty fresh once more. 

Preventing Baby Tooth Decay

Tooth development begins long before teeth begin to emerge from the gums, and even after the first teeth erupt, babies do not have the ability to clean their own gums and teeth so it is important that parents take steps to help them avoid tooth decay. Unfortunately even in baby food and drinks there can be a lot of sugar so parents should make sure to clean a baby’s gums after every feeding. Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your baby’s gums and teeth healthy.

  • After breastfeeding or bottle feeding, clean off the baby’s gums with a moistened piece of gauze or a clean cloth. When babies sleep, their saliva production decreases, making it easier for bacteria to incubate and start the process of decay.
  • Once a baby’s teeth start to emerge, cleaning becomes even more important. Use a soft brush meant for babies with water to gently scrub their teeth after every feeding.
  • By the time a baby is able to drink out of a cup, they should be weaned away from the bottle and given a cup to drink from. It is important for the development of facial muscles for babies to perform the sucking motion natural for breastfeeding, but after a certain point it can be bad for their teeth.
  • When weaning babies off of formula, you can start with a mixture of formula diluted with water. Steadily increase the water-to-formula proportion until they are drinking just water. Water is the only safe liquid to give babies and not have to clean their teeth afterward.

Reasons to Keep Baby Teeth Clean

If bacteria are allowed to grow uninhibited in a baby’s mouth, they can experience painful cavities and other forms of tooth decay; baby teeth with significant problems may require extraction, which can lead to speech impediments and difficulty eating. Their permanent adult teeth may even grow in an irregular way that will necessitate more orthodontic interventions later. Remember that healthy baby teeth will lead to healthy adult teeth, so take care of your child’s dental health until the point when you can get them brushing every night on their own.

Summer Safety: Watch Your Mouth!

Summer Safety: Watch Your Mouth!

With school almost out and great weather ahead, summer is a time when most kids get out and play—whether it’s in the water, on a bicycle, or out on a sports field. Unfortunately with many summer activities, there is a higher risk of facial injury. Many dentists see an increase in facial trauma that leads to tooth loss or other damage, simply due to the increase in outdoor and sports activities.

Here are a few of the most common summer activities that could put your teeth at risk, and suggestions for ways you can prevent injury this season.

Playing Contact Sports

Whether you prefer to take the field for a game of soccer, hit the courts for a quick game of basketball, or play baseball, softball, or football this season, contact sports can be dangerous. This is especially true in sports like baseball, softball, and soccer, where mouth guards and facemasks are not mandatory, or in pick-up games that you’re just playing for fun with friends, since you often don’t wear the same protective gear as you would when you’re playing in an official game or league.

The Academy of General Dentistry estimates that about 1 in 3 facial injuries are sports-related, but mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 injuries every year, so they should be a critical part of your sports uniform, even for casual games. This is especially true if you have braces or other orthodontic work, which can cause mouth cuts, jaw injuries, and other damage to your teeth.

You can buy stock mouth guards “off the shelf” that are standard sizes, although they provide limited protection because they are not customized specifically for you. A better option is the mouth-formed guards that you boil and bite to fit to your mouth, or a custom mouth protector that you get from your dentist. The latter is the best option because it is made specifically for your mouth, but it is also the most expensive option. In some cases, a custom-fit mouth guard from your dentist may be covered by dental insurance, so check with your provider to find out.

Activities on Wheels

There are plenty of fun ways to get out on a set of wheels during the summer—including skateboards, roller skates, rollerblades, bicycles, motorcycle, dirt bikes, and more. Unfortunately these activities also pose a risk for injuries that range from head trauma to broken bones, cuts and scrapes, and facial trauma, including broken or damaged teeth, missing teeth, and mouth cuts, to name a few.

If you’re planning an activity on wheels, use caution to avoid crashing. Try to stay away from busy roads or highways, always wear a helmet and other protective gear (including mouth guards), and for particularly dangerous activities such as motorcycles, BMX/bike stunts, mountain biking on technical trails, or dirt bikes, consider a helmet that includes a face guard.

Summer is a great time to be outside, and if you take proper precautions to protect your face, jaw, mouth, and teeth, you can have a lot of fun without the pain and suffering from facial trauma. Talk to your dentist today to find out the best way to protect yourself during your favorite summer activities.

Wisdom Teeth 101

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, usually come in after adolescence, appearing between the ages of 17 and 21. The purpose of wisdom teeth is not known with certainty, though it is hypothesized that they may be vestiges of the jaw structure of prehistoric humans. Our ancestors would often experience tooth wear from regular use, sometimes losing molars, so a third set of molars that appear later than other permanent teeth could have helped replace the missing bite power.

Over time, our jaws have become smaller and our diets have softened, allowing our current molars to last longer. It is therefore theorized that we may have evolved to a point where wisdom teeth are now obsolete, and for many people they are more of a hindrance than a benefit. Not all dental professionals agree, but many dentists do recommend their patients get their wisdom teeth removed in their late teens to early 20’s, before they emerge from the gums.

Reasons for Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed

While not all people need to get their wisdom teeth removed, health problems associated with them are common. These include:

  • Pain and discomfort: Wisdom teeth are full-sized adult teeth, so the process of emerging from the gums can be painful, and they often rub against the rear molars, causing further pain
  • Risk of Infection: Not only do wisdom teeth create wounds coming in, but brushing them can be more difficult because of their far-back position in the jaw; using a thin, long brush with a small head can help in the cleaning of these hard-to-reach areas
  • Tooth Misalignment: Perhaps the most common reason wisdom teeth are removed is because they can push other teeth out of alignment; some dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth as soon as they show up on an x-ray, before they have the chance of doing this damage

Not everybody needs to get their wisdom teeth removed, and for some people they come in with no problems at all. When your wisdom teeth first show up in dental x-rays, consult your dentist about which choice will be best for you and your mouth.