Archive for October, 2007

12 Ways to Fight Bad Breath

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Mary Rose Antonio writes about the basic solutions to bad breath and the many benefits of green tea. Two quick tips — use alcohol-free mouthwash and sugar-free gum. You’ll be well on your way to fresh breath.

Bad breath is truly embarrassing but you don’t have to live with it because there are ways to combat this problem. One great solution is to simply drink green tea everyday before, during, and after a meal. It inhibits the bacteria in your mouth and teeth and the health benefits of drinking green tea surpasses all kinds of mouthwash and breath mints.

Are you embarrassed of your bad breath? Is it annoying you and making you very self-conscious? I bet you can’t wait to get rid of it.

However, you are not alone when it comes to bad breath. 35 to 45 percent of the entire world’s population has chronic bad breath. So, what can you do to be rid of it? Here are 12 ways to fight bad breath:

1. More often than not, bad breath is a sign of gum disease. Get into the habit of practicing good dental hygiene. Brush your teeth well and don’t forget to floss. Also, visit your dentist to get rid of plaque buildup.

2. Don’t forget to clean your tongue as well. Get rid of that whitish coating. Pay more attention to the back of the tongue because that’s where the bacteria that cause bad breath usually reside. Some people have suggested using an inverted spoon to scrape the tongue. However, it is more effective to use a tongue scrapper.

3. Choose your breath mints or chewing gum wisely. Make sure they are sugar-free. Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause bad breath. So your breath may smell nice temporarily but the bad breath will return later and may smell even worse. Choose instead products that have xylitol. It’s a natural sweetener that helps to buffer acidity and reduce the build-up of plaque-causing bacteria. Therabreath gum is sugar-free and uses xylitol. This TheraBreath System includes 2 Bottles of Oral Rinse, 1 Tube of Toothpaste, The Bad Breath Bible, and 1 Tongue Cleaner

4. Prevent a dry mouth. Saliva is a great help in washing away food particles and bacteria. To keep your mouth moist, make sure you drink plenty of water. Minimize your intake of coffee, soft drinks and alcohol. Japanese scientists recommend green tea. They say it promotes healing of damaged gums as well as contains antioxidant polyphenols. Dry mouth is also a result of breathing through the mouth. This usually happens when you sleep.

5. Be careful of which mouthwash you use. Those with alcohol content will contribute to a dry mouth. Look instead for mouthwashes with chlorine dioxide. It will directly attack the volatile sulfur compounds responsible for bad breath. Use a mouthwash with green tea on it. Therabreath Oral Rinse is recommended; it does not contain alcohol.

6. It is no secret that garlic, onions and curry spices give you bad breath. However, the effect is only temporary, as eventually, your body will get rid of those foods. However, if you need a quick fix and brushing your teeth doesn’t get rid of the smell, you can try drinking lemonade or suck a lemon wedge sprinkled with salt.

7. Chlorophyll has been recognized as a powerful breath freshener. Get a healthy dose of chlorophyll by chewing on fresh parsley. You can also chew on spirulina tablets or drink chlorophyll rich drinks such as wheat-grass.

8. Herbal remedies include chewing on fennel or anise seeds. You can also make a tea from cloves and use it as a mouthwash. Cloves are said to have antiseptic properties.

9. Do you have milk intolerance? Eliminate dairy products from your diet and see if your bad breath goes away.

10. Restore and maintain your intestinal flora with probiotics. Also, improve the function of your large intestine by eating lots of fiber rich foods.

11. Check for an underlying medical condition such as tonsillitis, diabetes, intestinal disease, lung disease, liver disorder or chronic sinusitis.

12. Drink high quality green tea everyday. It has the ability to destroy and inhibit the growth of bacteria in your mouth and teeth.

(Edited by Abby Copuyoc)

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“Let the Truth Sting” – Bad breath and Grey’s Anatomy – What’s the connection?

Monday, October 15th, 2007

A character in Grey’s Anatomy in danger of losing her speech tells her friend that she has bad breath, among other things. Food for thought: What would you say to your friends and family if you knew you could probably never speak again? Would you talk of halitosis? Pop a breath mint before you do.

The following is an excerpt from Episode 4.3 (Let the Truth Sting) recap from

The Chief (James Pickens) has a patient named Connie who has come in to get a tumor removed from her tongue. Unfortunately, the cancer has spread to over 60 percent of her tongue, so Richard and McSteamy () are going to have to do something drastic. Her best bet is for McSteamy to do a micro-vascular free flap, but that would leave her without the ability to talk after the surgery. This is a problem because Connie is very chatty. She has two friends with her who are equally chatty. So, Richard thinks it might be better to do a nerve graft, connecting the nerves from her leg with the nerves on her tongue. It’s an extremely rare and risky procedure and neither the Chief nor McSteamy has ever done it. But they both want to prove that they are not too old to learn new tricks, so they go ahead with it. There’s a chance that Connie still might not be able to speak after the procedure, so George encourages her to tell her friends everything she’s been wanting to tell them but hasn’t had the guts to before she goes under. So, Connie tells one friend that her pants are too tight, and the other that she has bad breath and needs to update her ‘do, and a whole lot of other mean stuff that she’s been holding in.

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Bad Breath in Dogs

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Shiela Wolf writes about Dog Breath in The expression “dog breath” was coined for a reason — because most dogs have bad breath! The good news is Dr. Katz has a solution for this problem – Dr. Katz Oral Solution for Dogs.

Fido may be your best friend, but when he slobbers your face with his kisses, do you notice his horrible doggie breath and pull away? It might be a sign of something much more serious than just malodor. It might even be life-threatening.



Veterinarians have been much more aware of the connection between periodontal diseases (chronic gum infections) and heart problems than most medical doctors, and seem to have been talking about it far longer. It has just been since the Surgeon General published his report, “Oral Health in America” in May 2000, that the medical profession began to take notice. Infections in your pet’s mouth can travel into their circulatory system, just like in humans, and set up infections in other organs of their bodies. That can cause serious whole-body problems. Having a gum infection can mean your pet is at higher risk for heart attacks, stroke, diabetic complications, respiratory problems, and many other life-threatening illnesses. It is no different from the threat chronic infections pose for us humans. For more info on gum disease, its transmission, and its relationship to general health visit

You should regularly check your pet for:
• Bad, Stale Breath
• Missing, loose, or broken teeth
• Bleeding or swollen gums – (check especially along the gum line)
• Persistent yellowish or brown teeth which may be accumulations of plaque and tartar
• Any unusual growths
• Receding gums
• Any signs of pus or drainage
If your pet is avoiding his toys or bones, not eating well, or won’t drink water that is too cold, you can suspect a problem in his mouth.

Here are ways to examine your pet for mouth problems:
• Take an intimate moment with your beloved animal. Make sure you won’t be disturbed by noise or distractions. Be gentle and take your time.
• To look at the left side molars: Place index finger of left hand on top of muzzle and place left thumb below bottom jaw to prevent your pet from opening their jaw.
• Lift their lips open with right index finger and thumb.
• Visually examine the gum area around the back molars for plaque, tartar, inflammation, and receding gums.
• To check for loose teeth, gently press each tooth (if your pet allows it) If he has bad breath, his gums may be red and inflamed. Be very gentle.
• To check the front teeth, separate upper and lower lips with thumbs & index finger, looking for redness (inflammation or infections) at the gum area at the base of the teeth.
• Repeat same steps on the other side.
• Report areas of tenderness to his Vet.

Don’t let your dog (or kitty) suffer unnecessarily. Although bad breath may not be the same social stigma that it is for us, they still could fall prey to the risks of overall health problems and live a shorter life. Mouth bacteria are transmissible from person to person, and even from Fido to you. Be sure you and your pet are both healthy so you don’t pass your germs to each other.

Click on this link for helpful products.

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Now is the time to come clean — October is National Dental Hygiene Month

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Sponsored annually by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), National Dental Hygiene Month (NDHM) is a month-long observance of the importance of proper oral hygiene. Observed in October, with a specific theme chosen by ADHA, participating communities are given the chance to recognize the contributions of dental hygienists towards community outreach efforts. The 2007 topic is a continuation of the four-year theme “A Healthy Smile Lasts a Lifetime.” The focus for this year will be on Adolescent and Teenage Oral Health. Possible topics to be discussed include:

  • Smoking
  • Piercing
  • Breath mints
  • Deleterious effects of carbonated and sugared drinks
  • Nutrition
  • Mouth guards/sports
  • Eating disorders


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Brushing — it’s not just for humans anymore

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

October 5, 2007

It’s not like they have to floss, but keeping a pet’s teeth clean is essential to their good health and happiness.

Recent reports by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the American Veterinary Dental Society suggest that many pet parents don’t understand what is required to maintain an animal’s teeth and gums.


According to the AVDS, oral disease is one of the most frequently diagnosed pet health problems. If left untreated, it can lead to more severe woes, yet much of it can be prevented, said the nonprofit.

One of the most commonly ignored symptoms of oral disease is constant bad breath, said veterinarian Stephanie Hazen of The Pet Clinic in Salem.

True, pets lick themselves and eat objects humans wouldn’t even pick up, let alone chew, but those scenarios are cause and effect, said Hazen.

“If a dog or cat has bad breath that won’t go away after brushing, then that pet needs to be seen and assessed by a vet,” Hazen said.

Chronic bad breath, in some cases, she said, can be indicative of fairly serious problems such as liver or renal disease.

Hazen said pet parents brush their own teeth daily, but often leave their animals’ teeth unwashed for years or only brush them on occasion.

She recommends brushing a pet’s teeth every other day because plaque mineralizes to calculus in about two days.

Calculus is the bacterial toxin that can enter the bloodstream and infect vital organs, including the heart lining and its valves.

Another symptom of gum disease is a pink or red line along the gums. That usually indicates more advanced gum disease, but “it’s still treatable,” said Mechelle Gilbert, a certified veterinary technician at The Pet Clinic, who is licensed to anesthetize and clean pets’ teeth.

Other symptoms include animals who go to eat and then back away from their food because of mouth pain and yellow or brown crust near the gum line.

Sitting in front of a table with a drain built into it and observing X-rays taken of a dog’s teeth, Gilbert works to remove mineralized calculus from the mouth of a dog named Sam.

After inserting a catheter in the dog to carry intravenous drugs to the animal, Gilbert uses an ultrasonic cleaner to chisel away at the deposits. She uses a polishing tool to smooth any marks left by the first tool.

She then measures the gum line. If an infection is detected, Gilbert and Hazen will determine its depth, then opt to treat with oral antibiotics or inject an antibiotic gel directly into the gums.

If they find any broken teeth after completing the cleaning, they will advise the owner and discuss extractions.

The X-rays, extractions and antibiotic treatments add to the cost of cleaning, said Hazen. A routine cleaning starts at about $200 depending on whether it’s a cat or dog and its size. But it can rise to $1,000 or more if additional work is required.

That is why Hazen’s office takes an aggressive approach to animal dental care.

She makes it part of the annual checkup, and depending on the breed, reminds pet parents that they need to make regular teeth cleaning a part of animal’s routine.

There are some long-faced breeds such as German shepherds whose short coats don’t accumulate food around the face “who can go forever without having their teeth cleaned by a vet provided their pet parents brush regularly at home and their gums don’t become inflamed,” said Hazen. “With other dogs and cats, if owners start cleaning when they’re puppies and kittens, they can reduce the buildup, but not always prevent it.”

Veterinarian Michael Stewart of Silver Creek Animal Clinic in Silverton said his clients look to him for good advice in pet rearing, so he too advocates brushing a pet’s teeth.

“Dogs and cats have good enamel, and cavities are rare,” Stewart said. “So we mainly fight dirty teeth and gum recession. If we can get our clients to brush their pets’ teeth, then that preventative dental care will have a great effect on their pet’s health.”

Stewart said his approach is one of balanced practicality. He encourages pet owners to brush their pet’s teeth so they can avoid more serious problems such as heart disease. He also warns against raising an obese pet.

“We would like pets not to become unaffordable to the masses. We know that items like dental radiographs every year are not practical for every family, so it’s important to offer information and options, too.”

Hazen also advocates a new tool in the fight against canine plaque — a vaccine.

Having learned about the Porphyromonas vaccine at an AVDS national convention last year, Hazen started offering the shot in November.

She said it has been very successful in her patients, and it has few side effects.

Most of the initial problems were pain at the injection site, so she started offering an anti-inflammatory medication called Rimadyl along with the shot to counter the discomfort.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “I’ve seen much improvement in the animals I’m seeing back in six months.”

The vaccine has a conditional license while awaiting permanent drug administration approval. But Hazen said if it continues to succeed in animals, it may progress to a vaccine for humans.

She reports results regularly to the vaccine’s manufacturer Pfizer Animal Health.

Hazen said the vaccine is one of the many tools available to pet owners to help their pets lead long and healthy lives.

“We just want to teach them that a pet’s teeth are an important part of their overall health and shouldn’t be ignored. We can’t say it enough,” Hazen said.

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