Archive for July, 2009

David Beckham’s Bad Breath (and Fish Oil Pills…)

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

According to Pop Crunch, Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham) has been apprehensive about kissing her husband, David Beckham, because his bad breath turns her stomach.  Yes, even soccer star David Beckham has a flaw!

Apparently Star Magazine has found out that David started a new regimen of swallowing fish oil pills every day, and his friends have been complaining about the smell as well.  He takes two Go3 pills, full of fish oil, because he is the spokesperson for the company.  His picture even appears on the box, so he is obligated to take them despite how bad his breath becomes.

All in all, fish oil definitely has its benefits, but don’t be surprised if people start handing you breath mints left and right if you start taking them.


Poor Oral Hygiene Can Increase Brain Surgery Side Effects

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Hopefully you won’t need brain surgery anytime soon, but if you know someone who does, it would be a good idea for him or her to go to the dentist beforehand to prevent issues like pneumonia.

After a major operation (especially brain surgery), the elderly generation runs a 20% risk of getting pneumonia.  This is because brain surgery weaknes the gag and coughing reflexes, thus making it easier for patients to breath in bacteria from their mouth and nose.

A research study done among 23 people has found that proper oral hygiene before a surgery makes a difference.  There were five people who developed pneumonia within 48 hours of their operation, and each of them had poor oral health, like gingivitis, prior to the surgery.  It is estimated that the risk of infection after surgery in those with poor oral health is increased by at least threefold. 

Source: New Scientist

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Bird Bad Breath

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Does Your Bird Have Bad Breath?

Thus far, our posts have mentioned dogs and cats having bad breath…but never have we discussed bad bird breath.  As someone who is a bird owner and avid bird fan, I thought it was necessary.  Birds can have bad breath!

If a bird has bad breath, that is almost always the sign of a bacteria infection, and it needs to see an avian veterinarian.  Generally, foul breath in our avian friends means that there is some abnormality in the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, or even with the oropharynx

If a bird has vitamin-A deficiency, it may be more susceptible to bacterial or yeast infections like Candida sp.  Infections like these can cause halitosis.  Also, a bird’s diet can affect its breath–so don’t give it rotten food/seed.

The bacteria that normally resides in the gastrointestinal tract (like the colon of mammals) are known as coliform bacteria.  Coliform bacteria and other bacteria are accompanied with a fecal-type odor.  If a bird is infected with one type of these bacteria, its breath (if the mouth, crop, or proventriculus has the infection) or its droppings (if the lower gastrointestinal tract has the infection) can develop a strong fecal odor.

Where Do These Bacteria Come From?

People use fertilizer frequently when growing fruits and vegetables, and this is a strong bacterial source.  Soil can also be contaminated with fecal material.  Fruits and vegetables need to be washed properly before a bird eats them, because the bird can ingest the bacteria.

Also, if a bird is in the bathroom when the toilet is flushed, the coliform bacteria can become aerosolized and breathed in by the bird.  Also, bird owners need to wash their hands after using the bathroom before handling their bird. 

Avian Gastric Yeast (AGY, formerly known as megabacteria) can be found in middle of the proventriculus and ventriculus and may also be found in other places of the gastrointestinal tract.  Unfortunately, this is hard to track in live birds, and it can be the cause of bad breath.  An ulcer in the crop, proventriculus or ventriculus that has been contaminated by bacteria can also cause bad breath.

Other Bad Breath Causes

Other gastrointestinal issues can cause halitosis, like Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD).  Spirochetes, an unusual type of organism, might cause halitosis, especially in lovebirds.  Both benign and malignant tumors in the gastrointestinal tract can also cause bad breath, especially if they erode or cause ulceration into the GI tract.  These can be diagnosed by a combination of blood work, X-rays, endoscopy, or ultrasound.  Within the GI tract, protozoal infections (i.e. trichomoniasis in the oropharynx, giardia) can be hard to diagnose and may cause bad breath.  Most protozoal infections can be treated with ronidazole. 

Treatment Plan

According to many avian vets, vinegar can by used to help acidify the interior of the proventriculus and ventriculus as well as treat many diseases, mostly in the GI tract.

If your bird has bad breath and any other symptoms, bring it to a vet and have a physical exam and work-up done.  These include: complete blood count; plasma chemistry panel; Gram’s stains of the choana, crop, and cloaca; bacterial and fungal cultures; appropriate serological tests; full-body X-rays and maybe an endoscopy.

Depending on what your avian veterinarian tells you, you can suggest a consultation with a board-certified avian specialist (some veterinary labs will offer this).  If your vet is not experienced enough, you can have them refer you to a referral center or avian specialist. 

Unlike pet mammals and humans, birds do not have teeth (aside from the single egg tooth that is not made of the structures in a mammalian tooth), meaning that the cause of bad breath in birds cannot be attributed to dental and gum disease (usually caused by a bacteria infection).  However, bacterial infections concerning the bird’s gastrointestinal tract or lungs can cause bad breath and impact its health. 

Source: Bird Channel

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What’s the Best Mouthwash?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

What’s the difference between various types of mouthwashes? Are some better for bad breath, gum disease, and dry mouth, or are they all basically the same?

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Fluoride in Toothpaste – Good or Bad?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Some people think Fluoride toothpaste treatment is the way to go; some think Fluoride is dangerous and should be avoided. What’s the deal with fluoride- is it good or bad?

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