Archive for August, 2009

TheraBreath Goes To Dodgers Stadium

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Dr. Katz and the rest of the staff at TheraBreath went as a group to the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. St. Louis Cardinals game at Dodger’s Stadium on August 17th! As you can see in the picture above, the Dodgers gave TheraBreath a warm welcoming. Even though the Dodgers’ loss disappointed their Los Angeles fans, it was still a very fun event with lots of free junk food. Hopefully everyone used their TheraBreath regimen afterwards so they didn’t get bad breath!

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Redbook Anti- Bad Breath Tips

Monday, August 17th, 2009

 

Redbook recently has compiled a list of bad breath remedies / treatments if you happen to have a problem with bad breath (halitosis).   Here are ten bad breath remedies mentioned in Redbook:

  1. Brush and floss your teeth 2-3X daily.
  2. Use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue.
  3. Eat around 6 oz. of plain yogurt each day to reduce the foul odor causing bacteria (due to the active cultures/probiotics in yogurt)
  4. Eat ‘detergent’ vegetables – Textured foods like carrots and apples will help clean your tongue
  5. Stay hydrated, because bacteria thrive when you have dry mouth, which helps cause bad breath
  6. Drink tea (especially green tea).  Tea contains polyphenols, which are compounds that inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause bad breath
  7. Eat parsley- Since parsley has chlorophyll, this can help halt your halitosis
  8. Use the correct mouthwash- Rinse at least 30 seconds each night (preferably using a mouthwash without alcohol)
  9. Chew sugarless gum- this increases the production of saliva, thus hydrating your mouth
  10. Avoid spicy and strong smelling foods that cause bad breath       
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Gum Disease

Friday, August 14th, 2009

What Is Gum Disease? 

Gum disease, also known was periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues and bones surrounding and supporting the teeth.  The shallow v-shaped crevice between the tooth and the gums is called a sulcus, and gum diseases attack right below the gum line in the sulcus, where it causes the tissues to break down.  The sulcus can develop into a pocket as the tissues break down.

There are two stages.  Gingivitis is reversible and milder than the periodontitis stage, since it only affects the gums.  Gingivitis generally involves having swollen, red gums that bleed easily when one flosses/brushes.  Generally it does not cause pain.  Gingivitis can turn into periodontitis, which is a much serious and destructive version of periodontal disease.  Periodontitis involves the gums pulling away from the teeth, leaving deep pockets where the bacteria can grow and damage the bone that supports the teeth.  The gums also shrink back from the teeth, and the teeth may need to be pulled out, or may become loose and fall out. 

Gum Disease Causes

People’s mouths are always creating plaque, which is a clear and sticky substance that contains bacteria.  The bacteria contains toxins that can irritate the gums and cause gum infection.  It is necessary to remove plaque from one’s teeth regularly otherwise the plaque can spread below the gums and damage the tooth-supporting bone.  Hardened plaque is known as tartar and has to be removed by a dentist/dental hygienist. 

Here are some factors that increase the risk of gum disease occurring:

-          Chewing or smoking tobacco
-          Certain medications (Steroids, some types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives)
-          Uneven teeth
-          Bridges that do not fit properly
-          Pregnancy/hormonal changes
-          Defective fillings
-          Poor oral hygiene
-          Genetic predisposition
-          Weak immunity system, possibly caused by:
            *Excessive amounts of stress
            *Poor diet
            *Diabetes and/or other systemic diseases

Gum Disease Warning Signs

Gingivitis Symptoms

-          Gums that easily bleed
-          Tender/bright  red/swollen gums

Periodontitis Symptoms

-          Pus between teeth and gums
-          Gums pulling away from the teeth
-          Chronic bad breath/foul tastes
-          Permanent teeth that are becoming loose/separating
-          Change in the way that one’s dentures fit
-          Change in the way one’s teeth fit together when biting

How is Gum Disease Diagnosed?

An oral care expert will know to look for the following:

-          Bleeding gums
-          Plaque/tartar buildup above and below the gum line
-          Areas where the gum tissue is pulling away from the teeth
-          Growing pockets between the gums and teeth

Gum Disease Treatment

If the gum disease is mild, simply brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist regularly should be enough to get rid of it.

If the gum disease becomes worse and one has periodontitis, root planing and scaling may be in order.  This rids the mouth of plaque and tartar buildup.  Antibiotics might be recommended, and surgery could be necessary depending on how severe the disease is.

One can have periodontal disease without having any symptoms.  This makes dental visits and examinations important.  The type of treatment one should get depends on the type and severity of gum disease.  Good dental hygiene should be practiced in order to prevent the disease from occurring, becoming worse, or recurring.  Periodontal disease does not mean you will lose your teeth.  In order to maintain good oral hygiene, one should brush, floss, use mouthwash, eat a healthy diet, and schedule regular dental examinations.

Source: ADA, Web MD 

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Pregnancy Gingivitis

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Pregnancy gingivitis” is the swelling/inflammation of the gums that many pregnant women suffer, especially early on in their pregnancy.  It is caused by a bacterial film that grows on the teeth, resulting in plaque buildup.  This plaque irritates the gum tissue, making them tender, bright red, swollen, sensitive, and easy to make bleed. 

The hormonal changes during pregnancy change the body’s natural response to dental plaque, and thus exaggerate the way the gum tissues react to the bacteria in plaque, thus resulting in a higher chance of pregnant women getting gingivitis.  Generally, if extra care is taken of the teeth and possible plaque buildup, it can be prevented.  It is even more important to have a good oral hygienic routine during this time. 

It is very important for expecting mothers to take care quickly if they have gum disease because they have a six times greater risk of having preterm and low-birth weight babies!  If expecting mothers had untreated tooth decay and/or consumed a lot of sugar, their children had four times the risk of developing tooth decay as opposed to children of other mothers.

Tip:  Women who are pregnant should have a periodontal exam as part of prenatal care.  Statistics have found that only half of expecting mothers receive proper dental care.

As far as hormones are concerned, expecting mothers (and also women who take oral contraceptives) generally experience elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone.  This is why pregnant women have a 65 to 70% chance of developing gingivitis during the pregnancy.  The risk of getting gingivitis increases beginning with the second month of pregnancy and decreases with the ninth month. 

If you already have gingivitis going in to a pregnancy, it will likely get worse during pregnancy if you do not get treatment.  Keep in mind that it is the bacteria in plaque that causes gingivitis by infecting the gum tissue and not the hormonal changes. 

The problem with gum disease (periodontal disease) is that the infected gums are toxic reservoirs of disease-causing bacteria.  The toxins released can attack the ligaments, gums, and bones surrounding your teeth to create infected pockets similar to large infected wounds in the oral cavity.  These pockets, unfortunately, can provide access to your bloodstream and allow bacteria to travel throughout your body. 

Since the bacteria that cause gingivitis can enter the bloodstream, the bacteria can travel all the way down to the uterus.  This triggers the body to produce prostaglandins, which is a natural fatty acid that normally controls inflammation and smooth muscle contraction.  When a woman is pregnant, her level of prostaglandins increases and peaks when she goes into labor.  It is possible that if extra prostaglandins are produced when the body is reacting to infected gums, a pregnant women’s body may think it is a signal to go into labor sooner than expected, thus causing a baby to be born too early or too small. 

Pregnancy Tumors

Pregnancy tumors (pyogenic granuloma) are part of the exaggerated response to the plaque/bacteria that causes gum disease.  They are inflammatory and benign growths that develop on the gums, and although they are not cancerous, they should be treated.  They are rare and usually painless.

Beware of any medications that you take during pregnancy when you are treating an infection.   

How to Prevent Pregnancy Gingivitis:

-          Brush teeth 2-3X a day and after meals whenever possible
-          Floss and use mouthwash every day
-          If you are suffering from morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water frequently and/or brush your teeth as often as possible to neutralize the acid caused by vomiting
-          If toothbrushing causes morning sickness, rinse your mouth with water, brush without the toothpaste and use an anti-plaque fluoride mouthwash afterwards
-          Eat healthy foods with plenty of vitamin B12 and C
-           See a dentist for advice on preventing/controlling plaque and gingivitis.  Schedule routine checkups and dental cleanings.

Source:  Dental Gentle Care

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Tea Tree Oil for Bad Breath and Gum Disease

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

tea tree oilTea tree oil (also known as melaleuca oil) has been used for medicinal purposes for many years. It can be used for antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and cosmetic benefits. Tea tree oil has certain chemicals called terpenoids that have antiseptic and antifungal properties. It is an essential oil that is acquired by steam distillation of the leaves from an Australian plant called the Melaleuca alternifolia.   Originally, the leaves were used as a tea substitute, which is how tea tree oil got its name.       

 Tea Tree Oil Uses

Tea tree leaves were originally used for healing skin ailments, scrapes, insect bites, skin spots, cuts, infections, and burns by crushing the leaves and applying them to the area in need. Tea tree oil has been used for conditions such as acne, athlete’s foot, dandruff, nail fungus, vaginitis, thrush, periodontal disease, boils, lice, eczema, psoriasis, yeast infections, and as a general antiseptic. It is also used often in creams, ointments, soaps, lotions, and shampoos.

Tea Tree Oil for Bad Breath

Tea tree oil can actually be used to help stop bad breath. Many toothpastes and oral products use tea tree oil in their formulas. Sometimes it is even used in mouthwash and other solutions for stopping bad breath. 

Why is tea tree oil used in halting halitosis? Well, it has antifungal and antiseptic qualities meaning that it can kill fungi and bacteria that feed on food particles left in the mouth. The antiseptic property is mainly what makes it effective for preventing bad breath. 

Studies have shown that tea tree oil being used for bad breath is safe, since it is a 100% natural product. It is environmentally friendly since it is obtained from a renewable natural resource, and the tea trees are not disturbed and are allowed to survive. 

However, there are unfavorable effects of tea tree oil for halitosis, and researchers recommend that you should go to the dentist and have a professional decide if tea tree oil would be appropriate for you to use to combat bad breath. Tea tree oil may not totally get rid of plague, and it can also cause allergies, even if the chance of this occurring is low. It may possibly alter hormone levels or cause allergic reactions.   Reactions are common with pure tea tree oil, so it is usually diluted when used;  however, it can also cause irritation when diluted.    It also should not be used if one is pregnant or breastfeeding.

Tea Tree Oil for Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease / Gingivitis)

Not only can tea tree oil help with halitosis, but it can even have antibiotic qualities and help heal gum infections. It can treat severe chronic gingivitis (gum disease / periodontal disease) and bleeding gums as they deeply penetrate to the skin. This is one of the main reasons a dentist would tell a patient to use toothpaste that contains tea tree oil for treating bad breath.

In order to get rid of gingivitis, you can use the tea tree oil by using one drop on top of your normal toothpaste on your toothbrush whenever you brush your teeth. It has a numbing effect and strong taste that will dissipate within five minutes. Never swallow the oil, do not use more than one drop, and wait around 15 minutes before drinking or eating. After a few weeks of using the tea tree oil, the gums should return to normal. One should also avoid sugary foods and drinks. If there are no results after a month, you could be suffering from a deeper infection in your body and should see a doctor/dentist for further help. 

Tea Tree Oil can be used against the follow bacteria/fungi:

Gram Positive bacteria: Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA), Staphyloccus epidermidis, Staphyloccus pneumoniae, Staphyloccus faecalis, Staphyloccus pyrogenes, Staphyloccus agalactiae, Propioni-bacterium acnes, Betahaemolytic streptococcus.

Gram Negative bacteria: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniac, Citrobactor ssp, Shigella sonnei, Proteus mirabilis (urinary tract infections), Legionella ssp, Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Fungi: Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton rubrum, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Candida albicans, Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum, Thermoactinomycetes vulgaris.

Source: Alt Medicine

 

As with anything, caution should be taken when using tea tree oil.

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