Archive for September, 2009

Anorexia, Your Diet, and Bad Breath

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009


Next time you think about skipping breakfast in the morning, think about the consequences it may have on your breath!   This is one cause of bad breath that is easy to overcome.  If you miss breakfast for whatever reason, or if you are anorexic, you extend your morning breath until you eat something.  Why does this happen?  When you are sleeping, your brain knows that you will not be eating.  Your brain in turn slows down saliva production.  Saliva has a high concentration of oxygen (which is a natural enemy of bad breath and gum disease-causing bacteria), the lack of saliva makes it easier for the bacteria to reproduce.  As soon as you eat something in the morning, the salivary glands kick in and provide oxygen-rich saliva to dissipate morning breath. 

If one does not drink enough fluids, he or she may have halitosis from dry mouth. Also, there is also something called “hunger breath”, which is caused by ketosis, a medical condition in which the body starts breaking down fat if the person is not consuming enough calories.  Ketones are produced in ketosis, and if there are large amounts of ketones being produced, the acidity of the blood can be increased.  In turn, the body tries to lower the pH by ridding itself of the ketones in the lungs and urine, thus causing bad breath.  In a low-carb diet, this is actually the main principle, since the body is tricked into thinking it is undergoing famine, even if the person is continuing the same calorie intake.  Often times, people who are on extreme diets like high protein, low-carbohydrate or have eating disorder problems have chronic bad breath.  The food that you eat can affect your breath, at least for a short time, especially if you eat foods with garlic, onions and curry.

Most of the time, sulfur compounds created by oral bacteria when food is broken down in the mouth cause halitosis.  People who have dental plague have even more of these bacteria.  If one has a gum infection (periodontal disease, etc.) , sinus infection, or tonsilitis, he or she is much more likely to have bacteria causing a bad smell.  Dry mouth causes bad breath because there is less saliva in the mouth to wash the bacteria away. 

Of course, there are many other causes of bad breath, but some of the aforementioned causes can be overlooked sometimes.  All in all, the smell of your breath can be determined by how healthy you are, and not just your oral hygiene.  Drink plenty of water in order to keep your mouth moist, don’t miss breakfast, and practice proper oral hygiene on a daily basis.

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Will Your Child’s Teeth Rot From Halloween Candy?

Monday, September 28th, 2009


It is reaching that moment of the year where children’s consumption of sugar is likely to increase highly.  The average American eats 25 pounds of candy annually, with a high percentage of it being eating on Halloween.

When one is consuming chocolate, hard candy, taffy, and other sweets, it is difficult to maintain good oral health.  Dr. Harold Katz, the “Bad Breath Doctor” disperses tips on how to avoid rotting one’s teeth from celebrating Halloween.  Instead of having the scariest breath, why not have the scariest costume instead?

According to Dr. Katz, “Halloween is where candy makers go to town on your kids’ teeth.  It’s not like their intention is to rot your children`s teeth, but it may as well be with all the problems that habitual and even binge-based candy consumption can cause.”

With that said, here are some good tips to avoid those unwanted cavities:

  • Once your child brings home their Halloween candy, take control of it and dole it out to them over time
  • If you are comfortable doing so, deny your kids the most offensive of the candies they bring home to avoid cavities (all-day suckers, jolly ranchers, jaw breakers, large lollipops, taffy, roll-ups, gummy sweets)
  • Make sure your child brushes and flosses after consuming these goodies, and before bed without exception
  • Try sugarless gum or candy as an alternative, since it reduces the amount of bacteria in the mouth
  • If you are the one giving out candy to kids, try to offer fun alternatives to candy like party favors, stickers, noisemakers, comic books, and so on.
  • Since adults have their fun during Halloween too, they should try to avoid alcohol (since alcohol causes dry mouth, leading to bacterial bad breath, which is the worst kind of halitosis)
  • Keep in mind that breath mints are really sugary candies, because they just taste sweet and do not necessarily mask bad breath (taste and smell are not the same senses!).
  • Also, pay attention to what toothpaste/mouthwash your kids are using.  It should not contain alcohol or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.

Hope your Halloween will be sweet, but not full of cavities!

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Pregnancy and Bad Breath

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

pregnancy bad breath

Bad breath is a dilemma that is even more common in pregnant women. The hormonal changes encountered in women who are expecting make her dental condition weaker, thus making her more susceptible to halitosis. Not all pregnant women have this problem, but the percentage is definitely higher.

There are many tips out there for pregnant women to take heed to, and one of them might be to increase the calcium intake because calcium deficiency often happens in pregnant women. Calcium supplements may be recommended for both during and after pregnancy because it makes the teeth stronger and prevents other oral problems like gum disease and bad breath. Since women should not take in any chemicals that could endanger a baby’s health, it is especially hard to treat conditions like gingivitis during pregnancy.

Also, since pregnant women should not use most mouthwashes because of the chemical content, they need to find other ways to treat halitosis. Herbal alternatives may be recommended for preventing the anaerobic bacteria that causes bad breath during pregnancy. Some herbal cures may include lemon oil, peppermint oil, or lime oil for starters. Also, expecting mothers can try gargling water with salt and drinking fresh lemon juice to prevent bad breath.

If one goes through the efforts of trying these herbal cures and practicing good oral hygiene, she should be able to get rid of bad breath quickly. Not all problems can be solved with a store-bought medication, so it’s worthwhile to look at the natural alternatives. Also, one should make sure she does not have another underlying medical condition that causes the bad breath, so she should schedule checkups with her doctor if she is having persistent halitosis. This is the best way to keep expecting moms and their babies healthy.

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Chinese Herbal Remedies for Bad Breath

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

chinese herbs

Especially nowadays, many people are interested in alternative treatments to ailments like halitosis. Chinese herbs can be useful in treating bad breath without you having to worry about harsh chemicals. Of course, before using these herbs, you should have a consultation with an expert in the field so you can take any necessary precautions. Bitter herbs can be used to treat halitosis along with mouth ulcers; irritability; thirst; increased hunger; red tongue; red, swollen, or ulcerated gums; swollen lips or mouth; dry mouth; yellow coated tongue, and so on. Some common herbs used in Chinese medicine for banishing bad breath are Shan Zhi Zi, Huang Lian, and Mu Dan Pi. Various concoctions including other herbs such as trifala, senne leaves, aloe vera, and rhubarb can also get rid of bad breath.

If you are serious about getting rid of your bad breath and are not sure what is causing it, you should check with a doctor so you take the correct path in treating it.

According to Chinese medicine, one should regularly eat “cool” foods (low in temperature) like cabbage, lettuce, pears, peaches, oranges, melons (cantaalope, watermelon, honey dew), zucchini, cucumber, corn, snow peas, celery, carrots, and broccoli. It is also recommended that you should reduce the amount of spicy/hot foods, greasy/fatty foods, alcohol, and coffee that you consume if you want to avoid dragon breath.

You can combine Chinese remedies, “cool” foods, and recommendations from a licensed acupuncture physician in order to combat your halitosis.


Five Secrets That Dentists Keep From You

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

dentist cartoon

Aside from brushing and flossing, there are other things that your dentist could you tell so you can better care for your teeth.  There are secrets that dentists know that their patients do not.  These usually include the following:

1)  Your dentist can tell if you smoke.  Even if someone brushes their teeth or tries to cover it up with mints, gum, or mouthwash, the smell is actually embedded in the mouth, especially the gum tissue!

  • Smokers are also 4X more likely to get periodontal disease than those who do not smoke.

2)  The oral bacteria that causes cavities can spread on food and cutlery.  For instance, mothers will share their utensils and food with their kids, but bad bacteria can be spread this way.  This also goes to say that one should take special care when kissing (especially their little ones) if he or she has gum disease or cavities, since these bacteria are contagious.

3)  When most people brush, they only clean less than 1/4 of their mouths!  Most people brush for 30 seconds or less, and good oral hygiene requires at least five minutes of brushing and flossing each day.  One should brush at least 2-3 minutes at a time, and floss for 1-2 minutes each time.  When people brush only 30 seconds, they are missing their back molars 90% of the time. 

4) Bleaching Teeth Too Much Can Make Them Translucent!  Teeth whitening can thin the enamel, so never bleach your teeth more than once every six months.  If the gel bothers your gums and teeth, try a fluoride rinse or gel before and after using the bleaching gel.  This will make your teeth less sensitive. 

5) Don’t get your mouth deep cleaned when you only need a regular cleaning.  Some dentists want to charge your insurance more, so they will tell you that you need a deep cleaning when you do not.  Those who need a deep cleaning are people who have a lot of tartar on their roots or other symptoms of disease. 

Source: ABC News