Archive for the ‘bad breath’ Category

Holiday Halitosis? Figure Out the Causes and Cures

Monday, December 16th, 2013

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‘Tis the season for Christmas carols, reindeer, in-laws and bad breath. That’s right, with the all of the exciting festivities, many folks get stressed out decorating, finalizing travel plans and setting the table for your spouse’s parents. But while a little anxiousness is normal – and may help you complete your shopping list – too much can be bad for your overall and oral health. Here’s how it works: 

The saliva in your mouth acts as a natural cleansing agent, washing down food particles and bacteria. On average, we produce 1.5 liters of saliva throughout the day. However, when we feel stressed, that amount falls sharply, leaving our mouths as dry as your aunt’s over-roasted turkey. As a result, odor-causing bacteria builds up along gum​ lines and teeth, triggering holiday halitosis.

Top causes for stress and bad breath
• Once you leave the cookies and milk out for Santa Claus, be sure not to dawdle around munching all night long. Excess snacking often takes hold of us during the holiday season, and while some is not going to kill you, it makes you more prone to cavities and dental plaque. Grazing on roasted turkey, candy canes and gingerbread men doesn’t give saliva a chance to wash out harmful bacteria. The longer sugars hang on teeth, the more time they have to wear down enamel. Stay on Santa’s good side, and prevent yourself from leaving behind only cookie crumbs.

• Yes, Black Friday is over, but your shopping list may be far from done. If you want to crush your competition in Secret Santa while picking up all the presents that little Sandy and Johnny dream of under the Christmas tree, be proactive. Get your holiday shopping done sooner rather than later. As you know from years past, waiting until the last minute not only leaves you more stressed, it drops the likelihood that your gifts remain in stock. You don’t want your holiday spirit to fall like a weighed-down red sleigh that can’t fly over roof tops. Avoid stress by beating the crowds and stinky breath. (more…)

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Who Knew I’d be a Bit of a YouTube Hit?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Hi, it’s Dr. Katz.

When I posted my first YouTube video explaining the ins and outs of a TheraBreath Bonus Pak Sale, I really didn’t know if anyone would watch it. I had heard from Amy our customer service manager that some people were a little confused about how the sale worked. I have to agree — the Bonus Pak Sales Event can be a little confusing…but with savings of 60% or more it is definitely worth figuring out.

So the marketing guy and I whipped up a little video to help explain how much money you could save (to recap, it’s a lot — over 60%!) and put it up for the world to see.

Well, it looks like people really did watch it. In the first two days, hundreds of people actually sat through 2 minutes of me talking about a sale on mouthwash! It didn’t take too long for me to figure out that I have a lot of customers on YouTube and that this is a great way to educate them about all the great things I have learned about breath care over the years. While some of this medical stuff sounds complicated on paper, I’ve always been very good at explaining things simply to my patients. YouTube is a great way for me to talk to my on-line customers in that same way.

I spent the last few days shooting a series of short, informative videos on all sorts of oral care related questions that we will be putting on YouTube in the coming weeks. I will answer questions like ‘what does it mean when my tongue is white?’ , ‘where does bad breath come from?’ and the ever-popular ‘do I really need to use a tongue-scraper?’ (short answer to that last one is no… but you’ll have to watch the video to find out why)

My first Q&A video called ‘What is bad breath?’ is available now at YouTube by watching here.

If you didn’t get a chance to watch me talk about the Bonus Pak Sales Event, that video is here.

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How Cranberries Protect Your Teeth from Cavity-causing Bacteria

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

1339875_95150591When you’re devouring Thanksgiving foods, the bacteria in your mouth are feasting too.

Our mouths are full of bacteria. Hundreds of different kinds live on our gums, teeth, tongue and cheeks. While some bacteria are helpful, others can cause harm, such as those that play a role in tooth decay.

To say sugar is the main cause of cavities isn’t quite the whole story. While it can do nasty damage to teeth, the leading cause of dental caries is called Streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans, which is a type of bacteria that lives in your mouth. In fact, it falls under the category of anaerobic bacteria, meaning that it can live without oxygen – think of anaerobic workouts, such as weight lifting, which doesn’t consume a lot of oxygen, and aerobic workouts, such as long-distance running, which are known to lead to huffing and puffing.

Let’s take a look at the science behind S. mutans. This troublesome bacterium splits sugars in foods and uses them to build its own little capsule, which sticks tightly to the teeth. The bacteria produce a strong acid that attacks enamel and starts to erode the tooth. If the acids are not removed, it can end up creating tiny holes in the tooth - what we all know as cavities.

So, how do cranberries help protect against dental caries?
When you’re scooping delicious stuffing, turkey and gravy onto your plate at dinner time, don’t forget about cranberries! These red berries have been proven to contain a boatload of antioxidants and can help fight off dental plaque. A team from the University of California at Los Angeles and Oceanspray Cranberry showed that the flavonoids quercetin and myricetin in cranberries prevent S. mutans bacteria from sticking to teeth, thereby reducing the amount of cavities.

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Risks of Chewing Tobacco on Oral Health

Friday, November 15th, 2013

452622_30653429Much has been made about the harmful effects of cigarettes on oral health as well as overall health. But what about the stuff you don’t inhale, such as snuff and chew? In fact, these forms of smokeless tobacco are on the rise among Americans. In a study conducted between 2002 and 2008, there was a 47 percent increase in the number of new smokeless tobacco users.

Snuff is a finely ground or shredded tobacco that users “dip” between the gum and cheek. Chewing tobacco comes in a loose leaf, twist or plug form, which the user places inside the cheek. In the U.S., smokeless tobacco has long been associated with baseball. Players keep a wad in their bottom lips to keep their mouth moist, then spit the liquid out onto the field. Many people know the product simply as chew, spit, dip, plug and chaw. But whatever the name, the health risks remain.

Is smokeless tobacco better for you than cigarettes?
No. All tobacco, including snuff and chew, contains nicotine, which is highly addictive. Though nicotine is absorbed more slowly from smokeless tobacco than a cigarette, the amount that enters that bloodstream is three to four times greater than its smoking counterpart, while more nicotine per dose is absorbed stays in the blood longer. According to the National Cancer Institute, at least 28 chemicals in snuff and chew have been found to cause cancer.

Gum disease
One of the most common triggers from smokeless tobacco is gum disease, also known as gingivitis (in the early stage) and periodontal disease (in the advanced stage). When you put a pinch of chew on the inside of your lip, the chemicals in the tobacco irritate and erode the gum line, causing the gums to pull away from the teeth. Many regular chew users experience receding gums and permanent discoloration of their teeth. If you’ve ever seen a picture of someone who has a history of dipping, their bottom and top rows of teeth are a brownish-yellow. As the level of the gums sink, plaque and tartar find the bigger pockets to stick to and destroy the teeth. Extreme forms of gum disease lead to tooth loss.

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Diets, Bad Breath and Jerry Seinfeld

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

1421738_56683347Jerry Seinfeld might’ve been the star of the award-winning sitcom “Seinfeld,” but he may also know a thing or two about bad breath. When asked which character on the show had the worst oral odor, Jerry responded that some of women he had “dated” on the show had breath that could rival the stench of “the beast.” During intimate scenes when he would get up close to them, the comedian claimed he could notice which actresses had not eaten that day. He explained that this is because when someone has bad breath, often he or she has skipped a meal. Of the actresses who played his girlfriends, most were concerned about their weight, and during the day they wouldn’t eat. Come show time, their mouths produced quite the stink.

True, when people miss meals or are hungry, they tend to come down with halitosis, or bad breath. A major reason is that saliva production decreases in the mouth during this time. When we are chewing foods, saliva acts as a cleanser that rinses out stray bits of food and anaerobic bacteria that contain stinky sulfur compounds. However, as the muscles in the mouth relax while we are not eating, bacteria accumulates, triggering foul breath.  (more…)

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