Archive for the ‘wellness’ Category

Canker sores in children can be a pain

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Child brushing teethGetting canker sores is a real pain in the butt! And for little kids, they can be painful – making drinking, eating and even brushing teeth a difficult task. One in five people get these uncomfortable mouth ulcers, which can occur inside the mouth, cheeks, lips, throat or even on the tongue. Although these can often be confused with cold sores, they aren’t contagious and usually go away overtime. Here are some ways to avoid these uncomfortable sores or prevent them from coming back.

If you have canker sores, chances are your child will too – they have a 90 percent chance! While luckily they aren’t harmful, no one is really sure where they come from. However, one’s diet is likely to exacerbate the occurrence of them. Children are often very difficult eaters, so getting them to eat food that will prevent canker sores can pose a challenge. These often show up because our diets lack enough vitamin B12, folic acid and iron, and if your child has food allergies, they are even more likely to pop up.

Canker sores can also be caused by minor trauma in the mouth such as a cut in the mouth. So if a child accidentally bites the side of their mouth, it could turn into a canker sore later.

What is a canker sore?

Canker sores come in three different varieties, although the most common is minor. If you notice a small, red spot that can reach up to an inch in diameter – but is commonly much smaller – this is a canker sore! It will feel tingly or burn a little, and over time it will swell up, burst and leave a “open” wound. This can get really sensitive especially when eating citrus or hot foods. Often times it takes about two weeks for a canker sore to heal completely, but it usually will only be bothersome for the first three to four days.

Prevention

If your child is prone to canker sores, you may want to switch their toothpaste to something without sodium laurel sulfate. This is the detergent in toothpaste that makes it foam up, but it actually isn’t good for us. It tends to cause dry mouth, so eliminating this detergent from your child’s regular routine could help with problems later in life. Dry mouth may seem minor, but it can lead to bad breath and other oral health issues later in life.

It is important to make sure your child is practicing good oral hygiene everyday. Some children loathe the time they have to spend in the bathroom brushing and flossing, but getting them used to the habit at a young age will help them greatly later in life. Parents can brush their teeth at the same time as children so they are brushing and flossing for the correct amount of time, and they’ll have a good influence to look up to.

When your child has a canker sore, using a cotton swab with peroxide on it can help kill bacteria and encourage a faster healing process. You can also try a rinse mixture by combining 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide and 2 ounces of water, or 4 ounces of water with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda. If your child doesn’t like the taste – who could blame them – you can also use a wet black tea bag. Tea contains tannins that will relieve the pain in the sore.

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Easy ways to battle halitosis

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Do you constantly feel like you’re battling issues of bad breath, and nothing seems to work? Many people suffer from halitosis for various reasons, and you may want to determine where your own problems stem from to properly get rid of it. Here are a few suggestions that – even though they seem obvious – some people overlook.

Brush your teeth!

Obvious? Yes – but some people still don’t brush their teeth effectively to get rid of halitosis. When you were a kid, did your dentist ever tell you to use an hourglass to figure out how long you should be brushing your teeth – about three minutes? This rule still applies. If your brushing sessions are much more brief and you forget to floss and scrape your tongue, you’re not getting rid of all the bacteria in your mouth that causes halitosis.

Also, you need to make sure you are brushing your teeth at least two times a day! Throughout the day, you’re eating food, drinking sugary beverages or even smoking, which causes bad breath. If you aren’t cleaning out your mouth well enough, the bacteria in your mouth has a field day with the sugar and other “food” that gets left behind.

Scraping your tongue is just as important as brushing your teeth, because thats where bacteria gets caught in your mouth – gross! Using alcohol free mouthwash will also help eliminate this bacteria.

Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and alcohol

You may be surprised that the toothpaste or mouthwash that you’re using actually contains these ingredients that make bad breath worse! Even if it has a “minty” taste, these ingredients dry out your mouth, which leads to bad breath. Using a natural toothpaste will help dramatically with bad breath because it works to kill the bacteria that causes this issue without any added substances that are artificial.

Get hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is really important in helping fresh, non-offensive breath! Why? Because water helps wash down food that may be lingering in your mouth, plus it keeps your mouth moist. Saliva is a natural antibacterial that helps get rid of bacteria in the mouth because it flushes down food particles and sugar that is left on your teeth.

Look at labels

Chewing on gum or popping mints can actually be fairly addictive, but if you are prone to this habit, you should make sure there isn’t sugar that is causing bad breath. Even though these products are often labeled as “breath freshening” they are just quick fixes.

“Make sure to check the label and see that your gum is sugarless since bacteria in the mouth are apt to ferment sugar, thereby making your icky breathe even worse,” Dr. Mitchell told She Knows. “While you’re at it you might consider slashing sugar from the rest of your diet as well to freshen your breath.”

Stay healthy

Bad breath is very often a side effect of a larger problem, and common colds or allergies are big culprits. The excessive mucus in your nose and throat contain bacteria that causes bad breath, and if your nose is stuffed up you’ll likely be breathing through your mouth. This is a bad habit to fall into because it dries out the mouth and further creates bad breath. If you feel as though your sinuses are getting clogged, you may want to invest in bacteria-killing sinus drops and stick to a regimen of gargling with salt water. Salt water helps battle bad breath-causing, and will soothe your throat if it is irritating. It will also help break down thick mucus, which will help the breath become fresher and cleaner.

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Why does your mouth dry out during stressful times?

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed out or feel anxious that your mouth is dry and uncomfortable? Well, that’s no coincidence! Anxiety dry mouth is a real condition, and it affects people who suffer from a wide range of anxiety, from everyday stress to irrational fears and paralyzing phobias.

According to the Calm Clinic, anxiety dry mouth is caused by a lack of production in the salivary glands, and it is fear induced. Although anxiety attacks may only last about 10 minutes, they can still cause your body and mind go into an ultimate panic and your breathing to become irregular. During an attack, you are often breathing through the mouth, and typically at a very rapid pace, which could cause you to feel as though you are gasping for air. In these types of situations, bodily fluids like saliva are diverted to other areas of the body. This causes the mouth and throat to dry out, which can potentially be painful and holds the possibility of lasting much longer than the actual anxiety attack.

Dry mouth can be a symptom of stress, as well. Whether you are going through a major life change, like marriage or a big move, or just dealing with your job or traffic, stress can cause your mouth to dry out. Treatment of dry mouth that is caused by stress can be prevented by using a humidifier, drinking 8-9 glasses of water, taking a hot shower and chewing on sugarfree gum.

“Anxiety and stress wreak havoc on the body. There is an increased amount of stomach acid as a result of stress and anxiety,” Dr. Stacey Silvers of Madison ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery told Yahoo! Voices. “Testing, including my own office tests, has shown acid reflux to make it as high as into the back of the nose. Stomach acid is a pH of 2 and can kill off some of the healthy bacteria that we count on to keep our oral cavity healthy and hydrated.”

When dry mouth turns bad

When we have dry mouth, it decreases the amount of saliva in our mouth, which is supposed to be there to help rinse down bacteria that collect in our mouths. So not only do you have an uncomfortable sandpaper tongue, but the bacteria that causes bad breath is just sitting at the back of your throat. Yuck! Suffering from dry mouth because of anxiety or depression is difficult enough, but the last thing you want to worry about is having bad breath. Luckily, this is preventable.

Destress yourself regularly

Some people think that meditation is silly, but give it a shot. You don’t have to go to a specialized facility and sit in a room with a bunch of other people, because you can easily destress in the comfort of your own home. Go to a room without a television or any loud sounds. Dim the lights, and maybe light a candle. Just sit down in a comfortable position and breath. It sounds like nothing, but it’s not! Focus on counting your breath, because it will help keep your mind from straying away. Try to do this at least once a week, in whatever way you feel most comfortable. You can even destress by going for a run in the fresh air or taking a relaxing bubble bath.

In addition to urging your mind to remain calm, there are other ways to battle dry mouth. Refrain from using any mouthwash that has alcohol in it, because these types of products can actually exacerbate the issue. Make sure to use all natural mouthwash and toothpaste, which will rinse away any bacteria that can cause bad breath. Products like these will also help keep your mouth moist.

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Gum Disease (One of the Major Causes of Bad Breath) Myths

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

gum disease myths

Many people fail to treat gum disease, even though it can cause severe damage if left untreated.  This is probably because most people fail to understand how serious gum/periodontal disease can be.   Statistics say that around 75%-80% of people have a for of gum disease, ranging from mild to severe. 

Here are some common MYTHS that you need to discard:

1.  Bleeding gums are not a big deal.  FALSE!  Many gum symptoms (i.e. bleeding/receding/red/swollen gums/bad breath) are all key signs that you might have periodontal disease.  If you notice that certain foods, flossing, and/or brushing can cause your gums to bleed, it’s best that you go to the dentist and get a diagnosis.  Gum disease not only can lead to tooth decay and loss, but it may help instigate disease in the heart, diabetes, and so on.  It may also be a sign of other serious issues in your body!

2.  Flossing every day is not important.  FALSE!  A good oral hygiene regimen requires that you floss on a daily basis as one of the main ways, besides brushing, to prevent gum disease.  Allegedly, only 13.5% of Americans floss that often.  Not a good sign! 

3.  Periodontist visits are intimidating, and they’ll pull your teeth if you go in for treatment.  FALSE!  Experts on gum disease have received specialized training to help with your dental problems– everything from the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of gum disease.  Also, technology and treatments are always improving, so visits are becoming more and more comfortable.  If you avoid gum disease treatment, the gums will continue to recede and you’ll lose your tooth naturally. 

4.  Once a tooth is lost from gum disease, you can’t get it back.  FALSE!  Gum disease may be one of the main causes of tooth loss in people over age 18, but periodontists are extremely knowledgeable in placing dental implants.  These are artificial tooth roots that are inserted into the jaw to hold a replacement tooth.   Dental implants have a 98% success rate, and according to surveys, over 70% of people are extremely satisfied with the results of their dental implants. 

5.  Practicing poor oral care is the only way to get gum problems.  FALSE!  Neglecting your oral hygiene can definitely be a reason for gum disease progression, but other important factors need to be acknowledged.  Tobacco use, stress, a poor diet, and even genetics can alter how your body reacts to bacteria in the oral cavity. 

6.  Gum disease gets better on its own.   FALSE!  With the right care, it may clear up eventually, but it is an infection that needs immediate attention.  Just imagine if you had these open sores on your skin–just because it is in your mouth doesn’t mean you can ignore it.

7.  Bleeding gums are normal.  FALSE!  There is a reason as to why your gums are bleeding.  It does happen to almost everyone, but there has to be an actual injury to the gums causing them to bleed.

So, all in all, these statements are NOT true, and gum disease is something that you need to treat ASAP. 

Source:  The Mouth Doctor, Perio

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Foods That Will Help Bad Breath

Monday, March 15th, 2010

cinnamon bad breath

Some foods that are notorious for causing halitosis are garlic, onions, curry, fish and cheese.  Therefore, you’re going to want to freshen your mouth after eating these.  You also need to freshen your mouth once every 30-60 minutes until the breath offending-food is out of your bloodstream- sometimes this takes up to 24 hours!  It isn’t a good idea to brush your teeth that often, so trying some foods that banish halitosis may be just what the dentist ordered.

Foods that can fix bad breath:

1) Lemons- These are easy to find in restaurants, bars, etc.  Lemon-flavored candies can work as well as normal lemons, and are more easily portable.

2) Green garnishes (i.e. parsley, basil, and rosemary) - A garnish doesn’t always just serve as a decoration.  The meals that have garnish often have a lot of onions and garlic–thus needing a breath freshener afterward.  If you chew on a parsley’s sprigs, it releases breath-freshening oils. 

3)  Crisp and fresh foods like apples, firm pears, carrots, jicama are all high in fiber, plus chewing bumps up the productive of saliva (functions like a scrubbing rinse inside the oral cavity). 

4) Crunchy spices like anise, coriander, cardamom, and fennel seeds are available in many grocery stores.  Try getting these spices, mixing equal parts together in a covered bowl, and keep them around for mealtime.  If you chew on a few seeds here and there, enough oil should be released to freshen your breath after eating.  They taste good, as well.

5)  Mint sprigs/cinnamon sticks (cinnamon/mint gum, etc.)- These especially help against onion and garlic.  Cinnamon, with its essential oils, also helps kill various types of oral bacteria.  Gum without sugar is less likely to cause cavities and fuel the bad breath-causing bacteria. 

6) Berries/yogurt- Eat these foods to prevent bad breath…if you eat half of one cup of plain and sugarless yogurt twice a day, this can lower the levels of hydrogen sulfide in your mouth.  The same goes with berries, melons, oranges, and other foods high in Vitamin C- they help kill smelly bacteria in the oral cavity.  Try having a cup of fruit with yogurt twice a day, and this should help get rid of the bad breath.

Last but not least, practice good oral care, and this will decrease your “Real Age” as much as 6.4 years!

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