National Dental Hygiene Month

October 2nd, 2009

dental hygiene There are different causes celebrated in October, and one of them is National Dental Hygiene Month. This month, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, public awareness will be increased so people will know the relationship between oral health and their overall health. This is also a good time to educate families on issues affecting their oral health. ADHA emphasizes the important of maintaining proper oral hygiene, starting early every day, in order to prevent gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.

Every week in October will be designated to a different aspect of oral hygiene, everything from dental hygienists to community service.

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Prevent Bad Breath

October 2nd, 2009

Prevent bad breath today by listening to Dr. Katz’ instructions on ABC News about the cures.

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Gum Stimulators

October 1st, 2009

gum stimulator

In order to practice proper oral hygiene, you need to do more than just brush your teeth 2-3 times/day.  If you use a gum stimulator, you help rid yourself of unwanted plaque and help to keep your gums healthy.  Gum stimulators are usually long plastic or metal tools that have a soft rubber tip at the end.  The rubber tip allows one to clean and exercise his or her gums. 

Here’s the step-by-step process of using a gum stimulator:

  • Point the gum stimulator at a 45-degree angle towards your gums.
  • On each tooth, run the tip of the gum stimulator in a circle for 10 seconds.  If you have some serious plaque to remove, start with the front of your back teeth and work forward along the gum line.  Also do this to the back side of the teeth. 
  • Stimulating your gums helps both the blood circulation and plaque removal.  Do this by moving the rubber tip back and forth along the gum line.
  • During this process, rinse out your mouth periodically to help dislodge the plaque.  Use the gum stimulator between the teeth to help remove any particles of food.  Try using the stimulator once daily at least.
  • If you have bleeding gums, dip your stimulator in a solution that is one part water to two parts hydrogen peroxide.  When you’re using your gum stimulator, dip it often into this solution.
  • Replace the gum stimulator every 2-3 months.

You can also buy extra soft rubber tips for the stimulator, depending on how sensitive your gums are.  Try using it after you brush your teeth.  Keep in mind that using these tools also helps prevent bad breath!

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Anorexia, Your Diet, and Bad Breath

September 29th, 2009

breakfast

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?

September 28th, 2009

candy

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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