Bad breath (halitosis) can be an embarrassing and unpleasant condition. Many of us may be unaware that we have bad breath, but everyone does, especially in the morning.
There are several causes of bad breath, but the most common cause in healthy people is microbial deposits on the tongue, particularly the back of the tongue. According to some studies, simply brushing the tongue can reduce bad breath by up to 70%.
Morning time – When we sleep, the production of saliva significantly decreases, leading to a reduction in its natural cleansing action. This reduction creates an environment where bacteria can flourish, resulting in unpleasant breath. Certain foods – Foods such as garlic and onions contain compounds that produce odors. These compounds enter the bloodstream and are eventually exhaled through the lungs, leading to bad breath.
Poor oral hygiene habits – Failure to properly clean the mouth allows food particles to remain, providing a breeding ground for bacteria. This can contribute to bad breath.
Periodontal (gum) disease – Gum disease can cause inflammation and create pockets where bacteria and food debris accumulate. These colonies of bacteria can give rise to unpleasant breath.
Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances – Cavities in the teeth and ill-fitting dental appliances can also contribute to bad breath as they provide places for bacteria to grow.
Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – Dry mouth can occur due to certain medications, problems with salivary glands, or habitual mouth breathing. A lack of saliva can lead to bad breath.
Tobacco products – The use of tobacco products dries out the mouth, contributing to the development of bad breath.
Dieting – During the process of burning fat, the body releases specific chemicals called ketones. Some of these ketones can be detected in the breath, leading to bad breath.
Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals – When we are dehydrated, hungry, or skip meals, our saliva flow decreases. To combat bad breath, it is important to drink water and chew food, as these actions increase saliva flow and wash away bacteria.
Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Several medical conditions such as diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia can contribute to bad breath. Keeping a record of the foods you eat may help identify the specific cause of your bad breath. It is also important to inform your dentist about any medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses you have experienced.
In order to maintain optimal oral health, it is essential to adhere to a thorough oral hygiene routine. This entails brushing your teeth at least twice daily using an ADA approved toothpaste and toothbrush that contains fluoride. Additionally, it is important to floss every day to effectively eliminate any food remnants or plaque located between the teeth and beneath the gumline. To ensure comprehensive cleanliness, it is recommended to utilize a tongue scraper or brush to clean the tongue and access hard-to-reach areas at the back of the mouth. Moreover, it is advisable to replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months to maintain its effectiveness.
For individuals who wear dentures or removable bridges, it is essential to meticulously clean them and reinsert them into the mouth each morning. Regular dental visits are crucial for proper oral care. It is highly recommended to have check-ups and professional cleanings performed at least twice a year. If you have experienced or currently have periodontal disease, your dentist may suggest more frequent visits to address the condition effectively.
Smoking or chewing tobacco has detrimental effects on oral health. To break this habit, it is advisable to consult your dentist for personalized recommendations and assistance. Furthermore, staying hydrated by drinking water frequently not only helps to keep the mouth moist but also aids in rinsing away bacteria.
While certain over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses may temporarily mask unpleasant mouth odor, it is recommended to consult your dentist regarding antiseptic rinses that not only combat bad breath but also eradicate the underlying germs
Regular brushing and flossing are vital in managing the buildup of plaque and bacteria, which are the primary culprits behind dental diseases. Plaque, a combination of food remnants, bacteria, and saliva, adheres to the teeth and gums. Within this plaque, bacteria convert certain food particles into acids that contribute to tooth decay. Failure to remove plaque allows it to transform into calculus or tartar. If left untreated, plaque and calculus can ravage the gums and bone, leading to periodontal or gum disease. The formation and growth of plaque are continuous processes that can only be managed through consistent brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental tools.
Toothbrushing is a significant aspect of oral hygiene. It is recommended to brush your teeth at least twice a day, particularly before going to bed at night. Ensure you utilize an ADA approved soft bristle brush along with toothpaste. Brush at a 45-degree angle to the gums, gently using small circular motions, ensuring that the bristles always make contact with the gums. Thoroughly brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth. Additionally, employ the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth. Brushing your tongue is also beneficial as it helps eliminate bacteria and freshens your breath. Electric toothbrushes are highly recommended due to their ease of use and efficient plaque removal. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth, allowing the brush to work its magic on several teeth at a time.
Flossing is another crucial aspect of oral care that should be done on a daily basis. It is the most effective way to clean the spaces between your teeth and beneath the gumline. Flossing not only aids in cleaning these areas but also disrupts the buildup of plaque colonies, thereby preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone. Begin by taking 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrapping it around your middle fingers, leaving approximately 2 inches (5cm) of floss between your hands. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert it between each tooth using a sawing motion. Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth, reaching under the gumline. Delicately move the floss up and down, effectively cleaning the sides of each tooth.
Throughout the years, there has been concern regarding the safety of silver fillings, also known as amalgam. Amalgam is a mixture of copper, silver, tin, and zinc, held together by elemental mercury. Dentists have been using this blend of metals to fill teeth for over a century. The controversy arises from claims suggesting that exposure to mercury vapor and tiny particles can lead to various health issues. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), a significant 76% of dentists utilize silver fillings containing mercury. The ADA asserts that silver fillings are safe, supported by studies that have found no connection between these fillings and any medical disorders related to mercury. The prevailing consensus is that amalgam fillings are secure. Moreover, organizations such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and others endorse the use of silver fillings due to their safety, durability, and cost-effectiveness.
The U.S. Public Health Service advises against using silver fillings solely in cases where a patient has an allergy to any component of this particular filling type. Reported incidents of allergies to silver filling components have been scarce, with the ADA documenting fewer than 100 cases amidst the countless millions of silver fillings used over the decades. Research indicates that patients with silver fillings face no measurable health risks. However, it is important to note that mercury is a toxic substance when exposed to high and unsafe levels. For instance, we have been cautioned to limit the consumption of certain fish types due to their high mercury content. Nevertheless, the ADA maintains that when mercury combines with the other filling components, it becomes an inactive and safe substance.
Besides silver fillings, there exist several alternatives such as composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. It is advisable to consult with your dentist to discuss these options and determine the best choice for you.
The purpose of monitoring is to assist in the detection, prevention, and maintenance of your dental well-being. Our procedures encompass the following:
1. Comprehensive review of your medical history: By understanding any existing medical conditions, recent medication intake, and illnesses, we gain valuable insights into your overall health, including dental health.
2. Examination of diagnostic x-rays (radiographs): These x-rays are crucial for identifying tooth decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. They also help determine the positioning of teeth and roots.
3. Oral cancer screening: Thoroughly examining your face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums allows us to detect any indications of oral cancer.
4. Evaluation of gum disease: The gums and bones surrounding your teeth are closely assessed to identify any signs of periodontal disease.
5. Analysis of tooth decay: Every tooth surface is meticulously examined for decay using specialized dental instruments.
6. Assessment of existing dental restorations: Current fillings, crowns, and other restorations are inspected to ensure their durability and effectiveness.
7. Removal of calculus (tartar): Calculus refers to hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for an extended period, firmly adhering to its surface. It can be found above and below the gum line and requires special dental instruments for removal.
8. Removal of plaque: Plaque is an almost invisible, sticky film that develops on the teeth. It consists of a colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva.
Through our comprehensive monitoring procedures, we aim to promote and maintain your dental health by detecting any potential issues and taking appropriate preventive measures.
Four out of every five individuals suffer from periodontal disease without even realizing it. The lack of awareness stems from the fact that this condition is typically painless during its initial stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often triggers discomfort, periodontal disease can exist without any discernible symptoms. Consequently, it is essential to prioritize regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations to identify any existing problems. Periodontal disease initiates when a sticky, colorless film known as plaque accumulates on the teeth and gums. This film consists of bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria within the plaque produce harmful toxins, or acids, resulting in gum inflammation and gradual deterioration of the underlying bone structures. By following a consistent and proper oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing, plaque can be effectively removed, preventing any further damage.
In addition to inadequate oral hygiene, there are various other risk factors that can contribute to the development of periodontal disease. These include smoking or chewing tobacco, as tobacco users are more prone to plaque and tartar formation. Certain conditions such as ill-fitting dental bridges, overcrowding of teeth, or faulty fillings that trap plaque and bacteria can also heighten the risk. Moreover, certain medications, such as steroids, cancer therapy drugs, certain blood pressure medications, and oral contraceptives can reduce saliva production, leading to dry mouth conditions that facilitate plaque adherence. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, while using oral contraceptives, or during puberty can make gum tissue more susceptible to bacterial toxins. Additionally, systemic diseases like diabetes, blood cell disorders, and HIV/AIDS can contribute to the onset of periodontal disease. There may also be a genetic predisposition, with some individuals being more susceptible to a severe form of periodontitis. Those with a family history of tooth loss should be particularly vigilant about their gum health.
Brushing our teeth effectively eliminates leftover food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, with the exception of the spaces between our teeth. Regrettably, these interdental areas, which are highly vulnerable to decay and gum disease, remain unreachable by our toothbrush. The most effective method for cleansing between our teeth and beneath the gumline is daily flossing. Flossing not only aids in the removal of debris from these spaces, but it also disrupts the formation of plaque colonies, safeguarding the health of our gums, teeth, and supporting bone. Plaque, an almost imperceptible sticky film, accumulates on our teeth. It consists of a thriving community of living bacteria, remnants of food, and saliva. The bacteria release harmful toxins (acids) that contribute to tooth decay while also inflaming and irritating the gums. Moreover, when plaque is not eradicated from above and below the gumline, it solidifies and transforms into calculus (tartar), further exacerbating gum inflammation and gradually deteriorating the underlying bone. This marks the onset of periodontal disease.