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Good Breath Gone Bad!

October 20th, 2008

Bad breath can be a real downer, especially when you are out on a date with that girl or boy you’ve had a crush on all semester! However, bad breath can be prevented!

Bad breath, or as your doctor may call it “halitosis,” is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grows in your mouth. This bacteria gathers on bits of food in your mouth and between your teeth and release sulfur compounds making your breath smell. Some foods, like garlic and onions, may contribute more to bad breath because of oils the food releases, and smoking is also a major cause of bad breath.

There are several myths around bad breath. Here are some common myths and the truth behind it all:

Myth #1: Mouthwash will make my breath smell better

Mouthwash will make your breath smell better, but it is only a temporary fix. If you use mouthwash, just know that you will still need to brush and floss when you get the chance as mouthwash alone will not kill all of the bacteria producing germs in your mouth. When choosing a mouthwash, pick an antiseptic with plaque-reducing compounds. Also make sure any dental products you choose comes with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval!

Myth #2: I brush my teeth; I will never have bad breath

Brushing your teeth will save you from having breath, but the truth is most people only brush their teeth for about 30-45 seconds! You need to brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, twice a day to give your teeth a thorough cleansing. It’s also important to brush your tongue, which is where a majority of odor causing bacteria like to hang out. Lastly, flossing to remove food and plaque between the teeth will also help reduce your chances of having bad breath!

Myth #3: If I don’t smell it, then my breath is fresh

This is a false assumption in every sense of the word! The truth is that the breath you breathe out is not the same breath coming out when you talk to someone. When you breathe you are not using your throat as you do when you are talking; and when you talk more breath moves over the back of your mouth where bacteria is causing bad breath.

#1 TRUTH: Brush your teeth twice a day (for at least 2 minutes), floss at least once and visit your dentist every six months…this way your breath will always be fresh! Not letting your nerves get the best of you on your date? That’s up to you!

Understanding Cavities

October 13th, 2008

One word nobody wants to hear when they visit the dentist is Cavity! That’s right, the dreaded cavity; but what exactly is a cavity and how do they happen? A cavity is a hole that develops in a tooth when the tooth begins to decay. It’s important to get a cavity filled as soon as it’s detected so that it does not grow bigger.

So, what causes a cavity? A cavity is caused by plaque, a sticky substance that forms on the tooth as a result of germ and bacteria build-up. Plaque is acidic and as it clings to your teeth the acids eat away the outside of the tooth (also called the enamel) and a hole is formed.

Yes, cavities can be repaired by your dentist, but here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent cavities:

• Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily
• Gently brush your gums to keep them healthy (when choosing a toothbrush it is recommended to use soft bristles)
• Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque and food that may be caught between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach
• Limit the amount of soda and sugary treats you eat/drink
• Be sure to visit your dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning and check-up

$1.50 for a Cavity

October 6th, 2008

Vending machines are a quick way to satisfy hunger. You put in $1.50 and you get back a candy bar, bag of chips or even a soda…but that’s not all! Vending machines not only dispense sweet treats and caffeine bursts, but they also dispense cavities!

Every time you chow down on that chocolate bar the bacteria in your mouth have a party feasting on the sugar. The sugar quickly turns into acid; that’s right, ACID!!! The acid sits on your teeth and eats away at the tooth’s natural enamel (the stuff that protects your tooth from decay). When this enamel is eaten away by the acid on your tooth, you get a cavity! Brushing your teeth after eating a sugary treat can help prevent cavities; but before you indulge remind yourself: “can’t brush? Hold the sugar!”

When choosing a snack, consider these nutritional options that will not only satisfy your hunger and that “sweet tooth”, but won’t cause acid build up resulting in cavities:

• Fresh Fruits (berries, oranges, melon, pears, etc)
• Raw Vegetables (broccoli, celery, carrots, etc)
• Bread
• Pretzels (low salt)
• Milk (low or non-fat)
• Cheese (low or non-fat)
• Nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc)
• Sliced meat

Regular Checkups are Important

September 30th, 2008

Is your child brushing his/her teeth twice a day? If yes, that’s great; but, don’t forget that it’s also important for your child to visit the dentist every six months in addition to brushing their teeth a couple times a day. If your child will be visiting the dentist for the first time, it’s important to bring them in after their first tooth come through, and no later than their first birthday. Regular dental checkups are important for maintaining good oral health. Your dentist can:

• Check for problems that might not be seen or felt
• Detect cavities and early signs of decay
• Treat oral health problems early
• Show your child how to properly brush and floss their teeth

During an oral exam the doctor will check the health of your child’s mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks and tongue. Checkups will also include a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing. If your child has not been to the dentist in the last six months, it’s time for you to schedule an appointment!

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