H is for Halitosis

Halitosis, which is the scientific name for bad breath, happens to most all of us at one time or another. So what causes bad breath? Mostly it comes down to bad oral hygiene.

According to a recent article in Medical News Today, potential causes of bad breath can include the following:

  • Tobacco: Tobacco products cause their own types of mouth odor. Additionally, they increase the chances of gum disease which can also cause bad breath.
  • Food: The breakdown of food particles stuck in the teeth can cause odors. Some foods such as onions and garlic can also cause bad breath. After they are digested, their breakdown products are carried in the blood to the lungs where they can affect the breath.
  • Dry mouth: Saliva naturally cleans the mouth. If the mouth is naturally dry or dry due to a specific disease, such as xerostomia,  odors can build up.
  • Dental hygiene: Brushing and flossing ensure the removal of small particles of food that can build up and slowly break down, producing odor. A film of bacteria called plaque builds up if brushing is not regular. This plaque can irritate the gums and cause inflammation between the teeth and gums called periodontitis. Dentures that are not cleaned regularly or properly can also harbor bacteria that cause halitosis.
  • Crash diets: Fasting and low-carbohydrate eating programs can produce halitosis. This is due to the breakdown of fats producing chemicals called ketones. These ketones have a strong aroma.
  • Drugs: Certain medications can reduce saliva and, therefore, increase odors. Other drugs can produce odors as they breakdown and release chemicals in the breath. Examples include nitrates used to treat angina, some chemotherapy chemicals, and some tranquilizers. Individuals who take vitamin supplements in large doses can also be prone to bad breath.
  • Mouth, nose, and throat conditions: Sometimes, small, bacteria-covered stones can form on the tonsils at the back of the throat and produce odor. Also, infections or inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses can cause halitosis.
  • Foreign body: Bad breath can be caused if they have a foreign body lodged in their nasal cavity, especially in children.

What can you do to avoid bad breath?  Brush at least twice daily especially after a meal. Floss at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque left after brushing.  Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. Brush your tongue where bacteria and dead cells  can develop. Drink plenty of water to avoid dry mouth and avoid onion, garlic, spicy and sugary foods that are all linked with bad breath.

Above all, call our office at Brogdon Dental to set up an appoint for your annual cleaning and to discuss your concerns.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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One Reason for Dental Cleaning

There are many reasons to see your dentist for dental cleanings and its not just to keep your smile looking bright. One of those reasons could be your breath.

Some of the causes of bad breath include:

  • Food We Eat 
  • Infrequent Brushing and Flossing
  • Oral Diseases and Infections
  • Dry Mouth
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Medical Conditions

Some of the things you can do to prevent bad breath is to brush and floss at least two times a day, especially after a meal that contains foods that are known to cause bad breath. Also consider the use of a tongue scraper. Rinse thoroughly with water or mouthwash afterwards.

If your bad breath is caused by smoking, take steps to stop. This can also help combat periodontal disease. If you experience dry mouth, try sipping water throughout the day and during meals. Chew sugar-free gum or dissolve sugar-free candy in your mouth to help produce more saliva.

Gum, mints, mouthwashes and breath sprays are just temporary measures to mask your bad breath. Make sure that you call our office at Brogdon Dental to schedule an appointment for a complete examination of your teeth and gums and a thorough cleaning by our hygienist. We recommend you visit our office every six months for routine cleaning.

Medications and Cavities – Adults over 60

Are you over 60 and finding that you’re suddenly getting cavities when you haven’t had them in years? As we get older, many people start experiencing cavity prone years again. One common cause of cavities in older adults is dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. It’s a side-effect of many medications, including those prescribed for allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

According to the American Dental Association here are some recommendations for relief from dry mouth:

  • Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
  • Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
  • Drink more water. Carry a water bottle with you, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Your mouth needs constant lubrication.
  • Use sugar-free gum or lozenges to stimulate saliva production.
  • Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that irritate dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices.
  • Your dentist may apply a fluoride gel or varnish to protect your teeth from cavities.

It’s important to tell Dr. Brogdon about any medications that you’re taking. We can make recommendations to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms and in turn prevent cavities.

Dry Mouth?

Do you or someone you know suffer from dry mouth?  If so you might want to contact our office.

According to caring.com, there are many reasons for a dry mouth, some worse than others…

Many things can cause dry mouth, from dehydration and allergies to smoking and new medications. (In fact, hundreds of drugs list dry mouth as a side effect, including those to treat depression and incontinence, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety agents, and antihistamines.) But a lack of sufficient saliva is also an early warning of two autoimmune diseases unrelated to medicine use: Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes.

In Sjogren’s, the white blood cells of the body attack their moisture-producing glands, for unknown reasons. Four million Americans have Sjogren’s, 90 percent of them women. Twenty-four million people in the U.S. have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, a metabolic disease caused by high blood sugar.

What else to look for: Other signs of diabetes include excessive thirst, tingling in the hands and feet, frequent urination, blurred vision, and weight loss. In Sjogren’s, the eyes are dry as well as the mouth, but the entire body is affected by the disorder. Because its symptoms mimic other diseases (such as diabetes), people are often misdiagnosed and go several years before being properly diagnosed.

If you have any of these symptoms, call our office at Brogdon Dental. We can can check your mouth and see if you might be suffering from any of these problems.  Don’t put it off, call today.

Is too much Candy a Treat or a Trick?

With Halloween happening this evening, many children will be going through their neighborhoods, going door to door chanting the words, “Trick or Treat”. Of course, they expect a treat, but how good are these treats for their teeth and are there some candies better than others?

The real problem isn’t so much the amount of sugar, but the streptococcus bacteria in our mouths that  feed on it. When this bacteria feeds on the sugary tidbits lodged in your teeth, they excrete acids that eat away at your tooth enamel.  That’s why it’s important to brush your teeth after eating candy.

If you must eat candy, there are some better than others.

  • Sugar-free Lollipops and Hard Candies and Sugar Free Chewing Gum: These act in similar ways by stimulating saliva, which prevents dry mouth. A dry mouth allows plaque to build up on teeth faster, leading to an increased risk of cavities. Also chewing sugar free gum containing the artificial sweeteners sorbitol and xylitol reduces cavities.
  • Dark Chocolate: Even though there is a lot of sugar in chocolate, dark chocolate has been shown to have antioxidants, which are good for your heath.  Just remember to eat in moderation.

Bad candies to avoid include:

  • Snacks high in sugar such as cake, cookies and candy corn.
  • Chewy sticky sweets such as gummy bears, taffy and caramels that can get stuck between your teeth.
  • Sour candies. Candies high in acid can break down tooth enamel.

One good thing to remember is that saliva slowly helps to restore the natural balance of the acid in the mouth. After eating acidic foods, wait around 20 minutes before brushing to allow the natural acting saliva to do its thing, otherwise you might cause more damage by brushing acid onto tooth surfaces.

Candy can be a treat if you choose the right kind, and limit the bad ones.