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I have bad breath; how can I get rid of it?
Halitosis is one of the most common, yet treatable, dental conditions that can lead to some embarrassing situations. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious when we have bad breath, and sometimes, we don’t even know when our breath smells a bit sour. Everyone gets bad breath from time to time, especially in the mornings. Luckily, there are ways to prevent it.
The primary source of bad breath is microbial deposits on the back of the tongue, but other factors like dehydration, the time of day (especially the morning), and gum disease can all cause bad breath. Despite this, some studies indicate that simply adding the tongue to your brushing routine can reduce the prevalence of halitosis by up to 70 percent.
What are some preventative measures that will help me get rid of my bad breath before it happens?
Brushing the tongue, especially in the back, is a great way to prevent bad breath. Additionally, if you avoid certain foods like the primary offenders like garlic and onions, you’ll find that your breath will be fresher. Additionally, you need to practice good oral hygiene habits so that plague can’t form around your teeth and gums.
What are some of the causes of bad breath?
There are a plethora of reasons that people might have bad breath. Plaque and microbial buildup in the mouth are some of the leading reasons, but conditions like periodontitis and poor oral hygiene are also some halitosis-related culprits. Here are a few other potential causes:
- Poor oral hygiene – Poor oral hygiene is one of the leading causes of bad breath. Food particles draw bacterial growth, and when this happens, your breath will worsen.
- Dental cavities – Anywhere bacteria can propagate and grow can be a potential source of bad breath. If you have a dental cavity, it’s important to get it taken care of quickly.
- Dental appliances that aren’t fitted right – These can contribute to bad breath, especially when the tooth surface is hard to practice good dental hygiene on.
- Odor-causing foods – We all know that foods like onions and garlic are the no-no foods for good breath, but did you know that the source of these smells primarily comes from the lungs? When you eat foods like these, their smell-causing compounds enter the blood stream and are eventually exhaled.
- Tobacco and Coffee – Both of these products can cause bad breath because both dry out the mouth and can cause dehydration, which prevents saliva flushing.
- Ketones caused by dieting – If you’re on a ketogenic or another type of diet, then your breath may smell worse as a result. Ketones are produced when you’re dieting, which is a bodily chemical that is produced as you burn fat that can make the breath smell sour.
- Dehydration and missed meals – When your tongue and mouth isn’t flushing out bacteria so that they can’t grow in your mouth, they flourish. This is why it’s a great idea to frequently drink water throughout the day and chew sugar-free gum so that your saliva flow is maintained and bacteria is washed away.
- Medical conditions – Conditions like diabetes, sinus infections, bronchitis, liver and kidney problems, and even pneumonia can all lead to halitosis.
- Morning time – Everyone knows about morning breath, but why is our breath so bad in the morning? Well, during the night saliva flow almost comes to a standstill, which lets bacteria colonies flourish during our sleep time. These bacteria can cause foul-smelling breath.
It’s always a good idea to keep a good record of what you eat so that you can get an idea about what kinds of foods lead to bad breath. Keeping tabs on your medication, illnesses, and recent surgeries is also a good idea.
What are the best dental practices to avoid bad breath?
If you want to maintain optimal dental hygiene and avoid bad breath, then you should at least do these things daily:
- Brush twice a day or more – Always use an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. These are designed to clean your teeth and help you avoid increased of bacterial growth.
- Floss daily – Brushing alone doesn’t remove all of the food debris and plaque. Flossing can definitely reduce this material, so floss regularly.
- Brush your tongue – Much of the reason for bad breath originates on the tongue, especially the back, so always remember to brush your tongue.
- Maintain your dental appliances – if you wear dental appliances like dentures or removable bridges, then clean them thoroughly and take them out at night to be worn again in the morning.
- Water is good for your breath – Drink water often because it helps flush out the bacteria that can cause bad breath. It also keeps your mouth moist.
- Use mouthwash and oral rinses – Your dentist will tell you that the right kinds of mouthwashes and oral rinses can actually kill the bacteria that cause bad breath. Avoid the products that only provide a temporary solution to halitosis.
Past the daily routine, then you should also:
- Replace your toothbrush regularly – You should at least change your toothbrush every two to three months.
- Quit using tobacco products – Tobacco products simply aren’t friendly to your smile. They stain your teeth and sour your breath. If you have more questions, talk to us at Adams Family Dentistry.
- See your dentist often – There are several great Los Angeles dentist offices like Adams Family Dentistry that can help you avoid bad breath. Call in for a checkup and cleaning two times a year. Those that have periodontal disease will need to come more often.
Sometimes, you’ll definitely need to seek a dentist’s help to help fix halitosis. When you have a healthy mouth, but you still have bad breath, then you may need to seek out a physician’s help. If this is the case, your dentist will help you determine the cause of the odor.
How important is it that I brush and floss every day?
You’ll definitely need to do these often if you want to maintain healthy oral hygiene. In fact, practicing good brushing and flossing habits are important when you are trying to prevent the spread of the bacteria and plaque that are the cause of many dental diseases.
- Brushing – You’ll need to brush your teeth twice daily. One of the most important brushing times is before you go to bed at night because this type of brushing can help reduce the effect of bacteria formation during your sleeping hours. Always:
- Brush with an ADA-approved soft-bristle brush.
- Brush with ADA-approved toothpaste.
- Remember to brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums. When brushing, you want to also brush in small circles; you should always feel the bristles on the surfaces of your gums.
- Ensure that you get full coverage. This means that you need to brush the inner, outer, and tops of your teeth.
- Brush along the inside of your front teeth.
- Remember to brush your tongue to help remove bacterial deposits that form there.
- Electric toothbrushes are also great tools for brushing. They do a great job of breaking down plaque deposits that form along the gum line. They also tend to be more efficient than standard brushes. Just place the electric brush on the tooth and allow it to do its job.
- Flossing – Many people forget to floss, but it’s the best way to get to the surfaces of your teeth that brushing can miss. It can also get under the gum line where bacteria can grow and cause cavities. You should floss more than once a day in order to maintain healthy oral hygiene. Always remember to:
- Use at least 12 inches of floss. Simply, wrap it around your middle fingers while leaving two inches of floss between your hands.
- Insert the floss between your teeth while using a sawing motion to clear away plaque; you can use your thumb and forefinger for this.
- Form a “C” with the floss so that you can cover a larger physical area of the tooth that you are cleaning. Moving up and down is also important.
If you have trouble with conventional floss, floss holder also can be used in order to thoroughly clean your teeth.
Why is flossing so important?
Flossing is an often overlooked form of daily oral hygiene. It’s important lies in the one weakness of brushing; brushing doesn’t do the best job at getting the plaque and bacteria that can form between the teeth and on the inner gum line. Flossing hits both of these areas so that you can have a healthier mouth.
Is it important that I rinse?
Naturally flushing your mouth is important to the health of your breath and your overall oral hygiene. After you brush, always rinse your mouth out. You can also use an over-the-counter rinsing product, but it’s best if these types of products have the capacity to kill oral bacteria as well. Consult your dentist at Adams Family Dentistry so that you can find out which type of rinse is best for you.
How often should I come into the dentist office for cleanings and exams?
Dependent on your oral health, you’ll need to come into your dentist or dental hygienist’s office at least twice a year. Those that have periodontal disease or other dental conditions will have to come in more often.
These dental appointments are very crucial because your dentist can provide the dental exams and cleanings that you need to have optimal oral health. These visits are the best way to check your teeth for cavities and disease, monitor your gum line for excess plaque and bacterial growth, and prevent any other dental issue from taking hold in your mouth.
Some other dental processes that can be provided at Los Angeles dentist offices like Adams Family Dentistry are:
- Diagnostic x-rays and examinations – Also called radiographs, these are very important in the detection of tumors, advanced decay, cysts, or bone loss. These can also be used to ascertain the positions of your roots and your teeth.
- Reviewing your medical history – A dentist will keep track of any new conditions that can affect your dental treatments. This includes current medical conditions, illnesses, new medications that affect your dental health, and overall health issues that can cause dental problems.
- Screening for conditions like oral cancer – Oral cancer is very serious. Your dentist can check the face, lips, tongue, neck, throat, soft tissues, and gums for any sign that you are developing oral cancer.
- Evaluation for gum disease – Your dentist will check your gums and bones around the teeth to ascertain if periodontal disease is present.
- Evaluation for tooth decay – Your dentist will check your tooth surfaces with special implements to ascertain if tooth decay is present.
- Evaluation of existing restorations – your dentist will check your crowns, fillings, and any other restorations that you may have.
- Tartar removal – Also called calculus removal, your dentist will remove this hardened plaque buildup from the tooth surface. This material primarily forms underneath the gum line and will have to be scraped away with dental implements.
- Recommendations for oral hygiene – Your dentist will always consult you about what needs to be done in order to maintain good oral hygiene. This means that your dentist will review what types of tools you should be using, how often you should be brushing and flossing, and what the best rinses to use for your teeth are.
- Tooth polishing – Sometimes, brushing alone won’t remove tough tooth stains. In this situation, your dentist can help remove both stains and plaque.
- Dietary consulting – Eating habits greatly contribute to overall oral health. Your dentist can consult with you so that you know which foods can play an adverse role for your teeth.
What are the signs of major dental conditions like periodontitis and gingivitis?
Periodontal disease is very prevalent. In fact, would you believe that four out of five people have it and don’t know it? This is because periodontal disease is painless in its earliest stages. As a result, you may have relatively advanced periodontal disease and not experience any symptoms, unlike tooth decay. This is why regular dental checkups are crucial so that you can get ahead of any periodontal issues that crop up.
So, how does it begin? Periodontal disease starts with plaque. Plaque is a sticky and colorless film that is a mixture of bacteria, saliva, and food debris. This material is left on the teeth and gums and since it has acids in it that are left by the food and bacteria, the surfaces of your teeth, gums, and bone can gradually be gradually destroyed. This is why regular brushing and flossing is important; they ensure that plaque isn’t left behind on the surface of the teeth to damage them.
Here are some other factors that can cause periodontal disease:
- Tobacco products – smoking and other tobacco products can increase the amount of oral plaque and calculus formation.
- Defective or improperly placed tooth appliances – Things like bridges that don’t fit as well as they used to or defective fillings can trap plaque and bacteria and provide room for them to grow and do damage.
- Crowded teeth – Crowded teeth can also provide unique opportunities for plaque to form and bacteria to grow.
- Some medications – As a result of some drug side effects, bacteria can benefit. These include effects like reduced saliva and a dryer mouth.
- Pregnancy, puberty, or contraceptives – Hormones can cause your gums to become more sensitive, making them more vulnerable to plaque growth and damage by bacterial acids.
- Systemic diseases – diseases that weaken the immune response like HIV/AIDS and diabetes can also increase your chances of periodontal disease.
- Genetics and family history – It’s possible to be predisposed to periodontal disease as a result of genetics and family history. If you have family with this disease, you should pay close attention to gum health.
Here is what to look for if you suspect that you have periodontal disease:
- Red, irritated, or puffy gums – your gums should never look swollen or red.
- Gums that bleed – Your gums shouldn’t bleed when you brush or use dental floss.
- Halitosis or bad breath – This can indicate that there are excess bacteria in your mouth causing periodontal disease.
- Spacing between the teeth – When this suddenly starts to occur, it’s an indication that there has been bone loss.
- Teeth that are looser – This is a telltale indication that there has been some bone loss.
- Receding gums – Your gum line shouldn’t recede. This is an indication that your gums are being damaged.
- Tender or painful gums and teeth – Tartar, plaque, and bacteria all can cause irritation and sensitivity.
I want to boost the quality of my smile. How can cosmetic dentistry help?
Our smiles are important to our self-confidence, our social interactions, and our overall health. If you find that you’ve become more self-conscious about your smile, cosmetic dentistry can definitely help restore your confidence.
Recently, there have been a wide variety of important improvements in the field of cosmetic dentistry that has made it more popular. These include better materials for procedures and an overall improvement in the procedures that make them more efficient. Additionally, patients have an improved commitment to maintaining their overall health than in previous generations, which means that they want better smiles that are whiter and more radiant.
What are some cosmetic dentistry procedures that will make my smile more beautiful?
There are several great procedures that can greatly improve your smile. Let’s take a look at a few:
- Porcelain Veneers: In life, sometimes teeth get chipped, become stained, or are otherwise damaged. This can affect the look and shape of our teeth. With porcelain veneers, a porcelain cover is applied to the tooth and is adhered there. As a result, the tooth will look more symmetrical, whitened, and have a more balanced size.
- Teeth Whitening: The teeth can become stained as a result of diet, smoking, or medication. One of the ways to restore the shine and brightness to teeth is through teeth whitening. Professional tooth whitening is typically done using bleaching that lightens the teeth, but the degree of effectiveness depends on the level of staining.
- Porcelain Crowns or Caps: Sometimes, some teeth cannot be fully restored. When this happens, crowns are a great solution. These are tooth-colored coverings that are custom made for your mouth so that you can have a restored smile. If you have large fractured or broken fillings or your tooth is very decayed, this is a great option.
- Dental Implants: These are artificial roots that can be placed inside your jaw surgically. These new implants replace missing teeth so that your mouth can regain its lost symmetry. Dentures, crowns, and bridges can be made to custom-fit your implants as well.
- Orthodontics: These include braces, solutions like Invisalign, and brackets that can help restore the symmetry of a smile. Today, orthodontic solutions are much less visible, which makes them a great option for adult patients.
Are amalgam, or silver, fillings safe?
Recently, some patients have expressed concerns over the usage of amalgam fillings because of the presence of certain materials like mercury. This concern is because of a belief that the mercury is thought to potentially expose patients to a vapor that can be detrimental to the patient’s health. According to the ADA, silver fillings are safe, and there is no actual link between the mercury used in the filling and any medical issue.
In addition to the ADA, the CDC, the World Health Organization, and the FDA all support the findings that silver fillings are safe for use in dental procedures. That being said, mercury is indeed a toxic material that can cause medical issues at high levels. Fortunately, according to the FDA, when the mercury in silver fillings combines with the other filling components, it is rendered safe.
How do porcelain veneers work?
Veneers are a great way to improve the look of your smile. Sometimes, as we age and go through life, our teeth become damaged, stained, and lose their shaping. Porcelain veneers are tooth-shaped covers that are crafted to cover these perfections and fit your smile perfectly. They are very durable and won’t stain so that you can smile confidently again.
The conditions that porcelain veneers can correct are:
- Stained and discolored teeth that bleaching cannot fix
- Unevenly spaced teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Teeth that have become misshapen
- Baby teeth or teeth that are too large
Veneers are relatively easy to get and usually require just two visits. First, you’ll need to have a mold taken of your teeth. This mold is then sent to a lab so that custom-made veneers can be crafted for your particular smile. Shape and color are both considered at this stage.
Next, you come in and the dentist at Adams Family Dentistry will prepare your teeth by buffing and shaping your teeth to allow for the porcelain veneers. This is oftentimes done with a need for no anesthesia. Then, the veneers are carefully bonded to your teeth with durable cement. Finally, a specialized light may be used to set and harden the bond.
I drink a lot of coffee and now my teeth are yellowed. What can I do to make my teeth look white again?
Tooth staining can happen to anyone. Fortunately, there are quite a few procedures that can reverse this damage. Not only does coffee cause tooth staining, but there are other causes as well. These include:
- Drinking tea
- Drinking red wine
- Using tobacco products
- Drinking soft drinks
- Tetracycline use as a child
Tooth whitening has become a very popular way to improve the overall beauty of our smiles; and as a result, there are many options available.
Modern professional whitening is very simple. Your dentist will use a non-invasive treatment that will alter the color of the natural tooth enamel so that it becomes whiter. While you can see a change with over-the-counter options, it’s almost always better to get whitening done professionally. That being said, tooth whitening solutions include:
Home teeth whitening systems: Using a mouthguard that is created from a mold of your teeth, you apply a bleaching gel to your teeth. You wear this tray two times a day for half an hour or overnight while you sleep. This is a long-term solution that will take several weeks to reduce the staining on your teeth.
In-office teeth whitening systems: This is a more immediate solution, though you may need more than one visit for this option. During your 30 to 60 minute visit, your gums are protected and a bleaching solution is applied directly to the surface of your teeth. Using a special ultraviolet light, the solution is activated and the teeth are whitened. After the procedure, your teeth may be somewhat sensitive. Fortunately, this goes away within a few days after the bleaching process.