After tooth decay and gum disease, con¬cerns about bad breath is the most common reason people go to the dentist. There are many causes for bad breath, also called halitosis. Many of the germs that naturally grow in the mouth are capable of producing "volitile sulphur compounds" which is the odor we associate with bad breath. Evalu¬ating a patient's oral hygiene is the first step in addressing breath care concerns. Many times, daily flossing can eliminate the germs that cause halitosis. Obviously, decayed teeth harbor odor producing bacte¬ria. Repairing cavities is a big help. Recent studies have shown that a large number of odor producing germs grow on the back of the tongue. Tongue scraping is the best way to remove these germs. There are several devices available for tongue scraping. My favorite is a flexible plastic blade that can be bent into a "U"-shape and be placed far¬back on the tongue to remove that offending bacteria. It has been shown that scraping is much more effective than brushing the tongue.
With the start of the new year, many of
us reflect on ways that we can improve
ourselves. Some people resolve to lose
weight, Some promise to stop procrastinating.
These are great goals, but I would
like to suggest a simple change that can
yield tremendous results.
Most people do an adequate job brushing
their teeth, but it is surprising how
few people floss on a daily basis. Adding
this simple step to your normal oral
hygiene routine will have a dramatic impact
on the health of your teeth and gums.
Studies have shown that this type of bacteria
grows between our teeth and are
particularly harmful. Because these bacteria
are not removed by brushing, they
are able to form well organized colonies
that are capable of destroying the enamel
between your teeth. Also, these bacterial
colonies are the cause of the inflammation
and bone loss we see when patients
get gum disease.
Since 1993, April has been
declared National Youth Sports
Safety Month by the National
Youth Sports Safety Foundation.
This group has been in existence
since 1989, and it promotes techniques
and programs aimed at
reducing injuries in young people
participating in organized
sports. Dentists are very supportive
of this goal.
Sports injuries of the mouth
can have a profound effect on
the young athlete. Fractured
teeth can be hard to repair
because children are still growing.
Common procedures like
crowns and root canals may not
be appropriate or as effective
for children. Lost teeth may be
difficult to replace in children,
again because of the growth factor.
Prevention of oral injuries
is important for athletes of all
Spring is here. After a long,
cold winter we are all looking forward
to warmer days and all the
activities we've been planning
since autumn. The changing of
the seasons is a good way to
remember that it is time for a
new toothbrush. Believe it or not,
toothbrushes don't last forever.
After about three months, the
bristles begin to deteriorate and
lose their effectiveness. If you
brush hard and aggressively, you
may notice that the bristles on
your brush may appear crushed
and splayed out even sooner.
There is also the germ factor.
Toothbrushes are easily contaminated
and harbor a lot of bacteria.
Getting a new one periodically
makes sense from a basic
hygiene point of view.
There was a recent article in
the popular media that pointed
out a possible connection
between dental X-rays in expectant
moms and low birth-weight
babies. We are not sure if the Xrays
are responsible for low-birth
weight in the newborns. However,
there is some solid research
that show that pregnant women
who have periodontal disease
are more likely to deliver preterm
babies. It seems that the
inflammation that occurs with
gum disease has powerful and
widespread effects on the body.
Profound chemical changes in
the body in response to this
inflammation can actually alter
the course of a pregnancy. It is
very important that women who
plan on having a child go to their
dentist for a thorough exam and
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