What does your breath say about your health? You may be experiencing something simple, like the after effects of a garlicky meal, or morning breath, but sometimes it doesn’t stop there. Chronic bad breath can be a symptom of tooth decay or other serious health issues.
Your diet plays a large part in what happens to your breath and your teeth. Diets that are high in protein and dairy can cause an overgrowth in foul-smelling bacteria due to excessive amino acids. Even if you clean the bacteria from your teeth, the bacteria can affect your breath.
Breathing through the mouth when you sleep can obstruct saliva production and cause bacteria growth. Those who suffer from snoring, or sleep apnea may be at risk for halitosis because the nasal pathways are obstructed. You will want to seek a solution to open your airways when sleeping to keep that morning breath from becoming chronic halitosis.
Medical issues such as lung cancer, kidney disease, ulcers and acid reflux can also cause the growth of foul smelling bacteria. You will want to visit a doctor to resolve medical issues, as bad breath can be a symptom of a much larger problem. Mouthwash and oral hygiene products will not treat the source of bad breath in this instance and failing to seek professional help can be very dangerous.
No matter the cause, you want to maintain all oral hygiene regimens to prevent any other issues from adding to the problem. If you suffer from bad breath and your daily cleaning routine only helps to temporarily mask the problem, visit your dentist and/or doctor to find the cause. You can never be too sure when it comes to your health!
Indications of Tooth Decay
In order to spot a problem, you must first know what to look for! Tooth decay is a common occurrence in children and adults. It’s caused by plaque forming on your teeth, staying on your teeth and eventually, breaking them down.
Plaque will begin to form if you don’t properly clean your teeth to rid them of starches and sugars. If these substances are left on your teeth, bacteria will begin to grow and form plaque. At this time, you can still clean your teeth with the right products to break down and remove plaque. If you don’t remove the plaque, however, it can harden into something called tartar. This will make the plaque even harder to remove.
If the plaque is not removed, it will continue to cause damage. The acid in plaque erodes and makes holes in the enamel that protects your teeth. These tiny holes are known as cavities. The bacteria can reach through cavities to the next layer of your teeth and cause sensitivity.
If your teeth feel sensitive, this will be a big indicator of a cavity or early sign of tooth decay. You should go to your dentist to see what the cause of the sensitivity is. If left untreated, the bacteria will march on, to the inner tooth material that contains your nerves and blood vessels. This can cause even more pain, as swelling develops and expands within and even outside of the tooth.
Be aware of the food you eat and be sure to properly clean your teeth to stop plaque from forming. If you remove the starches and sugars before they turn to plaque, you will not have to worry about all the troubles that it can cause down the line.
Don’t forget to visit your dentist for a professional cleaning once a year! Some dentists will even recommend that you get a cleaning twice a year to help keep your teeth healthy and plaque free!
Holiday Treats and Happy Teeth!
The holidays are still in full swing! Tis the season for hot cocoa, candy canes and sweet, decadent holiday pastries! While many indulge and worry about the effect these goodies have on our waistline, we forget about the effect our sugary treats have on our teeth.
If you eat solid sugars like pies, cakes and cookies; it’s a good idea to brush afterwards. Chewing foods laden with sugar can leave larger-than-normal amounts of sugar residue on your teeth. You also should remember that liquid treats, such as cocoa, egg nog and carbonated drinks also contain sugar. Sugar consumed in a liquid form can reach every nook and cranny of your mouth and will require a more thorough cleaning.
Your saliva will not wash away sugar residue, so bacteria will begin to eat away at your enamel. Over time, sugar can break down the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities and erosion. In cases of severe erosion, you may even experience extreme changes in your bite, a significant reduction in the size of your back teeth and even tooth loss!
Be sure to follow your daily brushing and flossing routine! If you have consumed a lot of sugar, it is a good idea to step it up a notch and clean your teeth after that sugary snack! In general, you can try and reduce the amount of sugar you eat and drink. You won’t want to cut back on your cleaning because a food label says that it is “low-sugar” or “sugar-free.” Many of these low-sugar or sugar-free products use artificial sweeteners. There are potential health risks associated with use of artificial sweeteners. Research shows they can still create an acidic environment in your mouth.
There are many pictures to take and memories to make this holiday season! Don’t let the magic of the holidays distract you from having a bright smile!
Tooth sensitivity is a relatively common condition. You may recognize it as a painful sensation that you get when your teeth are exposed to a hot, cold or acidic element.
In order to understand the cause of sensitivity, we should first discuss some of the layers that make up your teeth. Enamel protects the crowns of healthy teeth. Cementum protects the tooth at the gum line and dentin lies under the enamel and cementum. Dentin is the chief substance of the teeth. It contains tubules that directly access your nerves. Enamel can become thin and expose the dentin. Heat, cold, acidity and sweetness then stimulate these nerves and cause hypersensitivity.
Some causes of dentin exposure are: tooth decay, tooth grinding, gum recession, gum disease, brushing with an abrasive toothpaste or a chipped tooth. There are dental procedures, like teeth whitening, professional cleanings, orthodontics and even fillings can cause sensitivity.
Once you and your dentist find the cause of your sensitivity, you can begin to treat it. To help prevent enamel and gum recession, you can use a soft toothbrush and make sure you are brushing correctly (see Brushing Techniques). There are many toothpaste brands that are made for sensitive teeth that you would want to use when brushing.
When seeking help from a dental professional, they may apply fluoride varnish to the sensitive areas to help strengthen the tooth, prescribe a high fluoride toothpaste or even perform a dental restoration to build up lost enamel.