Archive for September, 2010

Dealing with Bad Breath

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Though not considered life threatening, bad breath, or halitosis, can certainly have a dramatic impact on your life. Some people develop occasional bad breath when they eat foods like onions and garlic, or because of a head cold. In these cases, the problem usually resolves itself in a short time period. Unfortunately, bad breath can also be a chronic condition.

Usually, bad breath is caused by the food trapped in our mouths, which forms the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. These anaerobic bacteria give off waste products known as volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), the actual cause of the offending odors. The tongue is the most common location for the bacteria, although they can reside anywhere in the mouth.

Certain conditions, as well as lifestyle choices, can increase the odds of developing bad breath. Excessive smoking and drinking can produce halitosis. Allergies, dry mouth, diabetes, and dentures can also lead to bad breath issues. Another big contributor to halitosis is poor oral health, which includes problems such as gum disease, abscessed teeth, and decay.

Treating chronic halitosis involves addressing the root problem, not covering it up with mouthwash or mints. In fact, these solutions can actually exacerbate the problem by drying out your mouth. Follow these tips to help control bad breath:

  • Avoid odor causing foods
  • Brush and floss regularly to eliminate plaque
  • Chew sugarless gum, which increases saliva
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Make sure to brush your tongue
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Schedule regular checkups and cleanings

Brown, Reynolds & Snow Dentistry – Richmond Cosmetic Dentist

A Touchy Issue: What to Do about Sensitive Teeth

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Do you wince when you take a bite of something hot, cold, or sweet? If so, you may be one of the millions of Americans experiencing sensitive teeth. This issue can impact your quality of life, causing you to limit the foods and beverages you enjoy.

Sensitivity in teeth occurs when dentin, the middle layer, is exposed. Usually, your gums cover the dentin, which contain tiny tubules that house the nerve branches leading to the nerve center of the tooth. If the dentin is uncovered, your tooth, or teeth, becomes sensitive.

Several factors can bring about tooth sensitivity, including:

  • A worn out filling
  • Cavities that need treatment
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Improper brushing that can wear down the enamel
  • Poor oral home care, which allows tartar build up
  • Receding gums
  • Whitening your teeth

Sometimes, people experience pulpal sensitivity, which generally affects a single tooth and occurs because of damage to the pulp, or nerve center. Because the symptoms can be similar to general tooth sensitivity, your dentist will need to examine your teeth and possibly get an X-ray to determine if you have any decay.

For general sensitivity, you can take several steps at home, including gently brushing teeth, using a soft brush, selecting fluoride toothpaste, and getting treatment for teeth grinding. Your dentist may also recommend toothpaste specifically designed to lessen sensitivity in teeth. Treatment for pulpal sensitivity usually involves removal of decay and/or root canal therapy.

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