Halitosis is sophisticated word for “bad breath”. Depending on the cause, bad breath may strike on occasion or be a persistent condition. The most common cause of bad breath is bacteria. Because the mouth is moist and warm, it creates perfect conditions for the millions of bacteria that live in the mouth. In fact, approximately 80% of bad breath is caused by something in the mouth.
Some types of bad breath, such as “morning mouth,” are considered fairly normal and are not usually health concerns. However, persistent bad breath may be a sign of more serious problems with the gums and teeth. Bad breath may be caused by the following:
- Poor dental hygiene – poor oral hygiene can leave food particles to decay in the mouth
- Infections in the mouth such as periodontal (gum) disease Respiratory-tract infections such as throat infections, sinus infections, lung infections
- External agents including foods such as garlic, onions, and coffee, as well as cigarettes and chewing tobacco Dry mouth caused by salivary gland problems or by breathing through the mouth
- Systemic illnesses such as diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, sinus disease, reflux disease and others
Call our office promptly if you have bad breath with painful, swollen gums that bleed easily or loose teeth. We will perform a physical examination of your mouth to determine the cause. If we discover that systematic problems are the cause, we may refer you to your family physician. In severe cases of gum disease, we may recommend a specialized periodontist.
ORAL HYGIENE CARE
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being. Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:
- Brush thoroughly twice a day and floss daily
- Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals
- Use dental products which contain fluoride, including toothpaste
- Rinse with a flouride mouth rinse if advised to do so
- Make sure children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area
- Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months
- The following are indications of good oral hygiene:
- Your teeth are clean and free of debris
- Gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss
- Bad breath is not a constant problem
A dental cleaning is a professional cleaning you receive from a dentist or dental hygienist. Most dental cleanings take approximately 45 minutes. Cleanings should be performed every six months to prevent excessive plaque buildup. Some patients may even need cleanings every three months or four months, depending on their oral health and what your dental professional or hygienest recommends. Plaque left untreated can lead to unhealthy gums and tooth decay. During your routine cleaning we will remove excess plaque and polish your teeth.
NON-SURGICAL GUM TREATMENT
The gums, ligaments, and bone around the teeth form the foundation for teeth. All structures are also referred to as the periodontium. When the periodontium is not healthy, it jeopardizes the teeth just as a bad foundation would threaten the stability of a house. Signs of unhealthy periodontium include: gums that are red and bleed easily, persistent bad breath, gums that are pulled away from the tooth, loose teeth, and changes in the position or bite of the teeth. With proper gum treatments, it may be possible to return gum tissue to a healthy state. If you’re having a problem, come in and see us so we may treat it right away. The treatment usually involves a deep cleaning or root planing done under a local anesthetic, along with local antibiotic agents. It is important to have gum problems checked promptly, as gum disease left alone may eventually need treatment through surgery or extraction.
Laser dentistry is the latest advancement in dental technology, treating a wide range of dental and cosmetic problems from cavities to gum disease to teeth whitening. The lasers we use in laser dentistry at our practice are an alternative to the common hand-held scalpel, drills, or other tools. These lasers direct an invisible energy beam onto problem areas and allow us to efficiently treat gums. The benefit of laser dentistry is that they minimize the pain most often associated with dental procedures, meaning more comfort to our patients. Clinical studies show that approximately 96% of all patients require no anesthesia when lasers are being used during dental treatments. Dental lasers have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are safe for both adults and children.
SOFT TISSUE LASER
Soft tissue lasers are used to safely remove soft tissue, such as excess gum tissue.The soft tissue laser can also be employed to destroy bacteria in gum pockets, preventing infection and allowing the tissue to return to a healthy state. The soft tissue laser enabled the dentist to treat our patients with extreme accuracy and eliminates the need for most stitches.
Sealants are used to fill narrow grooves in a tooth that cannot be adequately cleaned by brushing. In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn’t brush, but because they’re too narrow to allow even one bristle into them. To avoid cavities developing over time, the dentist will brush on a coating that seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.