7 Ways to Prevent Bad Breath

tongue-scraper-photoIn my last blog I discussed some of the causes of bad breath. Here are a few bad breath prevention methods recommended by the American Dental Association that you can follow to avoid these annoying breath problems!

  1. Brush and Floss
    Meticulous home care is essential to controlling the bacteria often associated with bad breath. Proper brushing and flossing are the first line of defense in preventing bad breath.
  2. Keep Your Tongue Clean
    Using a tongue scraper or brush to remove bacterial laden film from the surface of the tongue may be an easy fix for a breath problem. Don’t neglect this important step when doing your oral hygiene.
  3. Mouthwash
    While I’m not a huge fan of mouthwashes for the purpose of masking bad breath (it’s a little like ” sweeping the dirt under the rug”), they can provide temporary relief. Just don’t rely too heavily on them, and never as a substitute for good home care!
  4. Clean Your Dentures
    If you are a denture wearer, always remove them at night and clean the inside of your mouth as well as the dentures themselves. I would also recommend taking them out after every meal to remove odor causing food debris.
  5. Monitor Your Saliva
    Saliva has antibacterial properties that help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and yes, bad breath. If you suffer from occasional dry mouth, try chewing some sugar free Xylitol gum. The very act of chewing stimulates salivary flow. If it is a recurrent problem – see me!!
  6. Quit Smoking
    Smoking (as well as chewing tobacco) is one of the worst breath offenders. Giving up tobacco will improve your breath and your health.
  7. See Your Dentist Regularly
    Having your teeth professionally cleaned and your mouth examined by a dentist is the best way to rule out more serious causes of bad breath. Identifying the exact cause of the problem is key in selecting the right solution!

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding how to prevent bad breath, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.

Photo courtesy of MouthHealthy.org

What To Do About Dry Mouth – 10 Recommendations

dry mouth“Dry mouth”, or xerostomia, is an annoying condition that I am seeing almost daily in the office. Dry mouth is actually a symptom of an underlying problem and not a disease in itself. It is usually caused by medications but can also be related to various systemic diseases, chemotherapy, radiation to the head and neck, dehydration and certain life style activities such as tobacco use.

Most people who have dry mouth are generally aware of it. Symptoms include problems swallowing and chewing, alterations in taste, bad breath, dry lips, trouble wearing dentures, rampant tooth decay, and thick and sticky saliva to name a few.

Beyond annoying symptoms that dry mouth can present, there are more important reasons to be concerned. It is important that we maintain adequate amounts of saliva in our mouth in order to neutralize acids produced by plaque, moisten food to enable swallowing, and control the bacteria that lead to decay and gum disease.

So here is a short list of things you can do to alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth:

  1. Suck on ice during the day.
  2. Drink water frequently.
  3. Sleep with a humidifier in the bedroom.
  4. Minimize alcohol consumption.
  5. Refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco.
  6. Check with your physician to rule out systemic causes and to see if any medications causing dry mouth can be changed.
  7. Use prescription fluoride products obtained through the dental office.
  8. Make liberal use of over the counter products. (See me for a complete list!)
  9. Use only non-alcoholic mouth rinses.
  10. Avoid caffeinated beverages and soda.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding dry mouth, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.

Saliva- What Your Spit Can Tell Us About You!

saliva

Don’t be surprised if we ask you to spit in a cup at your next dental visit! Salivary diagnostics have been slowly improving as the science grows. Human saliva is now used to diagnose many conditions such as multiple sclerosis; Sjogren’s syndrome; sarcoidosis; metabolic bone disorders; cardiovascular conditions; periodontal disease; genetic disorders; and fungal, bacterial and viral infections.

Our medical colleagues are also using saliva to determine the presence of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, HIV infections, cardiovascular disease, and to monitor drug use.

The advantages of using saliva as a diagnostic aide are numerous. It is non-invasive; it can be self-administered, and because saliva does not clot, samples can be stored and transported more easily. In addition, testing saliva can offer immediate results and is preferable for infants, children, geriatrics and for remotely located populations.

We are currently using salivary diagnostics in dentistry to help identify patients with HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) infections, susceptibility to periodontal disease, Xerostomia (dry mouth) and those with a high caries index. We can then use the results to make intelligent recommendations for treatment and/or prevention. Please don’t hesitate to ask us any questions at your next visit.

So, now you know! Be sure to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have and to schedule your next visit.

What is Dry Mouth (Xerostomia) and Why Should You Be Concerned?

Drinking water to alleviate dry mouth

(Hint: Think Desert)

One of the most serious problems facing the dental profession today Is dry mouth (xerostomia).

First of all, let’s look at what produces dry mouth. There are actually many reasons you could experience dry mouth including:

  1. Dehydration
  2. Medications – there are over 400 medications that create dry mouth as a side effect
  3. Smoking
  4. Aging – aging salivary glands naturally produce less saliva

Why is dry mouth such a problem?

Your saliva not only contains enzymes (naturally produced chemical compounds) that aid in the digestive process, but it also contains antibacterial elements that fight tooth decay and gum disease.

So, you can imagine that without an adequate quantity and quality of saliva, our mouths can suffer from the ravages of tooth decay and gum disease.

What are the signs of dry mouth?

  1. A cottony feeling in the mouth
  2. Difficulty in chewing food properly
  3. Difficulty swallowing
  4. Alterations in taste

 What can you do?

There are many things we can do to help alleviate xerostomia.

  1. First on my list is keeping adequately hydrated, by drinking enough water.
  2. Use products like Biotene that are specifically designed to help alleviate the problem.
  3. Avoid foods high in acid content like sodas, which can demineralize the teeth.
  4. Chew Xylitol gum. Xylitol is an all natural sugar substitute that kills the bacteria that cause tooth decay and the very act of chewing stimulates salivary flow!

Also, call our office and request a salivary test! There are new diagnostic tests that are easy and painless that will guide us in customizing a treatment for you if you are suffering from dry mouth!