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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bad Breath: More Than Just Embarrassing!

We've all experienced someone with bad breath and hopefully it's not our own!  But hey!  It happens. If you've been told you've got chronic bad breath, have no fear there are ways to overcome that doesn't involve a gas mask!

What causes bad breath?  We're not talking your typical you ate a heavy garlic cream sauce on your pasta!  This is chronic bad breath and there can be multiple culprits.

  • Tobacco Use (may be time to quit)
  • Dry Mouth (there isn't enough saliva to wash away excess food particles and bacteria)
  • Infections (whether oral or elsewhere in your body)
  • Conditions (Diabetes, repiratory issues, sinustis or bronchitis, liver or kidney problems)
  • Dental cavities or gum disease
The best ways to improve your breath:
  • Quit smoking
  • Routine professional cleanings
  • Excellent home care (brush twice a day, floss once a day, mouth wash)
  • Xylitol products (excellent for people with diabetes but beneficial to every patient as it has bacteria fighting properties - gums, mints, oral spray, mouth rinse and toothpaste)
Research supports a link between lack of flossing and bad breath.  In a study of more than 1,000 adults conducted in Kuwait, never using dental floss was significantly associated with reports of bad breath, as was infrequent tooth brushing, being or having been a smoker.

It will never cost less or hurt less than it does today!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Do I Have To Go To The Dentist?

On a daily basis patients tell us, "I hate going to the dentist" or "I hate the dentist" or "I'd rather be anywhere but here".  We get it and try not to take it personal.  Here's the deal, you don't have to come but you need to know the risks of not coming.

We have patients who haven't been seen by a dentist in years.  Some of the most common reasons:
1) fear & anxiety
2) bad experience in the past
3) lack of insurance
4) lack of money
5) busy with life

The list goes on and on.  A fortunate few may have little to no cavities and little plaque buildup (how does that happen?!).  The majority will  have more pressing issues, from severe cavities to broken teeth, from bleeding gums to serious periodontal disease and possibly even oral cancer.

I've sat with many a patient in my office discussing their needed treatment and for some it can be very extensive.    The patient becomes upset at the amount of work that needs to be done and the costs associated with that work.  The root of the problem, they have neglected their teeth for 5+ years and are now unhappy that's it going to cost them heavily in time and money.  Had they just invested in their preventive care, the costs could be significantly less.  

This may not make me very popular but patients that give the reasoning that they didn't have insurance and that is what kept them from the dentist, isn't really a valid reason.  The "tooth" of the matter is: most times, we afford what we feel is important to us.  If the car breaks down we get it fixed or buy a new one.  The TV goes out, we get a new one, etc.  Most people do not make dental care a priority.  I don't mean that disrespectfully it is just a matter of fact.

For whatever you reason you put off going to the dentist you must understand the risks of not going. We just saw a new patient today.  It had been years since she's been to the dentist.  She came in for a broken tooth and thankfully she did.    To the left is the intraoral photo taken at her visit.  The patient informed the assistant she had a "skin tag".  We referred her immediately to an oral surgeon for a biopsy.  There is a high probability this is a cancerous growth.  
In the picture you can also see the calculus and plaque build up around the lower anterior teeth.  You can see the gums are swollen and are a darker pink.  Evidence of periodontal disease.  It really does break our hearts to deliver this type of new to patients but we must be honest about the findings and do our best to get them on the road to a healthy mouth.  It's never to late to start investing in your teeth and gums.  Make it a priority today.

It will never cost less or hurt less than it does today!