Q. What should I do if I have bad breath?

A. Bad breath can be an unpleasant and embarrassing. There are various reasons one may have bad breath, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduces bad breath by as much as 70 percent.

Q. What may cause bad breath?

A. Morning time - Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.

Certain foods - Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.

Poor oral hygiene habits - Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth.

Periodontal (gum) disease - Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums.

Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances - May also contribute to bad breath.

Dry mouth - May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.

Tobacco products - Dry the mouth, causing bad breath.

Dieting - Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.

Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals - Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and wash the bacteria away.

Certain medical conditions and illnesses - Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.

Q. How can I prevent bad breath?

A. Practice good oral hygiene - Brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gum line. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning.

See your dentist regularly - Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits.

Stop smoking/chewing tobacco - Ask your dentist what they recommend to help break the habit.

Drink water frequently - Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria.

Use mouthwash/rinses - Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem.

Q. Is it important to brush and floss?

A. Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that causes dental disease. Plaque is a film caused by debris from food, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into tartar. Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids. If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.

Q. How often should I brush?

A. Brush your teeth at least twice a day , especially before going to bed at night, with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.

Q. Am I brushing correctly?

A. Brush your teeth at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums. Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth. Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth. Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

Q. Could I use an electronic tooth brush?

A. Yes, electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.

Q. Why is it important to floss?

A. Flossing removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria that brushing can't reach. Flossing daily is the best way to the teeth and under the gum-line, it disrupts plaque colonies from buildup and helps prevent damage to the gums, teeth and the bone.

Q. How often should I floss?

A. Flossing daily is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gum line. Not only does flossing help clean these spaces between the teeth, flossing disrupts the plaque colonies from building up; preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.

Q. How do I properly floss my teeth?

A. Take 12-16 inches of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches of floss between the hands. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion. Curve the floss into a "C" shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.

Q. Are silver fillings (amalgam) safe?

A. Yes, studies indicate that there are no health risks to patients who have silver fillings. There are other options to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. We encourage you to discuss these options with your dentist so you can determine which would be the best option for you.

Q. How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

A. You should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year, though your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more frequent visits.

Q. Why is it important to have a dental cleaning done?

A. Dental exams and cleanings are essential to preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. During the visits, your teeth are cleaned, checked and monitored to detect and prevent cavity growth.

Q. What are veneers?

A. Veneers are very thin custom-made shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the front of your teeth. They are very durable and will not stain, they restore and camouflage damaged, discolored, misshaped teeth.

Q. What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?

A. Teeth whitening is a simple, non- invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel. There are many products and various methods to achieve a brighter, whiter smile. Over the counter products are also available, but are less effective than professional treatments.

Q. What is gum disease?

A. Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues and bones that surrounds and supports the teeth, there are two types of gum diseases, Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Gingivitis, the early stage, is the build-up in bacteria that causes the gums to become inflame and to easily bleed. When gingivitis is left untreated, it advances to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports the teeth, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. Periodontitis can cause tooth loss and increase the risk of heart attack or stroke and other serious health problems.

Q. What causes gum disease?

A. Gum disease is caused by the growth of germs called bacteria on the teeth and gums, these bacteria along with mucus and other particles constantly form a sticky, colorless "plaque" on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form "tartar" that brushing doesn't clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.

Q. Signs of gum disease?

A.

  • Bad breathe that won't go away
  • Tender, red or swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth or shifting teeth
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth

Q. What is LANAP?

A. Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure is a laser based approach to treating gum disease using a special kind of laser called the PerioLase-MVP-7™. This minimally invasive procedure uses a laser fiber, which is only about as wide as three human hairs. The laser is inserted between the gum tissue and your tooth, removing the diseased tissue, and allowing the tissue to re-attach to the clean root surface creating a "closed system". LANAP painlessly removes the noxious elements that cause gum disease with no cut, no sew, and no fear.

Q. Does LANAP hurt?

A. Compared to traditional gum surgery, there is much less discomfort with the LANAP, post-procedure discomfort is typically minimal and of short duration. LANAP is safe for patients with health concerns such as diabetes, HIV, hemophilia, or those taking medications such as Plavix or aspirin.