Category Archives: Bad breath | Halitosis
Great news! If you quit smoking, you can avoid premature wrinkling. Science has long known that long-term smoking causes wrinkles to appear earlier on smokers’ faces than non-smokers’, and earlier on women’s faces than men’s.
Research shows that the gene that is implicated in wrinkles from sun exposure is highly active is smokers and silent in non-smokers. The gene is involved in destroying collagen, the structural protein that gives skin its elasticity. Everyone should wear sunscreen, but smokers in particular because of this highly active gene. Smoking can also damage skin through the dehydrating effects of nicotine and through constriction of the skin’s vascular structure.
There are other esthetic reasons to quit smoking. The smell gets in your hair. Smoking stains teeth and contributes to bad breath. Bust most importantly, and much beyond esthetics, smoking has been linked to heart disease, periodontal disease, and cancers, including oral cancer.
We provide a free oral cancer examination as part of your regular dental appointment. And we can remove yellow nicotine stains from your teeth. But only you can stop smoking.
This post is the fifth in a series of seven posts regarding common dental problems.
Brushing and flossing daily will go a long way toward keeping your teeth and gums healthy. But sometimes trouble arises even when you do everything right (blame bad genes or bad luck). Here are the issues you should be on the lookout for and what to do to keep them at bay.
Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth results from a decrease in the flow of saliva in the mouth. It is extremely uncomfortable and increases the chance of tooth decay, since saliva helps wash away harmful bacteria.
Who’s at risk?
Those who take any of 400-plus medications, including diuretics and antidepressants. “Dry mouth becomes more prominent as women get older, in their 50s and 60s,” says Sally Cram, an American Dental Association consumer adviser and periodontist in Washington, D.C. Hormonal and metabolic changes that come with age can also change your salivary flow. Another cause is Sjogren’s syndrome, a rare disorder most common among women in their late 40s that causes a person’s immune system to attack her salivary and tear glands.
What to do
Keep sugarless gum on hand; avoid caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol; and drink plenty of water. Artificial rinses or moisturizing mouth gels can help the salivary glands function. If you suspect that you have dry mouth, see your dentist or doctor. “Anyone needing additional fluids to speak or swallow dry foods for three months or longer should be evaluated for Sjogrens,” says Jane Atkinson, DDS, deputy clinical director of the NIDCR. While there’s no cure, she says, “as with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, you can manage it.”
Most of us have learned to brush and maybe even floss our teeth after breakfast and before bed, the absolute minimum that good oral health requires. But what happens to our teeth and gums during the intervening 16 hours or so?
According to a recent survey conducted in the workplace, more than three quarters of respondents eat twice or more during the day, but only 14% brush their teeth ever day at work. Although many respondents admitted they were overlooking oral care at the office, the majority ranked a smile as the first thing they noticed about a person at work! Even more telling is that 96% thought that a smile was very or somewhat important to a person’s appearance, and another 32% cited bad breath as the least attractive trait of their co-workers.
Meals, snacks, coffee, tea, and sodas that most of us consume on the job dramatically increase the likelihood of tooth decay or gum disease. Here are some tips for office tooth care that could keep your smile healthy for many more years.
Make sure you have an extra toothbrush and toothpaste at the office, rather than carrying one with you. This can increase the likelihood of your brushing during the day by 65%.
Post a sticky note on your desk or computer at work as a reminder to brush your teeth after lunch. Make sure you brush right after lunch, before becoming absorbed in afternoon meetings or work.
As a last resort, make sure you rinse out your mouth with water after meals and snacks. Chew sugarless gum for a few minutes as well.
Let your toothbrush dry out after each use, and store it in a clean, dry travel container. Also, replace your office brush often, at least every three months, to prevent bacterial buildup.