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How To Brush Your Teeth
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How to FlossBad Breath
Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by many things. It may be the result of
odor-causing foods, tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, continued mouth
dryness, use of tobacco products, sinus or respiratory infections, some medical
disorders, inadequate oral hygiene or some medications. Your dentist can help
identify the cause and, if it's due to an oral condition, can develop a
treatment plan to eliminate this common source of embarrassment.
Hygiene-related causes for bad breath: What you eat affects the air you exhale.
Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to objectionable breath
odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the
lungs, where it is expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the
odor temporarily. Odors continue until the body eliminates the food. Dieters may
develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.If you do not brush and floss
daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can
cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around
the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor. Dentures that are not cleaned
properly can also harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles.
Diseases-related causes for bad breath: One of the warning signs of periodontal
(gum) disease is persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Periodontal
disease is caused by plaque, the sticky, colorless film of bacteria that
constantly forms on teeth. The bacteria create toxins that irritate the gums. In
the advanced stage of the disease, that gums, bone and other structures that
support the teeth become damaged. With regular dental checkups, your dentist can
detect and treat periodontal disease early.Bad breath is also caused by dry
mouth (xerostomia), which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. Saliva is
necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor. Dry
mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or
continuously breathing through the mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, your
dentist may prescribe an artificial saliva, or suggest using sugarless candy and
increasing your fluid intake.Tobacco products cause bad breath, stain teeth,
reduce one's ability to taste foods and irritate gum tissues. Tobacco users are
more likely to suffer from periodontal disease and are at greater risk for
developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco, ask your dentist for tips on kicking
the habit.Bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local
infection in the respiratory tract (nose, throat windpipe, lungs), chronic
sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal
disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If your dentist determines that your mouth
is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to
determine the cause of bad breath.
Caring for your smile: Eliminating periodontal disease and maintaining good
oral health is essential to reducing bad breath. Schedule regular dental visits
for a professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant bad
breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take.
Some medications may play a role in creating mouth odors. Let your dentist know
if you've had any surgery or illness since your last appointment.Brush twice a
day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your
tongue, too. Once a day, use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between
teeth. If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night. Clean them
thoroughly before replacing them the next morning.Mouthwashes are generally
cosmetic and do not have a long lasting effect on bad breath. If you must
constantly use a breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, see your
dentist. If you need extra help in controlling plaque, your dentist may
recommend using a special antimicrobial mouth rinse. A fluoride mouth rinse,
used along with brushing and flossing, can help prevent tooth decay. Look for
products that carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. Products
that display the seal have undergone strict testing for safety and
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem for most people. Our teeth can be greatly
affected by hot, cold, sweet, and sour food or drink. Over-enthusiastic
brushing, recession of gums, gum disease (periodontitis) all can expose the
soft, porous structure of the tooth (dentin), making it susceptible to external
Pain can be mild and tingly or sharp and intense. This symptom sometimes is a
sign for more serious diseases. Whenever you are suffering from pain of
sensitivity, you should go see your dentist before it persists or worsens.
A review of brushing techniques and diet can help reveal causes of
sensitivity. Avoid over-brushing because it can cause damage to your teeth
and/or gums. Sensitivity protection toothpaste works by blocking the opening of
the exposed dentin or by preventing the transfer of the pain signal from the
nerve to the brain.You should feel relief by using sensitivity protection
toothpaste for two weeks. If you stop brushing with this kind of toothpaste, the
sensitivity pain may return.Also, some prescribed desensitizing agents may help
you. Consult your dentist about it.
Teeth Clenching (Bruxism)
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is the technical term for forcible grinding and clenching of the teeth.
It usually happens at night, during sleep, although some people grind their
teeth during the day as well.
How common is bruxism?
Most people who grind their teeth are over 25 years old, and the disorder
affects women and men about equally. Children also grind their teeth, but
usually in response to discomfort caused by colds, ear infections or allergies.
Most cases of bruxism in children resolve on their own without causing tooth
damage or other problems.
What causes bruxism?
Bruxism can have a variety of causes, but the most common are probably emotional
factors such as daytime stress, anxiety, anger, pain and frustration. Certain
sleep disorders can trigger grinding of the teeth as well. People who are
competitive, aggressive, and rushed may also be at greater risk for bruxism.
Lastly, alcohol and some types of medications may worsen tooth grinding.
Why bruxism can be a serious problem?
When you chew your food, your deliver a force of about 175 pounds per square
inch (psi) to your teeth. But when you grind your teeth at night, there's no
food to absorb the impact, so the force on your teeth can be 300 psi or more.
That's enough to cause permanent damage to your teeth, including cracked and
chipped enamel, hairline fractures, and even wearing down of the teeth to the
gumline & loosning of the dental implant screws The enamel may become so worn
that the inside of the tooth (called the dentin) is exposed. If bruxism isn't
treated, it can lead to gum damage, loss of both natural teeth and restorations,
and other more complicated jaw-related disorders (such as TMJ known disorders).
Over time, your teeth may become sensitive due to exposed dentin, and your jaws
may even move out of proper balance. Grinding your teeth can also cause a wide
variety of other symptoms including soreness and fatigue in your jaw and facial
muscles, and earaches or headaches-especially when you wake up in the morning.
There is no known cure for bruxism. Fortunately, with night-guard trays there
are ways to reduce or stop your grinding and even ways to limit further damage
and pain due to grinding.
Do You Grind Your Teeth?
How to find out if you're grinding your teeth? Because most bruxism happens at
night, most sufferers aren't even aware of it until a sleep partner mentions the
noise or until a dentist notices that their teeth are damaged. Here are some
typical symptoms that may indicate nighttime teeth grinding:
Jaw or facial pain and tenderness on awakening that lessens throughout the day
Headaches or earaches in the morning that go away as the day wears on Spouse or
sleep partner complains that the noise is keeping them awake at night Teeth have
become sensitive to cold, pressure, or other stimuli
Tips of teeth appear flattened
What to do if you think you may be grinding your teeth?
If you think you might be grinding your teeth at night, the first thing to do is
visit your dentist to assess any possible damage. It's essential to halt the
course of the disease to prevent or arrest damage to your teeth, gums, and jaws