Bad breath – causes and solutions!

Bad breath is hard to talk about but not so hard to cure. Why do people have bad breath and what can be done about it?

Bad breath causes and solutionsBad breath is a big problem for many and is still a big taboo in most places. It is a pity that bad breath is so hard to talk about, because it is not very hard to do something about. This article will deal with two questions concerning bad breath: Why do people have bad breath and what can be done about it?

Why do I have bad breath?

Many people are convinced that their bad breath comes from their stomach, but recent research has proved that most cases of bad breath are caused by germs on the surface of the tongue. In fact, it is estimated that germs on the tongue account for as much as 90% of all cases of bad breath. Simply put, the germs release gases that cause the bad smell. If you examine your own tongue in the mirror you will discover that it’s surface is actually very rough. Especially the area near the root of your tongue is a perfect breeding ground for the germs that cause bad breath.

Another connection between germs and bad breath is that germs can build up as plaque and eventually cause gum disease (periodontitis) and cavities. Plaque in itself can cause bad breath, but especially periodontitis and cavities can cause a very bad smell from the mouth because of the kind of germs that live in cavities and deep periodontal pockets.

Tonsil stones (or tonsilloliths) are yet another reason why some people suffer from bad breath. Tonsil stones are whitish/yellow little lumps that sometimes accumulate in the small pits on the surface of your tonsils. The lumps consist of sulfur-producing bacteria and debris from your mouth and nose and they can both taste and smell bad.

What can be done about bad breath?

If your bad breath is caused by plaque, you will need to work harder on your dental hygiene. Maybe you already brush your teeth at least twice a day or even more often – but are you thorough enough? Do you make sure to brush every surface of all your teeth (even the difficult-to-reach ones in the back of your mouth) or do you tend to brush the same few teeth every time?

If your bad breath is caused by cavities or periodontitis you will need to see your dentist for treatment. These problems cannot be solved by improving your oral hygiene alone. Your dentist or dental hygienist will probably also advise you on how to maintain a high standard of oral hygiene and how to avoid bad breath in the future. You can talk openly to your dentist or dental hygienist about your bad breath. It is their profession to deal with these things and there are no taboos in the dental clinic.

If your teeth are already healthy and your dental hygiene is good but you still suffer from bad breath, you might need to start cleaning your tongue as well. Your tongue can be cleaned by brushing it with your toothbrush. If brushing your tongue with your toothbrush makes you gag, you could try to use a tongue scraper which is especially designed for cleaning the tongue and treating bad breath.

If you see little white lumps or tonsil stones on your tonsils and you think they are the cause of your bad breath, you might be able to squeeze them out by pressing a finger or a Q-tip against the bottom of the tonsil and pushing upward. If your gag reflex prevents you from sticking fingers or Q-tips in your throat, the tonsil stones might be removed if you simply flex your throat and swallow. If you are not successful at any of these methods, your dentist can help you.

Hopefully the advice in this article can help you do something about your bad breath. Do not accept bad breath as part of your life. It might be a sign that something is wrong or – to look on the bright side – it might be a surprisingly easy problem to solve!

Regular cleaning, deep cleaning and root planning – what do they include?

A dental cleaning is much more than a superficial removal of plaque and tartar. Also, the reasons for offering you a dental cleaning go far beyond cosmetic considerations. In the dental clinic the word ‘cleaning’ actually covers a range of treatments all designed to help you maintain good dental health. This article will cover the most used terms, explain what exactly is meant by them and discuss the benefits of regular dental cleanings?

Dental cleaning for beautiful teeth

A dental cleaning is much more than a superficial removal of plaque and tartar. Also, the reasons for offering you a dental cleaning go far beyond cosmetic considerations. In the dental clinic the word ‘cleaning’ actually covers a range of treatments all designed to help you maintain good dental health. This article will cover the most used terms, explain what exactly is meant by them and discuss the benefits of regular dental cleanings?

A regular cleaning

A regular cleaning is the standard treatment when the gums and bone structure are healthy. A regular cleaning includes the removal of plaque, calculus and stain from the crown and root surfaces of your teeth. Superficial stains on the teeth can in most cases be effectively removed through regular cleaning and polishing. Not all people are equally prone to building up layers of calculus on their teeth. Your daily dental hygiene routines are a very important factor in this regard, but your diet and the chemical make-up of your saliva also plays a part. Calculus mostly builds up on the inside of your lower front teeth and on the outside of your upper molars, where your major saliva glands are situated. A regular cleaning will therefore often primarily be focused on these places.

Deep cleaning

A deep cleaning is offered when periodontal disease has resulted in loss of the bone that supports the teeth. During the oral examination your dentist will already have registered which teeth are in need of a deep cleaning. The reason that certain teeth need a deep cleaning is that the periodontal pocket which results from periodontitis is too deep to be kept clean through daily toothbrushing. It is therefore necessary to clean the pocket through professional cleaning in order to prevent the periodontal disease from worsening. Your dentist will normally charge extra for each tooth that needs a deep cleaning, since this requires extra time and effort.

Root planning

Root planning is  often combined with the dental cleaning and used in connection with periodontitis. It is a specific treatment that removes the roughened cementum and surface dentin on the root. A root surface which is not smooth is especially receptive to build-ups of calculus, microorganisms and their toxins. A root surface that needs root planning can be visible in your mouth, because your gum has receded or it can be ‘hidden’ in the periodontal pocket in the case of periodontal disease. The crown of the tooth is covered by enamel which is the hardest material in your body and thus offers a good protection against cavities. A root surface does not have this kind of protection and root surfaces that are visible in the mouth are at greater risk of developing cavities – especially if the surface is not smooth. A professional cleaning and root planning is therefore especially beneficial in this case.

Your dentist or dental hygienist should keep you updated on your periodontal status and discuss with you, what kind of cleaning is necessary in your case. It should also be possible to give you an idea of the price of the cleaning before treatment is started.

HELP!! My child is teething!

It is with great anticipation that parents expect the arrival of the very first tooth. But the process of teething might not be as happy an occasion as hoped for. The infant cries, is irritable and doesn’t sleep. To the caring parents it seems there is nothing they can do. Or is there?

Child teethingIt is with great anticipation that parents expect the arrival of the very first tooth. But the process of teething might not be as happy an occasion as hoped for. The infant cries, is irritable and doesn’t sleep. To the caring parents it seems that there is nothing they can do to make the teething process less uncomfortable. Or is there? In this article you can read about when the first baby teeth can be expected, what symptoms you should be prepared for in your teething toddler, how you can soothe your child while the teeth are erupting and how to care for the new teeth.

When does the teething start?

Normally the teething starts when the lower central front teeth break through the gum. This intitial teething normally happens when the child is 6-7 months old. If your child is still teethless after 1 year there is no need to worry, though. If the teething has still not begun at the age of 18 months, the child should be examined by a dentist.

The last baby teeth to erupt are the big teeth in the back. They normally come around the age 1½ to 3 years. Interestingly, children who are born too early, often start teething later than usual. A set of baby teeth consists of 20 teeth.


The first signs of teething

Just before a tooth erupts, the gum will normally turn white and feel hard. A red and swollen gum can also be a sign that a tooth is on it’s way.

While your child is teething he or she might:

  • Have a tendency to put things in his or her mouth and bite on them.
  • Drool more
  • Have problems eating

Physical symptoms that your child is teething can be:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Diarrhoea
  • Redness of the bottom
  • Fever (if the temperature remains above 38 degrees for more than 24 hours it is not caused by teething and the child should be examined by a doctor.)

What can you do to relieve teething symptoms?
There isn’t much you can do about the physical symptoms, except comfort and nurse the child a little extra. If the child is very bothered by the teething symptoms, a small dose of paracetamol can help. In some places it is possible to buy mixtures for children in the right doses that can be mixed with the child’s milk or water. If it is your first time to use paracetamol with your child, it would be better to contact your dentist or doctor first to make sure of the dosage.

If the gum is itching this can often be soothed by using a teething ring – preferably from the refrigerator. A teething baby might also appreciate washed carrots or cucumbers from the refrigerator.

Good tooth care – important for your oral health

Every day your teeth are under attack and your mouth is at risk of developing different oral diseases. The most prevalent oral diseases can be prevented through good tooth care. What does proper tooth care involve and how can you overcome obstacles to achieving good oral health?

Good tooth care to prevent oral diseasesWhy is tooth care important?

Every day your teeth are under attack and your mouth is at risk of developing different oral diseases. The most prevalent oral diseases that can be prevented through good tooth care are cavities and periodontitis (loosening teeth). Cavities develop as a result of two factors: Plaque and sugar. Plaque is the yellowish-white layer that starts to form on the surface of your teeth already a short time after you’ve brushed them. Plaque consists of many different kinds of bacteria that reproduce and grow in numbers very quickly. This means that the longer time the plaque is left on the teeth, the thicker the layer gets. When sugar is added to the plaque, it results in acid which breaks down the tooth substance and eventually make a cavity in the tooth.

Periodontitis is another common result of inadequate tooth care, since it is also caused by plaque. When plaque has been left on the tooth surface for more than two days, the bacteria start to irritate the gums. The gums will become red and inflamed and maybe even bleed, when you brush them. If the process continues, the bacteria and the inflammation will spread and start to break down the bone that supports the teeth. Eventually the teeth will loosen and fall out.

These two common but serious oral diseases can be prevented through proper tooth care. How?

What does good tooth care involve?

Since the main cause of both cavities and periodontitis is the presence of plaque, good tooth care involves daily removal of plaque from your teeth. Dentists and dental hygienists normally recommend brushing at least twice every day with a medium soft toothbrush. You can read more about choosing the right toothbrush here. A guide on how to brush your teeth can be found here. For some people good tooth care involves more than brushing. Flossing, tongue scraping or the use of interdental brushes might be necessary in order to clean between your teeth and prevent bad breath. Read more about bad breath here

Regular visits to the dentist or dental hygienist are also an important part of good tooth care. Depending on your individual needs, your dentist will advise you on how often to come in for check-ups and maybe dental cleanings. Don’t be quick to think that your dentist is just trying to make an extra buck, if he or she asks you to come in more often than you expected. Some people need to come to the dentist once every three months for a check-up and a cleaning in order to avoid oral diseases. Others only need to come once every year. It might have a little to do with genetic factors and how strong your teeth and gums are, but it mostly depends on how well you care for you teeth. Tooth care is primarily your own responsibility and without your co-operation your dentist will not be able to help you avoid oral diseases – even if you visit the clinic every three months.

Obstacles to good tooth care

The main obstacles to good tooth care are probably forgetfulness and lack of proper routines. In a busy schedule it is not always easy to remember to fit in time for dental hygiene. You can read some advice on how to build good routines for oral health and tooth care here

For many people economy also plays a role, when it comes to deciding when to visit the dentist. While dental care can be expensive, however, the tooth care that you perform at home does not have to cost much. By taking good care of your teeth, you can save a lot of money and trouble in the long run.

How to brush your teeth

When it comes to keeping your teeth clean, there are many means to the same end. How should you brush? When should you brush and when should you not? How do you avoid damaging your gums and teeth? Find the answers in this article…

How to brush your teethThe goal when you brush your teeth is to remove plaque from all surfaces of all your teeth. A tooth has five sides. With your toothbrush you will normally be able to brush the front, back and ‘top’ of your teeth clean. The sides of the teeth (which is between your teeth) are normally only accessible with floss, toothpicks or interdental brushes (tiny brushes developed especially for cleaning between the teeth).

When to brush – and when not to…

Dental professionals normally recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day. Some people brush their teeth after every meal. There is nothing wrong in this, as long as you use the right brush and the right technique in order to avoid causing damage to your teeth and your gums. However many times you choose to brush your teeth every day, it is important that you brush very thoroughly at least once a day.

Some dental professionals recommend that you do not brush your teeth immediately after having eaten something sour (e.g. fruit juice and sour fruit), since the surface of the teeth will be more porous and easier to damage. If you wait around one hour after every meal before you brush, you should be on the safe side.

How to brush?

When you brush your teeth it is a good idea to be systematic. You can do this by dividing your mouth into sections – e.g. upper, lower, right and left. Always start the same place and brush your way around all your teeth. You can for example start on the outside of the upper right section. Start with the back teeth. Make sure to brush all around the tooth at the very back and continue brushing your way one tooth at a time towards the left side. When you have reached the back teeth in the left side, you brush your way back on the inside. Do the same with the lower teeth. Afterwards brush on top of your teeth in both sides of both upper and lower jaw.

Make sure that every single tooth is clean. Teeth that are standing in a straight line are easier to brush clean. On the other hand, if your teeth are cramped for space it might take a greater effort to keep them clean. Some teeth might be ‘hiding’ behind other teeth and are not so easy to reach with the brush. You might be able to clean them simply by turning your brush vertically and brushing up-down instead of from side to side. Otherwise it is possible to buy toothbrushes with just one very small brush, which is ideal for cramped spaces.

Remember to brush the gums

The edge between your teeth and your gums is especially important to keep clean. It is very easy for germs to hide here. At the same time, it is the germs that sneak in under the gum line that eventually cause periodontal disease. When you brush your gum line, you should place the toothbrush in an angle of 45 degrees with the brushes pointing against the gums. When you brush the gums it is especially important not to be too rough in order to prevent the gum line from receding or drawing back, exposing the root surface of the teeth.

Circular or straight movements?

Whatever way you like to move your toothbrush, it is important that the movements are small. If you imagine that you were painting your teeth rather than brushing them, it might be more clear how thorough you need to be. When painting a rough surface with pits and cracks in it, you won’t just give it a few long, superficial strokes with the brush. You will make sure to get the paint into every little crack, using small precise movements. Use the same principle when you brush your teeth. Make sure that the brushes reach into all the cracks and pits.

Be regular and thorough

As you can see there are many possible means to the same end, when it comes to keeping your teeth clean. However you prefer to maintain your dental hygiene, the important thing is to be regular and thorough without overdoing it. Get into the habit of checking your teeth in the mirror and feeling them with your tongue to check whether they are clean. Teeth covered in plaque feel ‘furry’, while clean teeth feel smooth and nice.

Dental health and your teeth

Dental hygiene dental care beautiful teethYou eat with them. You speak with them. You smile with them. In fact, you spend most of your life with them. What are they? Your teeth.

As long as they don’t cause you pain or problems, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about your teeth. They are, however, a very important member of your body and deserve your care and attention.

Good dental health starts early in your life with good habits for dental hygiene and regular visits at the dentist. Dental health, though, has nothing to do with how many fillings you have or how many (or few) teeth you have left. Dental health is about the condition of your teeth and gums right here and now. Even a mouth with only very few teeth can be healthy, if good dental hygiene is maintained. At the same time a mouth full of pearly-white teeth can be diseased and unhealthy if for some reason the oral hygiene is suffering.

This website has been established to help you achieve and/or maintain good dental health. If you treat your teeth well, they will be your loyal partners for life.

A nutritious diet for healthy teeth

Your diet has a greater influence on your dental health than most people realise. Everyone knows that too much sugar combined with poor dental hygiene causes cavities. But your diet’s influence on your oral health goes far beyond this and started already before you were born.

A healthy diet means healthy and strong teethYour diet has a greater influence on your dental health than most people realise. Everyone knows that too much sugar combined with poor dental hygiene causes cavities. But your diet’s influence on your oral health goes far beyond this and started already before you were born.

While the teeth are formed

Already during pregnancy it is important that the mother gets the recommended amount of minerals and vitamins through her diet in order for the teeth of her baby to develop properly. The fetus starts to form teeth already in the 8th week after fertilization and from the fourth month they develop continually.

At birth, most of the crowns of the teeth are mineralized, although they will not be visible in the mouth untill about 6 months later. After the child is born the roots of the teeth continue to develop and the need for a proper diet thus continues. In fact, the forming of the teeth does not end before age 18, when the wisdom teeth normally erupt.

Diet and the development of muscles and jaws

Developing teeth not only need nourishment for mineralizing. Your diet is also important for the development of your oral muscles and the growth of your jaws. More and more children need braces because their jaws have not grown enough to make room for the erupting teeth. This happens when the child eats too much soft food that does not require much chewing. Hard vegetables and coarse-grained foods are very beneficial for the development of a child’s muscles and jaws.

Your diet and cavities

Cavities are the result of a combination of plaque and sugar. Plaque is a layer of bacteria that is formed automatically within a short time after you brush your teeth and which will continue to build up untill you brush them again. Plaque in itself does not cause cavities. It is only when sugar is added to the plaque, that the bacteria in the plaque start to produce the acid which breaks down the tooth. At the same time sugar alone does not cause cavities if there is no plaque on the teeth. Since it is normally not possible to keep your mouth 100% plaque free, it is important to be aware of the amount of sugar you take in through your diet. It is especially the sugary snacks in between meals that damage your teeth. If you are constantly adding sugar to your plaque, your teeth will be under a constant acid attack. Your mouth needs a break between meals so that your saliva can neutralise the acid and restore the natural balance in your mouth.

If you are in the habit of snacking between meals, consider eating sugar free candy or chewing gum. Be aware that many ‘healthy’ snacks such as fresh or dried fruit and biscuits also contain sugar, although in a less unhealthy form than the refined sugar in cakes and candy. Vegetables (especially carrots) are the least ‘damaging’ snacks, since they contain very little natural sugar.

Give your teeth a break

Also try to limit your consumption of sugary and/or sour beverages. A bottle of soda or juice can often last for hours if you are only sipping from it now and then. This habit is very damaging to your teeth, though. Research has shown that it normally takes around 20 minutes for your mouth to restore it’s natural acid balance after you have eaten. This means that if you are snacking all through the day e.g. by eating candy of drinking softdrinks, the acidity in your mouth will be constantly out of balance and your teeth will be under constant attack. Instead of quenching your thirst with sugary drinks, consider a more healthy alternative such as milk or water.

Brush!

If you absolutely need your sugary snacks and beverages, remember that cavities arise from a combination of sugar AND plaque. A clean tooth will not develop a cavity, so remember to brush your teeth completely clean at least two times per day.