Halitosis: causes and how to deal with it

Bad breath – also known as halitosis – is a common problem, but one that people don’t like to talk about. Everyone is likely to suffer from halitosis at some point in their life, but for some people it can become a chronic problem that friends and family are too embarrassed to tell them about. Here, we look at the common causes of bad breath, and how to get rid of it for good.

gum diseaseIt’s easy to know if someone else has bad breath, although not always easy to tell them. However, it can be tricky to know if you are suffering from halitosis yourself: lick the inside of your wrist and sniff. If it smells bad, your breath is likely to smell bad too.

If this is the case, don’t panic; book an appointment to see your dentist. At Forest Dental Practice we have helped many patients to cure their halitosis, boosting their self-esteem to boot.

Common causes of bad breath

There are many causes of bad breath. These include:

1 Strong-tasting foods and drinks.

Certain foods and drinks, including onions and garlic, some cheeses and coffee, can cause bad breath. This will be temporary, for a few hours after eating or drinking. Brushing your teeth after every meal can help to combat this type of bad breath.

2 Medications.

Certain medications can also cause temporary bad breath. This can be particularly true for medicines that leave you with a dry mouth. Chewing sugar-free chewing gum and regular tooth brushing can help, and the problem should resolve itself after your course of medication is complete.

3 Poor dental hygiene.

Poor dental hygiene is the biggest cause of long-term bad breath. Particles of food that get trapped on or between the teeth start to decay and release unpleasant-smelling gasses, which leads to bad breath. A build-up of plaque bacteria on the teeth can also cause halitosis. It is often one of the first noticeable symptoms of gum disease.

You can prevent this by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, and by visiting your dentist and hygienist at least every six months. They will be able to diagnose and treat the early signs of gum disease, can remove any plaque from your teeth, and can recommend the best brushing and flossing techniques for you to use at home.

New Year’s resolutions for your teeth – and how they can help boost your overall health and wellbeing

Happy New Year! Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for 2016? Many people take the opportunity of a fresh start to improve their health, joining the gym or resolving to eat more healthily. These are all great ways to boost your health, but as dentists we encourage you to remember your dental health too.

gum diseaseGood oral healthcare is obviously important for your teeth and gums, but did you know it’s also vital for your general health?

One of the most common dental health problems in the UK is gum disease, also known as gingivitis. Research has shown that as well as causing gum problems, bad breath and tooth loss, gum disease may also increase your risk of a wide range of other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Gum disease has also been linked to problems in pregnancy and to dementia.

Looking after your teeth and gums is vital to your overall health. So, what can you do to improve your oral care regime?

Good oral health requires teamwork between you, your dentist and your hygienist. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes a time, as well as regularly using floss or interdental brushes.

By visiting your hygienist regularly (at least every three months) you can ensure you are using the best brushing techniques and products for your individual dental health needs. Your hygienist can also advise you on how your diet affects your dental health – cutting down not just on sugary foods but also on acidic food and drinks can decrease your chances of tooth erosion and plaque build-up.

Your dentist and hygienist can:

  • Professionally clean your teeth to remove all plaque and tartar, including hard to reach areas
  • Advise you on the best type of toothbrush and brushing techniques to use
  • Explain how sugary and acidic foods and drinks can damage your teeth and gums
  • Provide advice on special equipment, such as interdental brushes or mouthwashes
  • Identify and treat early signs of gum disease or tooth decay.

Keep your teeth healthy this Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, and for many that means festive parties and family gatherings involving lots of indulgent treats and rich food. Everyone deserves to treat themselves now and again, and tasty snacks are fine if enjoyed in moderation. But while many people worry about putting on weight over the Christmas period, we urge you to remember your teeth, too – excess sugar consumption can increase your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Here are some things you can do to look after your oral health this Christmas. . .

1 Everything in moderation

oral healthChristmas is a time of tasty treats and indulgent food. For your general and dental health, remember to enjoy everything in moderation. Be aware of the sugar content in not just foods, but drinks as well. Many popular alcoholic drinks have a high sugar content, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Too much alcohol also increases your risk of mouth cancer.

Fruit juice and fizzy drinks such as cola or lemonade also have a high sugar content, and should only be drunk at mealtimes. Drinking a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks will not only be better for your teeth, but will help prevent a hangover.

2 Include healthy snacks and treats in your buffet

If you are organising a buffet-style meal for a Christmas party, be sure to include some healthy options, including home-made dips, fresh vegetables, low-fat cheese, nuts and seeds.

3 Brush your teeth after every meal

The longer sugar remains on your teeth, the more damage it will cause. Keep a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in your desk at work so you can brush your teeth after every meal – you should always brush them for at least two minutes, twice a day.

4 Visit your dentist or hygienist regularly

Your dentist or hygienist can remove any plaque that has built up on your teeth, particularly in hard to reach areas. If you feel like treating yourself this Christmas, why not talk to us about teeth whitening treatment, which can remove stains built up by tea, coffee, wine and smoking? It’s the perfect way to boost your smile in time for the festive party season.

Mouth Cancer Screening

Cases of mouth cancer are increasing. Currently, about 2,700 per year die from mouth or oral cancer in the UK, and worryingly there are a higher proportion of deaths per number of cases than of breast, cervical or skin cancer.

mouth cancer screeningA big factor in this is that many cases of mouth cancer are diagnosed at a late stage, making treatment more complex and more difficult. Dentists play a vital role in the early detection of mouth cancer, which is why at Forest Dental we carry out mouth cancer screening as a standard part of our routine dental check-ups.

As with any form of cancer, early diagnosis vastly increases your chances of beating the disease and making a full recovery. Mouth cancer screening is a simple, painless procedure that can save lives. It’s carried out here at the practice, and if anything suspicious is found we will refer you immediately to a hospital consultant for further investigation.

The first step is to take a detailed medical and dental health history, so that we can identify any particular risk factors, such as smoking. Your dentist will then carry out a thorough examination of the outside of your mouth, your head and neck by observation and by touch, followed by an examination of the inside of your mouth, including under your tongue and the inside of your cheeks.

Symptoms of mouth cancer include lumps on the tongue or inside the mouth (these may be painless), mouth ulcers that do not heal, and white or reddish patches inside your mouth. If you notice any of these symptoms, or anything else unusual, please come to see us as soon as possible – don’t wait for your regular dental check-up. In many cases these symptoms will be benign, but because early diagnosis is vital we urge you to have a check-up as soon as possible.

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