What do I do if I have bad breath?
Halitosis (bad breath) is a common condition. Majority of bad breath is from bacteria found in plaque or tartar on your teeth, gums and tongue or from tooth decay. Other possible causes are smoking, dry mouth, dental infections or due to gastrointestinal reasons. You need to see a dentist for a dental examination to find the cause of your bad breath and for the appropriate treatment. Good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing and tongue cleaning is important.
Does smoking affect the teeth, gums or mouth?
Smoking has a profound effect on the periodontal and oral tissues in your mouth and is a major cause of oral cancer.
One cigarette can release numerous toxic chemicals including the addictive stimulant “nicotine” which result in the following consequences:
- Impaired healing potential of periodontal cells.
- Decreased immune response.
- Reduced salivary flow.
This makes individuals more susceptible to periodontal disease, bacterial infections, bad breath and stained teeth. As smoking also impairs the healing potential of gum and bone it can have an effect on the success of periodontal or implant therapy.
I think I grind my teeth at night. What can I do about this?
Grinding or bruxing is very common among adults and children. Persistent bruxing can damage your teeth and jaw (tempromandibular) joint. You need to mention this at your next visit so we can investigate this further. To prevent ongoing damage we may recommend a dental splint.
Why are soft drinks bad for your teeth?
Soft drinks are not only high in sugar but are also very acidic. This softens your teeth making them highly susceptible to decay and tooth wear. It is best to avoid drinking large quantities of soft drinks and use water as a substitute. It is important not to brush your teeth straight away after having a soft drink to avoid brushing away the softened enamel. Instead, rinse your mouth with water and wait for at least 30mins before brushing.
Who should use fluoride toothpaste?
Everyone is encouraged to brush their teeth with a fluoride containing toothpaste. Fluoride is incorporated into tooth enamel, making the enamel more resistant to the bacterial acid attacks that cause tooth decay. Fluoride also enhances remineralisation of weakened tooth surfaces. However, fluoride usage should be monitored with young children. “A pea size drop” is all that is required.
At what age should I schedule my child’s first visit to the dentist?
The Australian Dental Association recommends a child’s first check-up at one year of age. Often young children are not very cooperative at that age, but they can still be brought along to parents’ appointments to gain familiarity with the environment.
Are amalgam fillings harmful?
The Australian Dental association policy and the World Health Organisation, on the basis of the available research, confirm the use of dental amalgam produces no harmful effects.
There is no positive gain in having dental amalgam fillings replaced with other materials, other than for aesthetic reasons. However, when a new filling is required, composite (white) filling materials may be preferred as they are more aesthetically pleasing and also more conservative of natural tooth structure.
How safe are dental X-rays?
The dose of radiation you are exposed to with dental x-rays is extremely small. Advances in dental radiography now means that you are exposed to even lower levels of radiation than before. Some of the improvements include new digital x-ray machines that limit the radiation beam to the small area being x-rayed and using “fast” x-ray films that require less exposure.