I. Stephen Brown, DDS
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Archive for January, 2021

Bad Breath: Causes and Fixes

Saturday, January 30th, 2021

It is something we all feel self-conscious about. From the “morning breath” we have when we wake up, to the food we eat containing pungent ingredients, as well as the increased use of face masks right now, bad breath (aka halitosis) is something that affects millions of people. While we can feel conscious in a public setting that our breath smells pretty bad, the fact is we’re not alone. Bad breath doesn’t just impact your self-consciousness but can have a direct impact on your social life and your confidence. But there are simple reasons why you may have bad breath, but there are also simple methods to solve them.

Poor Oral Hygiene

This is culprit number one when it comes to bad breath. Poor oral hygiene causes plaque buildup, which, if left untreated, can calcify, resulting in calculus, commonly known as tartar. This leaves you at risk for periodontal disease or gingivitis. The solution to fixing this is to brush your teeth properly for the recommended 2 minutes. Doing this twice a day, as well as flossing and brushing your tongue, will ensure that you are doing your utmost.

Your Diet Is High in Sugar

When you eat too much sugar, you are giving the bacteria in your mouth the opportunity to thrive. As bacteria feeds off sugar, the excess bacteria in the mouth can lead to bad breath. If you cannot completely kick the sweet treats, switch to diet soda and sugar-free candy. In addition, if you consume any sugary treats, either rinse your mouth out with water or brush your teeth to reduce the sugar concentration on the teeth and in the mouth.

Old Dental Work

You may have fillings, but leaving them when they need updated treatment is unwise. Old fillings can gradually wear out, which allows bacteria to seep into the tooth and may result in infection. Whether you’ve had restoration surgery, such as cavities or crowns, they can crack or oxidize, which is the breakdown due to the bacteria and acids in your mouth, resulting in bad breath. To fix this, contact Dr. I. Stephen Brown to check if any crowns or fillings need replacing and ensure that the latest high-quality materials and techniques are used.

A Highly Acidic Diet

If you are prone to acidic foods in your diet, this can cause acid reflux, which results in bad breath. Common symptoms of acid reflux include burping, heartburn, and a bitter taste in the mouth. If you notice bad breath and have acid reflux, you may want to keep a food log to identify acidic foods and make changes to your diet. You may also want to enquire about antacid medicines to reduce acid reflux symptoms.

Dry Mouth

Also known as Xerostomia, this decreases the production of saliva. If you have low saliva flow, bacteria can flourish, which can result in bad breath, as well as periodontal disease and gingivitis. To prevent dry mouth, drinking lots of water is a simple method, as well as products that contain Xylitol. You can purchase over-the-counter medication to stimulate saliva flow.

You Follow the Ketogenic Diet

A very popular diet trend is the ketogenic diet, where individuals consume high amounts of fat, while greatly limiting the consumption of carbohydrates. Individuals can find themselves suffering from “keto breath,” which is caused by the high level of acetone in the body. The process of ketosis burns fatty acids rather than carbohydrates, and as fatty acids are converted into ketones, a by-product of this process is metallic-tasting “keto breath.” If you’ve just started a ketogenic diet, it can subside within days or a week of this diet. But you can also minimize your keto breath by increasing your water intake, choosing sugar-free mints and gum, as well as practicing good oral hygiene.

Cavities or an Infection

As these are caused by bacteria overgrowth in the mouth, the bacteria secrete sulfur, which can cause malodor, which is another term for an offensive odor. The best way to combat this is to see your dentist for regular check-ups. Cavities do not disappear by themselves. It is important that you visit your dentist at least twice a year to make sure your cavities are kept at bay. But practicing good oral hygiene will also be a fantastic preventative measure.

Underlying Health Issues

Many underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or sinus infections, can cause bad breath. If you believe you are experiencing an underlying health condition, especially if you’re not able to get rid of your bad breath, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor to rule this out. Any build-up of bacteria can result in bad breath.

You Do Not Floss

Nearly a third of Americans do not floss their teeth. This is a very simple way to reduce bacteria in your mouth. Brushing your teeth does not reduce bacteria alone. When you remove the plaque in the gum pocket and in between the teeth, you are getting rid of bacteria that can fester. Flossing before you go to sleep should be a key part of your nighttime routine.

Poor Dental Practices

When was the last time you made a dental appointment? One of the best things you can do to prevent halitosis is to visit the dentist on a regular basis. Regular dental care can make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy without any signs of periodontal disease. Dr. Brown can provide you with a proper cleaning every 3 or 6 months to guarantee that you are keeping your mouth as healthy as possible.

If you have not scheduled an appointment recently, now is the time to see Dr. Brown to address any issues with dental care. We provide a personal, professional, and ultimately caring service. Halitosis is more common than you think, and by giving you some tips and tricks to manage bad breath while also maintaining your oral hygiene, you can feel confident and assured that your bad breath is at bay. Contact us to schedule an appointment for bad breath treatment today!

What Is The Link Between Gingivitis and Alzheimer’s Disease?

Saturday, January 16th, 2021

What is the worst thing that can happen if we don’t take care of our teeth and maintain good oral hygiene? If you look after your teeth, you won’t just avoid holes in your teeth and keep your pearly whites, but you may very well prevent yourself from something that goes far deeper. Gum disease, commonly known as gingivitis, may very well play a role in someone developing Alzheimer’s disease. How is this, and how does it impact us?

A study published in the medical journal Science Advances highlighted a pathogen called Porphyromonas gingivalis that was discovered in the brain tissue of people with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to this, gingipains, toxic enzymes made by the Porphyromonas gingivalis bacterium, were also present in many brain samples. The link between gingivitis and Alzheimer’s disease is that the toxic substances produced by the gingipains are directly related to the levels of tau and ubiquitin, which are proteins linked with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The idea was initially mentioned in the early 20th century by Alois Alzheimer, who suggested that infections contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, there was evidence to highlight that chronic inflammation can be a cause of Alzheimer’s disease, which is a common battle we are fighting when it comes to our oral health.

How Is This Being Combated?

While there is evidence to highlight a strong link between Porphyromonas gingivalis and Alzheimer’s, the research doesn’t point exclusively towards gingivitis as the sole reason behind Alzheimer’s disease. There are many things that you would need to consider. While infections are not the root cause of Alzheimer’s disease, they can play a role. For example, the production of proteins called beta-amyloid can be the brain’s way of protecting itself against Alzheimer’s. And an over-accumulation of beta-amyloid could result in the plaques that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Additional research has highlighted the effects of certain medications on blocking the enzymes from the bacteria, which postpones the development of Alzheimer’s disease. There is still more research to be conducted, but what does this mean?

Will I Get Alzheimer’s Disease if I Don’t Brush My Teeth?

The study has highlighted that the enzymes from the bacteria can be a cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but the research is still in its infancy. It would not be correct to say that if you don’t brush your teeth, your chances of getting Alzheimer’s greatly increase. But rather, it is important to realize that preventing the bacteria in your mouth is more of a priority. Alzheimer’s is the result of many different external factors, such as genetics and lifestyle.

How Can I Reduce the Risk of Gingivitis?

The studies have highlighted the impacts of the enzymes caused by bacteria in relation to developing Alzheimer’s. The lesson is very simple, that prevention is better than cure. The bottom line when it comes to reducing the risk of gingivitis is to maintain good oral hygiene. We can have concerns that if we do not prevent gingivitis, that we are at a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease. But there are many factors to consider in regards to this, such as your genetics, your predisposition to certain illnesses and ailments, as well as your oral hygiene.

The research conducted by Broegelmanns Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen (UiB) has highlighted the impacts of the enzymes from the bacteria moving from the mouth to the brain. But in the same study, bacteria are not shown as the root cause. Merely, it is the presence of the bacteria that raises the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In the same study, researcher Piotr Mydel states there are two very simple, but critical, things that you can do to slow down Alzheimer’s: Brush your teeth and floss

Preventing gingivitis by brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing at least once a day as well as having regular check-ups will keep gingivitis at bay.

What Are the Risk Factors for Gingivitis?

Addressing your lifestyle can be key to minimize the risk factors for gingivitis. Some diseases like diabetes and cancer are linked to a higher risk of gingivitis. In addition, certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, are more likely to develop gingivitis. In addition, a poor diet, such as one lacking in vitamin C is linked to gum disease. Also, those with a family history of gingivitis are more predisposed to developing it.

What if I Already Have Gingivitis?

If you have concerns that you have gingivitis, it is important to recognize the symptoms:

  • Bright, red, or purple gums
  • Bleeding from the gums when flossing or brushing
  • Inflammation or swollen gums
  • Soft gums
  • Tender gums that may be painful to touch

If you have any of the symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with Dr. I. Stephen Brown for an exam. If a diagnosis is reached early, and the treatment is undertaken quickly, gingivitis can be reversed.

Is It Time To Schedule an Appointment?

We shouldn’t be gingerly when it comes to gingivitis. As you can see, there is a link between gingivitis and Alzheimer’s. While there is still a lot of research left to go to truly highlight if gingivitis is a direct cause of Alzheimer’s, you should not hesitate to get any symptoms of gingivitis checked out as soon as possible. Dr. Brown and his team are ready to help you diagnose and treat gingivitis. If you are experiencing any symptoms, get in contact with us by calling or requesting a virtual consultation.

Gingivitis can be, at best, frustrating, but at worst, it could leave too many complications, such as loss of teeth, but at the very worst, it could be a signifier for Alzheimer’s disease. Contact us so we can provide the best possible care and help you look after your oral health and future.