I. Stephen Brown, DDS
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Archive for the ‘Your Overall Health’ Category

Bad Breath and Your Overall Health

Saturday, May 30th, 2020

When it comes to bad breath, a lot of people assume that it’s merely an embarrassing problem, and not linked to your general health in any way. However, a lack of oral hygiene doesn’t simply cause bad breath. There are a wide number of health-related issues that can impact your health.

The fact is that at one point or another, almost everyone will experience bad breath. For some people, bad breath is a daily problem; for others, it happens every so often and isn’t a significant cause for concern. Around 30% of the population has experienced bad breath at one point or another – it’s a fairly common health complaint and usually a benign one.

Commonly, bad breath occurs after waking up in the morning or after eating food containing high amounts of garlic or onion. Coffee and smoking can also cause bad breath, as can being on a calorie-reduced diet. A lot of people don’t notice that they have bad breath and learn about it from a friend, family member, or co-worker who mentions it to them, causing upset and embarrassment.

What causes bad breath, and how is it linked to your general health?

Internal and external factors: Bad breath can originate both inside and outside of your mouth. Often, bad breath is caused by bacteria that collect on the teeth and tongue and cause foul-smelling breath. Often, poor oral hygiene can lead to bad breath, as can dental problems such as cavities, mouth abscesses, and gum disease.

Infections: Infections and illnesses, such as tonsillitis, respiratory infections, sinusitis, and bronchitis, as well as gastrointestinal disease, can cause bad breath.

Disease: Certain diseases in their advanced stages, such as liver and kidney diseases, can also cause bad breath to occur. Uncontrolled diabetes can also cause bad breath to occur. However, it’s important to note that in these cases, a person will almost always have other symptoms alongside their bad breath.

How to manage bad breath?

When it comes to managing bad breath, the most crucial factor is to have the underlying cause diagnosed. If you are taking care of your teeth and gums, and your oral hygiene is up to scratch, then the chances are that it is not an oral hygiene problem causing your breath issues.

In the first instance, you should make an appointment to see your doctor and advise you about the steps you should take to manage your bad breath. They may be able to suggest a treatment route or refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist for further testing and support.

If you are concerned that it is a dental issue, then seeking support from Dr. I. Stephen Brown should be the first step. He will be able to check your teeth and gums and determine whether there is an oral problem causing your bad breath, or whether there is another underlying cause that needs to be investigated. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

The Periodontal to Systemic Disease Link

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

A series of consensus reports recently published by the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and the American Academy helps define the association between periodontal health and systemic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and adverse pregnancy complications.

As a periodontist in Philadelphia, I am continually trying to better understand the relationship between periodontal disease and other diseases, allowing me to help my patients improve both their periodontal and systemic health.

These reports cover the links between periodontal disease and the following systemic diseases:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • COPD
  • Pneumonia
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Obesity
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Cancer

The reports can be viewed here: http://www.joponline.org/toc/jop/84/4-s

These exciting advancements further stress the importance of maintaining oral health and allow us to help individuals increase overall health when treating periodontal disease.

To discuss these advancements further, or to see if treating your periodontal disease could improve your overall health, please contact our Philadelphia dental office.

The Different Types of Periodontal Disease in Children

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Hormonal changes related to puberty can put teens at greater risk for getting periodontal disease. During puberty, an increased level of hormones, such as progesterone and possibly estrogen, cause increased blood circulation to the gums. This may cause an increase in the gum’s sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque. During this time, the gums may become swollen, turn red and feel tender.

As a teen progresses through puberty, the tendency for the gums to swell in response to irritants will lessen. However, during puberty, it is very important to follow a good at-home dental hygiene regimen, including regular brushing and flossing, and regular dental care. In some cases, a dental professional may recommend periodontal therapy to help prevent damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth.

3 Different Types of Periodontal Disease that Commonly Affect Children

Chronic gingivitis is common in children. It usually causes gum tissue to swell, turn red and bleed easily. Gingivitis is both preventable and treatable with a regular routine of brushing, flossing and professional dental care. However, left untreated, it can eventually advance to more serious forms of periodontal disease.

Aggressive periodontitis can affect young people who are otherwise healthy. Localized aggressive periodontitis is found in teenagers and young adults and mainly affects the first molars and incisors. It is characterized by the severe loss of alveolar bone, and ironically, patients generally form very little dental plaque or calculus.

Generalized aggressive periodontitis may begin around puberty and involve the entire mouth. It is marked by inflammation of the gums and heavy accumulations of plaque and calculus. Eventually it can cause the teeth to become loose.

To learn more about periodontal disease, or to set up an evaluation for your child today, please contact our Philadelphia dental office.

The Risk Factors of Gum Disease

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. Fortunately, there are many factors that contribute to gum disease which we can control. In the ongoing fight against gum disease and for the protection of your overall health it is incredibly important to be aware of the following contributors to gum disease.

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth

Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.

Poor Nutrition and Obesity

A diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums. In addition, research has shown that obesity may increase the risk of periodontal disease.


Research has indicated that some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of the disease and getting them into early intervention treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.


Stress is linked to many serious conditions such as hypertension, cancer, and numerous other health problems. Stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal diseases.


Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of periodontal disease. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that over 70% of Americans 65 and older have periodontists.

Smoking/Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems. Tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal disease. Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease.


Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Just as you notify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medicines you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dental care provider.

Other Systemic Diseases

Other systemic diseases that interfere with the body’s inflammatory system may worsen the condition of the gums. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.