Health
October 18, 2019
link to facebook link to twitter
More Stories
Prepareness plan to protect seniors Time for the yearly flu vaccine Avoiding spooky smiles this Halloween Seven ways seniors can interact with pets Turn the page Five best pet types for seniors Prosthetic joints and dentistry When hard things happen Are you stressed out? The spirit of Alzheimer’s learning Part II Pets and seniors make the perfect pair Halloween pirate’s gold Fall risks are sometimes simple, yet fatal Is multi-generational living for you? Five ways our self-talk may be hurtful Natural disaster threats call for preparedness plan to protect seniors The spirit of Alzheimer’s learning  Winter sun safety: What to know about protecting yourself during colder months Tending to spiritual distress with aging and illness Blood pressure control a focus of American Heart month Home your own way March is colorectal cancer awareness month Safety at home for seniors Suicide - Are there answers? War on opioids in California Help families make time for seniors during the holiday season Helping seniors with vision and hearing impairments Holiday stress-busters for harried caregivers It’s what’s inside that counts! Dental emergencies Don’t wait until it hurts! Does spring mean allergy season for you? Top 10 products to help seniors stay home How to take Tylenol safely The role companionship plays in aging 7 Tips to reduce the stress of incontinence caregiving Improving the state of aging in America Fight flu this season by getting immunized Confirm your preparedness plans for Seniors Did you get your flu shot? If not why not? A message from the heart Using anxiety to your advantage Youth, women and dementia The long-reaching impact of dementia Children’s dental health month Ten tips for healthy aging Planning for aging at home Thirty-four years as a dentist Tooth friendly Easter tips Feeding my hungry heart How to keep older adults cool during the heat of the day Invisible braces work wonders Senate passes Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding October’s most celebrated event Our Feelings Come From Our Beliefs Making sense of the season for seniors Cultures differ on what makes a beautiful smile! How to have a better year Falling in love is easy, but staying in love is very special A confession Women in dentistry Plan for where you want to age Three ways a senior can fund a home remodel Cannabis as medicine-Changing the face of aging May is skin cancer awareness month A brain is a reason to join the Alzheimer’s fight Recognizing and reporting elder abuse Dental technology- computers have changed our lives Create your personal Medicare account Understanding the aging brain Two ways to get your Medicare taken care of How to know if you are in danger of compression fractures Psychology Today The Art of Resilience: I Have I Am…I Can The advantage of dental implants Too much of a good thing for seniors and the holidays What families’ caregivers need to know about Recommendations for screen time Resolutions for your oral health Super Bowl, Joe Montana and blood pressure Open heart surgery – Thoughts from the other side Chewing gum - Helpful or harmful? Five tips for a healthy smile I will– I should– I can– I’ll try Rightsizing for seniors doesn’t have to be painful The Joy of Sadness Human Touch: The role companionship plays in aging at home Becoming who we really want to be How to fail well Back to school with healthy teeth Five ways to manage caregiver guilt Senior dating – Mom’s new relationship is heating up... Should you be concerned? Aspirin relieves mild pain Fighting osteoporosis and preventing fall-related injuries Un-retiring in a changing economy Coping with the unpredictable life of caregiving Double duty tools: toothbrush and floss Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Tips for living with low vision  Keep your Medicare costs down The freedom and choice to again place at home Put dementia on the agenda for 2019 Free app shows what Medicare covers The reason “Four” is the magic number? Preventing tooth decay in children Laughter is the best medicine Sports mouth guards-keeping teeth safe  Help your senior loved one avoid preventable hospitalizations Tips for keeping calm in the midst of crisis  Five cybersecurity tips for older adults Preparing kids for first dental visits Dental treatment concerns with patients taking blood thinners Home Health Care vs. In-Home Care: What you need to know Three ways to lessen negative thinking Amazing results with Arestin Navigating the aging journey Smoke and stress maintenance and recovery How to lower your surgery costs Know your pharmacist… Know your medicine as drug prices will jump in 2019 Influenza activity is increasing throughout California Show your kids’ teeth some love this Valentine’s Day! New life and stormy weather Your Medicare rights and protections Summer snacking and your child’s teeth Back to basics 10 summertime activities for seniors Three ways to boost your self-esteem Increasing West Nile Virus activity in Ca. Why are seniors targets for scams? Summer’s sun damages the skin Abscess gives warning 8 tips to minimize the behaviors of “Sundowning” Keeping your relationships fresh What are dental sealants? Healthy eating habits can benefit you and your teeth How does the body heal? Apply or renew Covered Ca. Health insurance by Jan. 15 Guilt from holiday eating Toothbrush tips Three reasons for a root canal Seniors: Say no to “free” genetic tests Yoga for relaxation & healing What causes sensitive teeth to hurt All of us make mistakes  Heat and older adults Five tips to cope with caregiver anger Back to school health Real decisions and moderation Three gifts you can give yourself Don’t stress, clench or grind! Gratitude and positivity can inspire caregiver self-care Medicare helps seniors use opioids safely Is it elder abuse or neglect? Dental scanning technology improves dental care Using Medicare when on foreign land I slept in last Saturday! Always being bright may not be so bright Trying to save a knocked out permanent tooth What happens to our teeth and gums as we age? Reduce wear and tear As Autumn begins, a reminder flu season can hit seniors hard Overcoming fears surrounding End-of-Life care Important: women and periodontal health Americans unaware of potentially life-threatening skin cancer Sun protection tips for young children Cannabis symposium Sept. 19th The importance of immunization Returning home is bittersweet Osteoporosis, osteonecrosis and dental health Living with Lupus Erythematosus How dentistry handles gastric reflux disease Use it or lose it- Muscle mass as you age  A free cheek swab test Twice a victim Finding a path forward after an accident Use it or lose it- Muscle mass as you age  If it is not broken, don’t fix it! Managing your mental health with or without insurance coverage Why gardening is the most recommended exercise for seniors

How to prevent bad breath

By: George Malkemus
October 12, 2018

Pulp and paper mills produce nasty gases that smell like rotten eggs or even the smell of rotting meat. Did you know your mouth is like a pulp and paper mill?

In your mouth, these gases are called VSCs, volatile sulfur compounds. The bacteria, which live in your mouth, feeds on food particles. As bacteria die and decay, they release paper mill gases during the decay process. 

When you talk to a co-worker after you eat lunch, you might notice the person steps back from you while you talk. That is because she or he is reacting to the VSCs from your mouth, not the garlic you just ate. You have halitosis, or commonly called bad breath.  

You are not alone. Over 40 million people in the U.S. have halitosis.  And over 85 percent of these cases are caused by bacteria living in the mouth.  Oral bacteria are also related to the status of your overall health, causing gingivitis and periodontal disease and even contributing to heart disease and diabetes.

You can have bad breath and be totally unaware.  Humans are programed not to smell themselves.  It comes from an adaptive trait in animals to shut down their own smell, so they can smell other animals, be it prey or predators.  A deer can smell the approach of a hunter by not smelling itself.  Since bad breath can be an embarrassing issue, I am often the first person to point out the problem to a patient on their initial comprehensive dental examination.

Causes of Halitosis

Over 85 percent of all cases of bad breath originate in the mouth from periodontal disease. Morning breath happens to nearly everyone to some degree.  But over 40 million people in the U.S. have a bad case of morning breath that continues throughout the day.  Because the mouth is dry and inactive during sleep, the odor is usually worse upon awakening.   Bacteria living in the mouth causes halitosis.  Saliva helps wash away bacterial growth.  Saliva flow stops during sleep. If the flow did not stop during sleep, we would awaken with drooling spit on our pillow.  Therefore, at night during sleep, there is more bacterial growth, leading to morning breath. So the most important time to brush and floss is after the last food is eaten at night. 

Smoking and drinking can cause reduced saliva flow and dry mouth, which can lead to bad breath.  Also 75 percent of the medications taken cause dry mouth, which can lead to periodontal disease and halitosis.  Most over-the-counter mouthwashes are alcohol based and add to the problem of mouth drying and bad breath, even though just for a short-term they mask the smell of halitosis.

Usually bad breath indicates gum infection problems, with sulfur producing bacteria living in the spaces around the gums.  But halitosis can also be caused by deep tooth decay.  Having dental treatment for decay problems and a professional deep cleaning to improve gum health are necessary for stopping bad breath. A less obvious reason for halitosis is the VSCs produced by the bacteria living and dying on the tongue. 

Occasionally digestive problems cause bad breath.  Acid reflux disease, as well as bulimia, can compromise tooth health as well as cause halitosis.  Stomach acid moving up into mouth will corrode teeth, leading to decay and sensitivity along with bad breath.   Though rarely, halitosis can be sign of diabetes, liver or kidney disease.

Tongue scrapers

Tongue scrapers have been shown to reduce bad breath.  In the past, I recommended that my patients brush their tongues as part of their daily oral care routine. Though tongue brushing is good, recent studies show that tongue scraping is even more effective in reducing halitosis.

Your tongue is not a smooth surface. It is covered with deep crevices called “papillae” that are created by the taste buds. The papillae at the back of your tongue are longer than those in the front. They are perfect hiding places for bacteria. Picture your tongue as a chessboard, with all the pieces elevated like the papillae.  There are more nooks and crannies that can fill up with food debris which the bacteria will decay producing a foul odor.   Without regular tongue cleaning, they continue to thrive and create that awful sulfur, rotten egg smell. 

Besides contributing to good oral and overall health, cleaning your tongue will enhance the taste of your food! The soft plaque coating on your tongue interferes with your taste buds’ ability to sense food flavors.

Tongue scrapers are inexpensive.  Experiment until you find one that is easiest for you to use. If the tongue scraper is easy to use, you are more likely to use it regularly.  Tongue brushing works, but it is difficult to brush far back on the tongue without gagging.  Tongue scrapers are thinner and much easier to wipe the back of the tongue.

Mints, gum and mouthwashes

Many people use breath refreshing mints, gum and mouthwashes, which has spawned a $3 billion a year, breath freshening industry.  Most of these solutions are only temporary, masking the odor for only a short time while actually adding to the underlining problem.  Refreshing mints and gums that contain sugar increase sulfur-producing bacterial growth and cause tooth decay.  Alcohol-based mouthwashes dry the mouth and reduce salivary flow making it a better environment for the odor-producing bacteria.  

So use sugar-free mints and gum.  Chewing sugar-free gum is beneficial by increasing saliva.  Look for chewing gum that contains xylitol, which actually inhibits the bacteria that cause decay.  

To prevent bad breath, look for a mouthwash that is alcohol-free and contains chlorine dioxide, which neutralizes ‘rotten egg’ sulfur-smelling gases.   Ordinary mouthwashes and toothpastes only cover up the sulfur smell temporarily by adding flavors and scents.  Chlorine dioxide actually breaks the molecular bonds and completely destroys odorous gases.  Available in my office are different types of tongue scrapers and the ClosysII system, which

‘Breath’ see page 13 

 

‘Breath’ from page 7

contains chlorine dioxide in a mouthwash, toothpaste and an oral spray.  

By maintaining a regular checkup schedule, your dentist and dental hygienist can assist you with your oral hygiene care, avoid bad breath and keep a health mouth.

Enjoy Life and Keep Smiling!

George Malkemus has a Family and Cosmetic Dental Practice in Rohnert Park at 2 Padre Parkway, Suite 200. Call 585-8595, or email info@ malkemusdds.com.  Visit Dr. Malkemus’ Web site at http://www.malkemusdds.com