How to Fight Bad Breath

How to Fight Bad Breath

Bad breath is more than just an annoyance: it can ruin interactions and undermine your self-confidence. If you have bad breath, you don’t have to just live with it, keeping your distance from others and covering your mouth, or keeping a secret bottle of mouthwash in your desk drawer. Here’s how to fight bad breath and regain your oral health and confidence!

Determine the Cause

First, you should make sure that your bad breath isn’t a sign of something worse. Bad breath is a symptom of many issues from dry mouth to gum disease. Your dentist can tell you if you have any symptoms of a major dental health issue. 

If it’s not a dental or other health issue, it might just be your diet—some foods and spices can stick around long after dinner—or your dental hygiene habits—like skipping flossing.   

Up Your Brushing and Flossing Game

If poor dental hygiene is to blame for your halitosis, or even just stinky foods like onions and garlic, getting better at brushing and flossing can resolve bad breath. Food that gets trapped between teeth can be a major source of mouth odor, so brushing twice a day with good technique and flossing daily can keep your mouth clean and fresh.

Get Rid of Drying Products

Mouthwashes that contain alcohol could be contributing to your bad breath problem. While it seems like they give you fresh, minty breath, that effect is temporary. That’s because alcohol dries out your mouth. When your mouth is dry, bad-smelling bacteria can proliferate, without enough saliva to wash them away. Use a non-alcohol mouthwash, or just brush your teeth instead.

Stay Hydrated

Like we mentioned earlier, a dry mouth can lead to bad breath. Even if you’re not experiencing clinical dry mouth, just temporary dehydration, dryness can make the perfect environment for smelly mouth bacteria and tooth decay, which also can cause bad breath. Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water, not sugary or acidic drinks, can keep your bad breath to a minimum.

 

To keep your breath fresh and your mouth healthy, stop into Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry for a dental checkup!

What to Eat During Pregnancy to Ensure Your Baby Has Healthy Teeth

What to Eat During Pregnancy to Ensure Your Baby Has Healthy Teeth

Babies’ teeth begin developing in the womb between the third and sixth months of pregnancy. While nutrition during pregnancy is important for all forms of healthy fetal development, it’s important for the development of healthy teeth as well. To support healthy teeth in your baby, there are certain foods you should eat and some you should avoid. 

Eat

Dairy

Dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese have both protein and calcium, which support strong teeth for both you and your baby. If you are lactose-intolerant or allergic to dairy finding dairy substitutes that are high in protein and calcium or taking a (doctor-approved) calcium supplement can make up for the lack of dairy in your diet.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals that can help baby grow and develop and keep mom healthy as well. Additionally, vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, spinach and fruits like papaya, oranges, cantaloupe, bananas, and strawberries contain folic acid, a vital nutrient for reducing the risk of birth defects.

Fluoridated Water 

Fluoride protects tooth enamel, and water is the best hydrator out there. Either drink fluoridated water from a municipal source or well, or, if you prefer bottled water, ensure that the kind you buy contains fluoride.

 

Avoid

Sugary foods

Foods with lots of sugar like candies and baked goods—among other things, there’s sugar in almost any processed food you can buy—are just as bad for baby’s teeth as they are for yours. Remember, what you eat, the baby eats.  

High-sugar drinks

Juice, sports drinks, fruit drinks, and sodas are all extremely high in sugar, which is bad for your teeth and baby’s. Drink water or milk instead. 

 

For more information on oral health during pregnancy, check out Michigan’s Perinatal Oral Health Guidelines and get in touch with the dentists at Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

 

Can My Medications Affect My Teeth?

Can My Medications Affect My Teeth?

As medical science progresses, an increasing number of medications become available to patients to treat, prevent, and cure ailments and illnesses. But as anyone who has ever seen an advertisement for any medication knows, these drugs can have many and diverse side effects. And some of these side effects could cause more than just discomfort: they could affect your dental health.

So, can medications affect my teeth?

The short answer: Yes.

Many medications cause dry mouth, which causes bad breath, discomfort, and exacerbates tooth decay. When your mouth is dry, saliva isn’t breaking down acids and other substances that can erode your enamel. It also means that your mouth is more susceptible to bacteria that cause cavities, infections, and gum disease.

Medication side effects are a top cause of dry mouth, and hundreds of medications have dry mouth as a side effect. Some medications that commonly cause dry mouth are allergy medications, decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, diuretics, appetite suppressants, and diet pills, urinary incontinence medication, and even radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

How can I protect my teeth?

If you’re experiencing dry mouth as a side effect of a medication you’re taking, it’s important that you discuss the issue with both your doctor and your dentist in order to ensure that your dental health is maintained while maintaining your bodily and mental health as well. Sometimes this may mean that your doctor will put you on a different medication, and other times, it may be necessary to keep taking your current medication and add treatment for your dry mouth.

Even if you’re taking a medication that lists dry mouth as a symptom, that doesn’t mean that your dry mouth is caused by the medication. Dry mouth has other causes, such as mouth-breathing, snoring, or thrush. It can also be a symptom of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, nerve damage, strokes, or autoimmune disorders. This is why it is crucial to address you dry mouth with your doctor and dentist, to ensure that there is no major underlying health problem.

How is dry mouth treated?

Treatment for dry mouth can include specially-formulated mouthwashes or rinses, using a humidifier in your home, dietary changes like cutting back on drying foods (particularly salty foods), and lifestyle changes like cutting back on tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine. Your dentist can help determine the best course of action for managing your dry mouth symptoms

To find out if your medication might be causing dry mouth or other dental issues, make an appointment with a dentist at Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.

What’s the Best Kind of Toothbrush?

What’s the Best Kind of Toothbrush?

Pretty much every toothbrush out there, except for the store brand toothbrushes, claim to be dentist recommended. But how can four out of five dentists recommend every different kind of toothbrush? The math doesn’t add up. How do you know what’s the best kind of toothbrush?

… it depends.

That’s probably not the answer that you were expecting, but the truth is that the best kind of toothbrush depends on the individual, their mouth, their brushing habits, and their oral health.

Manual vs. Electric

The jury is still out on whether electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque and preventing gum disease. So in the manual vs. electric debate, it boils down to user comfort and cost. Electric toothbrushes and replacement heads can cost more than manual, disposable toothbrushes, but they can also include useful features and add-ons like a water pick or a timer to ensure that you brush for the two full minutes suggested. Electric toothbrushes can also be beneficial for people with difficulty holding small objects, such as those with arthritis, while other users may find the noise or vibrations uncomfortable.

Bristle Type

Whether manual or electric, your toothbrush bristles are an important consideration. Bristles generally come in soft, medium, and hard. For most people, soft bristles are the best choice. For those who are very vigorous brushers, having bristles that are too hard can result in overbrushing, which can cause damage to enamel and gums.

Size

Size also matters, here. Too big of a toothbrush head can reduce maneuverability and prevent you from reaching the backs of your molars and other difficult to reach places in the mouth. For most adults, a toothbrush with a head that is one inch long by half an inch wide will be the right size, though smaller is available if you have a very small mouth. Young children should be using smaller toothbrushes as well, specifically the infant and children’s sizes that are appropriate to their ages.

Replacement

More importantly than the make and model of your toothbrush is that you regularly replace it, or in the case of an electric toothbrush, that you replace the brush head. Toothbrush bristles can wear down, so the American Dental Association recommends that you replace your toothbrush every three to four months (or when the bristles begin to fray). If you’re a hard brusher or your child chews on their toothbrush, you may be replacing the brush or head more often.

In addition to brushing, keep your teeth healthy with regular dental checkups. Schedule yours with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry today!

 

How Thumbsucking Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth

How Thumbsucking Can Affect Your Child’s Teeth

Babies and young children often suck on their thumbs and other objects. It is a natural reflex and can give them a sense of security. But since the beginning of time, parents have worried that thumbsucking and using pacifiers could harm their child’s teeth. So, how can thumbsucking affect your child’s teeth?

When does thumbsucking become a problem?

For babies without any teeth, thumbsucking does not present much of a problem. Even after a few teeth come in, thumbsucking still isn’t a major issue necessarily, as those teeth are not permanent teeth. But when it comes to permanent teeth, thumbsucking can affect the position and crookedness of teeth or the palate (the roof of the mouth). So, the child’s age is a factor. Many children stop sucking their thumbs before the permanent front teeth erupt. It is important that before those teeth come in that the habit of thumbsucking is broken.

Additionally, how the child sucks their thumb or pacifier can affect whether dental issues arise. Children who vigorously suck on their thumb are more likely to have affected teeth versus children who more passively suck their thumb or just rest it in their mouths.

How do you stop your child from thumbsucking?

No doubt you’ve heard of many home remedies to thumb sucking. Depending on the age of the child, different methods may be effective.

  • Help your child replace thumbsucking with a new method of self-soothing, like hugging a favorite stuffed animal
  • Offer positive reinforcement for not thumbsucking
  • Have your dentist explain the potential consequences of thumbsucking to the child
  • Cover the thumb or thumbnail with a bitter substance (ask your dentist for recommendations)
  • Place a bandage on the thumb
  • Cover the hand with a sock at night to prevent the child from thumbsucking in his or her sleep

Thumbsucking is a difficult habit to break, especially in very young children, but if left unchecked it could lead to dental problems in the future. If you’re concerned that your child’s dependence on sucking their thumb or pacifier might be harming their teeth, talk to their dentist to find out potential issues and solutions appropriate to your child’s age and situation.

To keep your child’s teeth healthy, schedule their regular dental checkups with Weber, Mountford & Ruszkowski Family Dentistry.