• 01 OCT 15
    • 0

    10 Causes of Swollen Gums

    Know When Symptoms are Superficial or Serious and What To Do


    Everyone knows you’re supposed to take care of your teeth. But your gums, too? Who worries if their gums are swollen or a little red? Turns out you should! Swollen gums are a lot more than an uncomfortable annoyance; they could signal something more serious like gum disease.

    Gums are full of blood vessels that carry oxygen and food to the roots of the teeth and other connecting parts of the mouth. Hence, you have to take care of your gums if you want to have good oral health.

    Swelling anywhere in the body is not normal, and is actually a red flag to alert you that something is going on and needs to be addressed. Catching swollen gums early on and reversing it as soon as possible is the best way to prevent advancement of other serious diseases like periodontitis (gum disease), a condition that causes tooth loss.


    Symptoms of Swollen Gums

    What do swollen gums look like, and how do you tell them apart from healthy gingival tissue? The key is to know what healthy gums look like and being able to spot the areas where inflammation first comes into play.

    Healthy Gums

    • Light pink, coral, or natural tissue pigmentation throughout mouth
    • Smooth and flat along the gum lines
    • Pointed papilla (small protrusion) between each tooth
    • Don’t bleed when you brush or floss
    • No pain


    Inflamed (Swollen) Gums

    • Typically dark pink, red, blue or purple
    • Rolled margin along the teeth
    • Blunted papilla between the teeth, or no papilla at all (black triangle)
    • Bleeding when you brush or floss
    • Uncomfortable to severe pain


    What Causes Swollen Gums?

    Most swelling of the gums is due to one cause: bacterial plaque. That white, filmy debris that congregates along the gum lines and on the surface of your teeth causes not only cavities, but gum infections as well. That’s because the plaque builds up along the margin of the gum lines and also begins to creep in underneath the gum pocket, infecting the gums from the inside out.

    Swollen gums aren’t just caused by gum disease. Here are 10 0ther culprits that can create swollen sore gums:

    Incorrect brushing/flossing techniques. Most of us know poor oral hygiene is a common cause of swollen gums. But incorrect brushing or flossing techniques, like flossing your teeth too roughly, could cause swelling as well.

    Oral infections. Both viruses and fungi can affect your oral health and cause irritated gums. The attack of STDs like herpes or oral thrush, may be also reasons for gum swelling if not treated immediately.

    Hormonal changes. The change in hormone levels may also cause swollen gums. This is a common sighting during pregnancy, menstruation, puberty, or menopause when your body undergoes several changes. This may also increase blood flow to your gums, making them tender and become irritated easily.

    Mouth ulcers. Canker sores and mouth ulcers can cause painful gums. These sores usually have a whitish center with red edges. If you have any pre-existing autoimmune disease, you’re more likely to develop canker sores that cause swollen gums.

    Malnutrition/vitamin deficiency. In general, oral health is dependent more on the availability of vitamins and minerals especially that of B vitamins and vitamin C. When there is an acute shortage of Vitamin C, it causes scurvy, which leading to anemia and gum diseases. Thus, malnutrition becomes a cause of swollen gums.

    Irritation. Allergic reactions to ingredients in toothpaste, food, medications, or even metal dental restorations can cause irritation, redness, or swelling of the gum tissue.

    Food. Food that becomes lodged under the gums or between teeth can be hard to clean out, especially if it happens frequently throughout the day.

    Burns. Burning your mouth on foods like pizza, nachos, or coffee can create a temporary area of trauma in the mouth. These usually only last 10-14 days, and are directly related to the heat of the food on your gum tissue.

    Braces or Faulty Dental Restorations. When you undergo tooth restorations and rough margins are found along the edges of the restoration materials, these provide enough space for plaque to form and are not able to be cleaned easily. These areas become heavily infected and become chronically inflamed giving place to the swelling of your gums.

    Ill-fitting dentures or partials can also rub the tissues and cause sores or swelling.

    Tooth misalignment. When a misformed tooth is not treated, this condition becomes very serious and affects your oral health with frequent flares of infection manifested as swollen gums.

    How Are Swollen Gums Treated?

    The best dental treatment for swollen sore gums is removal of plaque and tartar buildup. Regular dental cleanings and other procedures such as scaling and root planing can stop gingivitis in its tracks and actually reverse the effects of gum disease. If you suffer from a more advanced form of periodontal disease, your dentist may recommend ongoing treatment for swollen and bleeding gums.


    How to Prevent Swollen Gums

    To avoid dealing with pain associated with swollen gums, you should take the following steps to avoid it from happening in the first place.

    Brush and floss teeth twice a day. Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day will go a long way in maintaining proper oral hygiene and avoiding gum swelling.

    Maintain a healthy and well-balanced diet. It’s particularly important to maintain a healthy level of vitamins B and C, folic acid as well as calcium. You can simply include a variety of vegetables and fruits in your diet and take supplemental vitamins to encourage stronger teeth and healthier gums.

    Drink a lot of water. Drink plenty of water, especially after you eat something because it will not only help flush the food residue as well as bacteria in your mouth, reducing the risk of developing plaque in mouth.

    Reduce stress and sleep well. Stress is associated with your dental health according to the Academy of General Dentistry; it affects your immune system and makes it difficult for your body to combat bacteria.

    Have regular dental check-ups. See your dentist regularly to ensure everything is in a perfect condition and doesn’t require any treatment. And make sure to visit your dentist if your gum problems cause too much pain or persist. Your dentist not only can find out what causes your swollen gums, he can also help your gums problems heal faster.


    Sources: Med-Health.net, Worldental.org, 1800dentist.com

    • 24 SEP 15
    • 0

    At Home or Professional Teeth Whitening?

    A Dark Side to DIY Whitening: Why Your Dentist Offers the Best Results

    At-home whiteners are easy to use and relatively cheap. But if your teeth or gums are sensitive, custom-made trays that you get at your dentist’s office will help you avoid irritation. This is just one great reason to see your dentist for keeping your smile as white as it can be.

    Loving Couple Smiling Together At HomeIt comes as no surprise that a major Do-It-Yourself (DIY) trend is teeth whitening or bleaching. Although pharmacy-sold whitening can often improve the shade of your teeth, the disadvantages of over-the-counter kits far outweigh the benefits.  For more effective and safer results, it’s recommended that you ask your dentist to perform in-office teeth-whitening services.

    In-Office Procedures

    The most common one involves custom-made trays filled with bleaching solution that fit firmly over your teeth. Because your dentist supervises the procedure, a stronger bleaching solution can be used than what’s found in home kits.

    He may recommend doing everything in his office. In that case, a light or heat source may be used to speed up the process.

    Another option is to get fitted for custom-made whitening trays that you can use at home.

    If you’re considering whitening your teeth without the help of a professional, here are some potential risks and side effects that you should be aware of:


    Risks of DIY Whitening


    Harmful to the Gum Line

    Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits contain varying levels of peroxides, otherwise known as bleach. If the product isn’t applied properly, the peroxide can cause serious damage to your gum line.

    The problem that customers face is that DIY teeth-whitening products come as one size fits all.  As our mouths come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, DIY whitening strips or gel trays can often be too big or small. Either scenario can lead to unnecessary contact with your gum line. The last thing you want is bleach to burn your gums – they’re especially sensitive and full of thousands of susceptible nerve endings.

    In a dentist’s office, whitening trays are custom made for each patient in order to avoid the gums. As there’s a lesser risk of gum contact, they can use higher concentration of peroxides in stronger gels that ultimately yield better, whiter results.

    Aggravated Dental Problems

    If applied at the wrong time, do-it-yourself teeth whitening kits can make pre-existing dental problems worse.  The bleach from the kits can find its way into any abscess of the mouth and cause immediate pain – or worse, an infection.

    It is important to make an appointment with your dentist before considering DIY teeth-whitening products. They can check for any cavities or gum disease that could be aggravated by the bleach. If you have a severe cavity, the bleach can travel as far as the root of the tooth and may lead to requiring root-canal therapy.

    If there’s pre-existing gum disease like gingivitis or periodontitis, the bleach will burn the inflamed gums and even cause the loss of soft tissue. Aggravated gum disease could lead to serious illness as the bacteria from the gums can find its way to other parts of the body.

    Spotted/Weak Results

    Without the help of a dental professional, teeth whitening can lead to spotted or ineffective results. Most DIY treatments contain bleach concentrations between 10%-20% – somewhere in between is the safest bet for a bleaching agent. However, a large number of DIY teeth whitening kits don’t list the concentration on their box, making it impossible for the customer to choose a strength that’s sensitive to their oral health.

    As users can’t tell how strong the bleaching product is, they may pick one with a lower concentration that produces weak or ineffective results. As it’s difficult to get a full view of our teeth, it’s common for users to miss patches when applying the gel or strips.

    Damage to Tooth Enamel

    Enamel is the protective layer around our teeth that protects it from daily forces like chewing, talking, biting and grinding. It is the hardest tissue in our body, but can be stained by things like caffeine, tobacco and food. These yellow-colored spots are one of the primary reasons why people whiten their teeth.

    DIY teeth whitening kits are known to contain sodium bicarbonate and hydrogen peroxide – two chemicals that, if not applied properly, can cause erosion of the tooth enamel. If the enamel wears away, the layer of yellow dentin underneath becomes exposed and extreme pain becomes inevitable.

    See Your Dentist

    If you still decide to try over-the-counter teeth whitening, ask your dentist for more information or recommendations on which brand to use. They should also give you a full dental examination to make sure you don’t have any pre-existing problems. Whether you or a professional apply the product, it’s important that you’re educated on the risks with a clean bill of oral health.

    Professional solutions used by your dentist are stronger than those in over-the-counter kits, so your teeth will whiten more quickly. He or she can also make sure that sensitive gums don’t get more irritated.


    Sources: Worldental.org, WebMD

    • 17 SEP 15
    • 0

    Minnesota Apple Orchards Yield Bumper Crop of Family Fun

    These 15 Apple Orchards are a Ripe Pick for Families


    As seasons change the air gets a bit crisper like the apples across Minnesota orchards. Favorable weather has created a bumper crop of high quality apples across the state and fall festivities for the whole family.

    iStock_000028328950Large - apple orchards 2015“The quality this year is just off the charts. It’s been fantastic. We are getting high quality apples off a lot of the trees,” says JP Jacobson, the president of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association.

    “Minnesota is one of the best apple-growing states across the country. We have a really nice cool climate. There are different varieties that respond better to cool climates, like Honeycrisp, Sweet Tango and Haralson that were bred and raised in Minnesota. They do better here,” Jacobson said.

    You can also find a high yield of family fun with many orchards offering pick-your-own apples, fresh cider, pumpkins, fall raspberries and prize-winning bakeries. Outdoor activities include crop mazes, petting zoos and hay rides.

    We’ve compiled a list of 15 of the best apple orchards for family fun in the Twin Cities area. Also below are links to three websites that feature lists and maps for just about every apple orchard in Minnesota.

    Enjoy the fall and we hope to see you’ll join us in taking part in a Minnesota tradition!


    Apple Orchard Resources


    Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown offers a free statewide guide to more than 100 apple orchards.


    Orange Pippin is a comprehensive resource for apples and orchards.


    The Apple Journal has an extensive list of orchards.



    Twin Cities Apple Orchards


    Aamodt’s Apple Farm, Stillwater

    Bagged and pick-your-own apples, cider, bakery with pies and more, bratwurst, tractor-pulled wagon and kiddie train rides, hay bale maze, goat pen, and pedal tractors and trikes for little kids. Aamodt’s has scenic hot air balloon rides and a neat apple barn with bakery to select some yummy treats to take home. Plus an added bonus is St. Croix Vineyard has a tasting room a few steps away. Phone: 651-439-3127



    Afton Apple Orchards, Afton

    Bagged and pick-your-own apples, fall raspberries, pumpkins, wagon rides, 15-acre corn maze, straw bale maze, straw mountain, tire hill, petting farm, “train” rides and bakery stocked with pies, pastries and jams. Phone: 651-436-8385



    Apple Jack Orchards, Delano

    A cheerful, family-run orchard, with lots of varieties of apples, including the latest University of Minnesota apple, SweeTango. There’s lots of things to do for children, like a play area, petting zoo, and wagon rides all week, and entertainment and live music are added at the weekend.

    Phone: 763 972-6673



    Anoka County Farms, Ham Lake

    This farm has plenty of things to do, to turn apple picking into a full family day out. Hay rides, corn maze, petting zoo, food for sale, pony rides, pumpkin patch, and all the classic fall farm entertainment.

    Phone: 763-427-0000



    Applewood Orchard, Lakeville

    Bagged and pick-your-own apples, fall raspberries, 8-acre corn maze, hedge maze for kids, wagon rides, haystack and store with baked goods and jams.

    Phone: 952-985-5425



    Emma Krumbee’s Orchard and Farm, Belle Plaine

    Lots of fall attractions at this popular farm include pick-your-own apples, petting zoo, maze, restaurant, and an annual scarecrow festival. Take a tractor ride out to the apple orchards to pick your own apples. There is an admission charge for some attractions at the farm.

    Phone: 952-873-4334



    Fireside Orchard and Gardens, Northfield

    This apple orchard, about 40 minutes south of Minneapolis, also grows plenty of Halloween pumpkins, and has a collection of vintage tractors to admire.

    Phone: 507-663-1376



    Homestead Orchard, Maple Plain

    Claiming to be the oldest, and largest apple orchard in the area, with 8,000 trees. As well as Homestead Orchard’s vast apple orchard, there is also a pumpkin patch, plus a petting zoo, free hayrides, jumping castle and straw pile. Fall fun at its finest. (Note: They don’t have a website, but you can find them on Facebook and on Yelp).

    Phone: 763 479-3186



    McDougall’s Apple Junction, Hastings

    McDougalls, in a scenic St. Croix Valley location, has pre-picked apples for sale, as well as a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, a petting zoo, a children’s playground, grilled apple brats, rides and a corn maze.

    Phone: 651-480-4701

    McDougalls Apple Orchard


    Minnesota Harvest Apple, Jordan

    Not just apples at this orchard: this farm has a petting zoo, playground, pumpkin patch, a corn maze, horse rides, live music and seasonal entertainment plus apples galore.

    Phone: 952-492-2785



    Minnetonka Orchards, Mound

    This apple orchard is a popular destination with lots of attractions, hayrides, playground, seasonal events and entertainment. Minnetonka Orchards has an entrance charge, but only on the weekends, so the thrifty can save by visiting during the week.

    Phone: 763-479-6530



    Natura Farms, Marine-on-St. Croix

    Pick your own apples at Natura Farm, as well as other seasonal produce like red raspberries and grapes.

    Phone: 651 433-5850



    Pine Tree Apple Orchard, White Bear Lake

    Bagged apples, pumpkins, corn maze, pony rides, live music and bakery stocked with pies, caramel apples and more.

    Phone: 651-429-7202



    Pleasant Valley Orchard, Taylors Falls

    The orchard offers sweeping views of the St. Croix Valley in full fall dress. Apple shed, vintage barn, lots of apples, bakery items and gift shop, pick-your-own weekends, hayrides, farm animals, kid’s corral, nature trail, and picnic area.

    Phone: 651-257-9159



    Whistling Well Farm, Hastings

    Bagged and pick-your-own apples, mums, pumpkins, a chicken coop to explore and a shop stocked with local honey, jams, corn shocks, gourds and fall decorations.
    Phone: 651-998-0301



    SOURCES: Minnesota Department of Agriculture, CBS Minneapolis, Star Tribune, Apple Journal




    • 16 SEP 15
    • 0

    Root Canals: Facts and Fiction

    Not as Painful as You Might Think and Important for a Healthy Smile

    Ever hear someone say’ “I’d rather have a root canal than do that,” referring to undergoing an excruciating dental process instead of do something even more horrible? The truth is most people report less pain than they thought after the procedure. Often the say it was like getting a simple filling or crown. Also, the benefits of having a root canal are enormous for lasting oral health.

    2907712_illustration unapphy tooth


    A root canal is a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth. The procedure involves removing the damaged area of the tooth (the pulp), cleaning and disinfecting it and then filling and sealing it. The common causes affecting the pulp are a cracked tooth, a deep cavity, repeated dental treatment to the tooth or trauma. The term “root canal” comes from cleaning of the canals inside the tooth’s root.


    Root Canal Process
    Steps that occur over a few visits to the dentist:

    X-ray – if a dentist suspects you may need a root canal, he will first take X-rays or examine existing X-rays to show where the decay is located.

    Anesthesia – local anesthesia is administered to the affected tooth. Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is no more painful than a filling.

    Pulpectomy – an opening is made and the diseased tooth pulp is removed.

    Filling – the roots that have been opened (to get rid of the disease pulp) are filled and sealed off with cement.


    Four Advantages of Root Canal

    The fear of having the root of your tooth removed and replaced is unreasonable in many ways. Contrary to what you might believe, root canals are generally good things. They can help to prevent you from losing teeth, prevent infection and help the overall health of your mouth.

    Inflammation Relief

    Pulpitis occurs when the soft nerve tissue inside of the tooth, otherwise known as the nerve, becomes inflamed. Given the tight confines of this nerve, this can lead to painful aches when biting or drinking liquids that are cold or hot.

    In most cases of pulpitis, the only way to stop the pain and inflammation is to remove the pulp. You might suffer without the root canal procedure.

    Infection Control

    Due to the limited blood flow that the pulp receives, it is rarely able to recover from infections. This allows bacteria to take hold and fester within the tooth.

    Even when the bacteria is treated, pain may still persist due to the partial death of the pulp. This is another situation where a root canal is advantageous.

    Decay Deterrent

    When the damage to the pulp cannot be reversed tissue will gradually decay due to its inability to repair itself efficiently. This can spread to the underlying gum and bone tissue to affect other teeth. The dead tissue becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.

    Root canals can stop further damage to your mouth.


    The last major reason to reconsider that root canal concerns how it can prevent problems from occurring. Dentists recommend patients who are at risk for further pulp complications to undergo root canals for the affected teeth.

    This caution can prevent asymptomatic abscesses, which lack pain, from developing into conditions that affect the remainder of your teeth and your mouth’s health. A root canal may be the one thing that saves the rest of your mouth from pain and more costly dental work.


    Myths about Root Canal

    Root canal is usually painful.
    When people are told that they need a root canal treatment, they usually think about pain. However, the pain they feel is caused by an infection in the tooth, not by root canal treatment. A root canal is done to eliminate that pain. The root canal procedure itself is painless. A local anesthetic numbs the tooth and the surrounding area. Many people may be afraid to have a root canal because they are anxious about having dental work done. Dentists can provide calming medicines, such as nitrous oxide.

    Why bother getting a root canal done when I’m just going to need the tooth taken out eventually?
    It is not correct to assume that the treated tooth will eventually need to be extracted. In fact, most root canal treatments are successful and result in the tooth being saved.

    I’m not feeling any pain, so I don’t really need a root canal.
    Many teeth that need root canal therapy will not cause pain. But that does not mean the tooth is okay. Your dentist and endodontist have ways to see if the tooth’s pulp is damaged or infected. If it is, then you will need root canal treatment, even if the tooth doesn’t hurt. If you see something near a damaged tooth that looks like a pimple, see your dentist. The “pimple,” called a fistula, is a tunnel of tissue draining pus from an infection. There is no pain because the fistula keeps pressure from building in the tissue. It can come and go. The infection must be treated, and the tooth probably needs root canal treatment. Without treatment, nearby tissues will become infected.

    A root canal means I’m having the roots of my tooth, or my whole tooth, removed.
    The whole point of root canal therapy is to try to save a tooth, not to remove it. Your tooth and roots are not removed. The canals are cleaned and shaped on the inside only. The nerve tissue and pulp are removed along with some of the inside part of the root to ensure all the bacteria have been removed.


    How Successful Are Root Canals?

    Root canal treatment is highly successful; the procedure has more than a 95% success rate. Many teeth fixed with a root canal can last a lifetime.

    Also, because the final step of the root canal procedure is application of a restoration such as a crown or a filling, it will not be obvious to onlookers that a root canal was performed.


    Sources: Worldental.org, Colgate, WebMD

    • 09 SEP 15
    • 0

    Overcoming Dental Fear and Anxiety

    Tips for Taking Control of your Dental Anxiety

    Fear and severe anxiety are the reactions of as many as a third of all Americans when they think about going to the dentist. Many will never go at all, and a lot of others will go to the dentist only when absolutely necessary.

    However, good oral health is important to your overall health and quality of life. So if you suffer from dental anxiety of fear, here are some tips and ideas that may help you overcome those obstacles and see one of our dentists at Personal Care Dentistry.


    woman frowningHow to Overcome Common Reasons for Dental Anxiety

    1. Fear of the Unknown

    Schedule a meeting time with your dentist to just talk over the procedures and help you better understand what is going to be done and how long it should take. Having knowledge of the process and what to expect can help calm anxiety.

    1. Fear of Dental Equipment

    Sometimes, the scariest part of the dental visit is having those strange, sharp, metal tools stuck into your mouth. What can help ease this fear is to ask to hold the tools first, just so they don’t seem so foreign.

    1. Sensitive Gag Reflex

    People with a sensitive gag reflex may loathe the part of the dentist’s visit where those tabs are put in the mouth for the dental X-ray. These days, newer dentist offices offer digital X-rays.

    1. Fear of Loud Noises

    Those dental tools can be really loud, and the noise can stir up fear in some people. So, consider wearing earplugs or noise-canceling headphones to block out the sound.

    1. Feeling Uncomfortable Lying Back In a Dentist’s Chair

    Some people may be uncomfortable with something as simple as lying back in the dentist’s chair, due to a bad back or some control issues. A simple remedy may be for the dentist to only put the patient half-back so that it’s more comfortable. Or, a dentist could provide positioning pillows for people who feel aches and pains for being in a laid-back position.

    1. Unable To Breathe Through the Nose

    Are you a mouth-breather, who feels like you’re being stifled if you can only breathe through your nose? That could be an issue at a dentist visit, where the dentist must work in the mouth, which can make mouth-breathing hard.

    Nasal strips can help patients to help them breathe through their nose. Or, nitrous oxide can help you relax and breathe better – all depending on the situation.


    Taking Charge

    Tell your dentist you are afraid, even when setting up an appointment and make sure the dentist is prepared to listen. If you can’t talk about it you can’t get over it.

    Chances are, visiting a dentist won’t be nearly as painful as you expect. Surveys of patients before and after the most dreaded procedures – such as a root canal or wisdom tooth extraction – have found that they anticipated much more discomfort than they actually experienced.

    Here are a few tips that may help you overcome your fear of the dentist:

    Go to that first visit with someone you trust, such as a close relative or friend who has no fear of dentists.

    Seek distraction while in the dentist’s chair. Listen to your own music on headphones.

    Try relaxation techniques like controlled breathing — taking a big breath, holding it, and letting it out very slowly, like you are a leaky tire. This will slow your heartbeat and relax your muscles. Another technique is progressive muscle relaxation, which involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in turn.

    Review with your dentist which sedatives are available or appropriate. Options can include local anesthetic, nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”), oral sedatives, and intravenous sedation.

    The best dentists use simple methods to enhance that feeling of control:

    They gently explain what the patient will soon feel, and for about how long.

    They frequently ask the patient for permission to continue.

    They give the patient the opportunity to stop the procedure at any time the patient feels uncomfortable.

    They make time for breaks as requested.

    Give us a call at Personal Care Dentistry and make an appointment to meet with one of our dentists to discuss your dental fear and anxiety and how our practice can help you reduce or overcome your fear and get your oral health issues effectively resolved.

    Sources: WebMD, Huffington Post


    Does the thought of the whirring sound of a drill or previous painful experience have your stomach in knots before seeing a dentist? Read our blog on shaking dental phobia.



    • 03 SEP 15
    • 0

    The Importance of Getting Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned

    Oral Hygiene Begins at Home and Should Continue at the Dentist Office

    Regularly brushing and flossing are the most beneficial things you can do at home to minimize visits to the dentist for cavities or other nasty oral health issues. Most people have been brushing two or three times a day since childhood. But because tooth brushing is such a daily routine it’s easy to cut corners and not be as thorough as needed.

    iStock_000046368294Large - woman smilingWhen a dentist or dental hygienist cleans your teeth they remove soft (plaque) and hard (tartar, calculus, or stains) deposits from your teeth. The primary purpose of having your teeth cleaned is to prevent or delay the progression of cavities, gingivitis and periodontal (gum) diseases. Your dentist and hygienist examine your mouth in ways you can’t do on your own by standing in front of a bathroom mirror. They are professionally trained to spot issues and address them before they become serious. X-ray images may be taken and assist in making the tarter build up under the gums more visible. X-rays also show the current condition of the bone.

    Frequency of Professional Tooth Cleaning

    The frequency of professional teeth cleaning depends on the health of your teeth and gums. Healthy adults and children should have their teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. Your dentist may suggest additional visits if he or she sees signs of harmful conditions or lack of effective home cleaning.

    Reasons for Professional Tooth Cleaning

    Dental tooth cleaning can help prevent oral cancer. According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, someone dies from oral cancer every hour of every day in the United States alone. When you have your dental cleaning, your dentist is also screening you for oral cancer, which is highly curable if diagnosed early.

    Also, gum disease can be treated and reversed if diagnosed early. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissues and bone that keep your teeth in place and is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss. If treatment is not received, a more serious and advanced stage of gum disease may follow. Regular dental cleanings and check-ups, flossing daily and brushing twice a day are key factors in preventing gum disease.

    Three Ways to Detect Periodontal Disease

    X-Rays reveal the condition of the bone and tartar build up under gums.

    Clinical examination where your dentist can visually check the amount of plaque and tarter build up as well as the color and shape of the gums as indicators for gum disease.

    Measuring the pockets that form between the gums and teeth. Destructive bacteria contained in plaque and tarter cause the formation of these pockets. Any pocket that measures greater than 3mm is probably an indication of periodontal disease.

    Regular Tooth Cleaning

    During a regular tooth cleaning your dental hygienist uses instruments and techniques that safely remove plaque and tarter build up. A hygienist will also follow-up by polishing your teeth removing stains caused by things like coffee, tea and smoking. Polishing will further remove anything that may have been missed in the cleaning. The result is a whiter and brighter smile!

    Deep Cleaning – Scaling and Root Planing Treatment

    When there are deep pockets along the tooth roots due to gum disease and bone recession, it is impossible for the patient to properly clean and keep the gum tissue free of inflammation. A deep cleaning is necessary to remove the inflammation and debris and sometimes this would be done prior to gum surgery.

    Deep cleaning, or scaling and root planning, is normally performed by your dentist or dental hygienist in a couple of visits. The exact number of visits however depends on your dentist and the amount of tarter build up. Often your dentist will choose to administer local anesthetic to make the procedure virtually painless. The goal of the procedure is to eliminate the infection by removing the bacteria containing plaque and tarter that has attached to your teeth and their roots under the gum.

    The deep cleaning is either done manually or with an ultra-sonic instrument called a Cavitron, or sometimes a combination of the two. Both techniques loosen and remove plaque and tarter build up.

    In addition, antibacterial irrigants or local antibiotics such as Arestin may be used in conjunction with the cleaning procedure to further reduce the number of bacteria around the gums.

    Periodontal Follow-up Care

    Periodontal disease cannot currently be cured; it can only be controlled, so it is important to follow your dentist’s recommendations for follow-up maintenance and treatment. In addition to routine checkups, performing proper dental hygiene at home is of course also important to help prevent the reoccurrence of this destructive disease.

    Source: Worldental.org

    • 28 AUG 15
    • 0

    Preventing Tooth Infection

    Getting to the Root of a Major Health Issue

    A tooth infection starts simply enough from a cavity or by gingivitis (mild gum disease). Both conditions are easily treatable by your dentist, but if left unchecked can become serious health problems that can spread beyond complications in your mouth. Untreated cavities in a tooth will deepen and gum disease will spread. An abscess (an infection in the tooth’s root or between the gums) can develop and spread infection to the bone that supports the tooth.

    If further left untreated the tooth infection can cause the bacteria in the mouth to enter the bloodstream and infect heart valves. This condition affects and weakens the valves, making them susceptible to infection and causing life-threatening conditions.

    Types of Tooth Infections

    A tooth infection can be very painful or grow in your mouth without any signs of discomfort. There are several types of dental infections depending upon the area of invasion.

    Inside Your Tooth

    It starts in the living pulp tissue inside your tooth and comes from decay (a cavity) or severe irritation resulting from chronic infection. The natural defense mechanism breaks down because the blood vessel which transports antibodies and white blood cells gets destroyed.

    Therefore, when your tooth becomes infected, it will not recover, and the pulp tissue will die. The treatment for this condition is a root canal treatment. With a root canal treatment, the soft tissue inside your tooth is removed and replaced with a sealant material that keeps infection from seeping back into the tooth.

    In Bone Surrounding the Tooth

    A tooth abscess may or may not be painful; it is formed near the root of the tooth. When bacteria are in the bone, your body can fight them with antibodies and white blood cells.

    The problem is that there is a constant supply of new bacteria to the region from the dead tissue inside your tooth. Your body may or may not be successful in walling off the infected area, so an abscess can go on for years without hurting. But the risk of damage is great. The abscess can grow and spread to surrounding roots of other teeth, and it can even cause the root of your tooth to be gradually dissolved.


    Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Infection

    See your dentist immediately if you notice:

    Out of control presence of pus- a thick yellowish white material made up of living and dead bacteria, white blood cells, and dead tissue. The appearance of a pimple in your mouth is a huge red flag.

    Pain when chewing.

    Tooth movement.

    Swelling of gums or cheeks.

    Discoloration of tooth or gums.


    Bitter taste in the mouth.


    What to Do Before You See Your Dentist

    If you can’t get to your dentist immediately, you can manage the pain by:

    Rinsing the mouth three or four times daily with a mixture of 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 liter warm water.

    Applying cold packs to the cheek to minimize the pain.



    Time is a big factor in whether a tooth is allowed to reach the point of infection. The longer the tooth sits with a problem, the higher chance that infection can occur and spread to become an abscess. Once a decayed, fractured, or sensitive tooth is noticed, taking the preventive steps to fix it early will help prevent bigger problems such as an abscessed tooth.


    Treatments for Serious Infection and Abscessed Tooth

    Draining the abscess – an incision is made into the swollen gum tissue.

    Root Canal Therapy – removes infected area and seals the tooth from further damage.

    Surgery – may be needed to remove the infected material from the bony tissue around the root.

    Extraction – the tooth can’t be saved and will need to be removed.

    If these systems and treatments don’t sound very nice (they’re not), consider ways to prevent these conditions. Most are obvious and easy ones.


    Preventing Tooth Infection

    Every day oral hygiene – Go figure, brushing and flossing twice daily are the first steps to preventing tooth infection.

    Regularly scheduled dental check-ups and cleanings are important. A dentist can see things in your mouth during an exam that you can’t see every day. Hygienist deep cleanings every six months are strong deterrents to nasty infections.

    Easy on the sweets – Sugar feeds bacteria that fuel the fire for infection.

    Use fluoridated drinking water – Strengthens teeth against infection agents like plaque and tarter.

    Replace your toothbrush every three months or before if the bristles are frayed – Infection causing bacteria can build-up on your toothbrush if not changed regularly.


    Most infections cause dental pain, but many remain silent and painless for years. You can have this tooth problem without feeling the dental abscess and without a toothache. Make sure to see your dentist every six months to prevent infection, potentially costly treatments involved and the more serious conditions related to abscess.


    Sources: worldental.org, mayoclinic.org



    • 20 AUG 15
    • 0

    Dental Emergency? Know How to Save Your Teeth

    Tips on How to Avoid Permanent Damage

    For all dental emergencies, get to your dentist immediately. The dentists at Personal Care Dentistry block time in their schedules for emergency patients. Call ahead and provide as much detail as you can about your condition. If the accident occurs when your dental office is not open, visit your local emergency room.

    Do not ignore the problem. Any dental emergency, like an injury to the teeth or gums, can be potentially serious. Ignoring an immediate dental issue can increase the risk of permanent damage as well as the need for more extensive and expensive treatment later on.


    Knocked-out Permanent or Adult Tooth

    Retrieve the tooth, hold it by the crown (the part that is usually exposed in the mouth), and rinse off the tooth root with water if it’s dirty. Do not scrub it or remove any attached tissue fragments. If possible, try to put the tooth back in place. make sure it’s facing the right way. Never force it into the socket. If it’s not possible to reinsert the tooth in the socket, put the tooth between your cheek and gums or in a small container of milk (or cup of water that contains a pinch of table salt, if milk is not available). Keep it moist at all times. You can also use a product containing cell growth medium, a tooth preservation product that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.

    In all cases, see your dentist as quickly as possible. Knocked out teeth have the highest chances of being saved if seen by the dentist and returned to their socket within 1 hour of being knocked out.

    A Child Knocks out a Tooth

    If the tooth is a baby tooth, the best thing to do is find the tooth, keep it moist and get to a dentist. Your dentist can see whether the entire tooth, or just part of it, came out. Your dentist can also determine whether to implant it again.

    If it is an adult tooth, follow the steps listed above.

    Extruded (partially dislodged) Tooth.

    See your dentist right away. Until you reach your dentist’s office, to relieve pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth or cheek in the affected area.

    Cracked, Chipped or Broken Tooth

    Immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area; rinse any broken pieces. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down. If there’s bleeding, apply gauze to the area for about 10 minutes or until the bleeding stops. Save any pieces of tooth and present them to your dentist.

    Acute Toothaches

    Rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do not put aspirin on the aching tooth because it may burn the gum tissue.

    Lost Filling

    As a temporary measure, stick a piece of sugarless gum into the cavity (sugar-filled gum will cause pain) or use an over-the-counter dental cement. See your dentist as soon as possible.

    Lost Crown

    If the crown falls off, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible and bring the crown with you. If you can’t get to the dentist right away and the tooth is causing pain, use a cotton swab to apply a little clove oil to the sensitive area (clove oil can be purchased at your local drug store or in the spice aisle of your grocery store). If possible, slip the crown back over the tooth. Before doing so, coat the inner surface with an over-the-counter dental cement, toothpaste, or denture adhesive, to help hold the crown in place. Do not use super glue!

    Broken Braces and Wires

    If a wire breaks or sticks out of a bracket or band and is poking your cheek, tongue, or gum, try using the eraser end of a pencil to push the wire into a more comfortable position. If you can’t reposition the wire, cover the end with orthodontic wax, a small cotton ball, or piece of gauze until you can get to your orthodontist’s office. Never cut the wire, as you could end up swallowing it or breathing it into your lungs.

    Loose Brackets and Bands

    Temporarily reattach loose braces with a small piece of orthodontic wax. Alternatively, place the wax over the braces to provide a cushion. See your orthodontist as soon as possible. If the problem is a loose band, save it and call your orthodontist for an appointment to have it re-cemented or replaced (and to have missing spacers replaced).


    Abscesses are a serious Infection that occur around the root of a tooth or in the space between the teeth and gums that can damage tissue and surrounding teeth. The infection could possibly spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

    Because of the serious oral and general health problems that can result from an abscess, see your dentist as soon as possible if you discover a pimple-like swelling on your gum that usually is painful. In the meantime, to ease the pain and draw the pus toward the surface, try rinsing your mouth with a mild salt water solution (1/2 teaspoon of table salt in 8 ounces of water) several times a day.

    Objects Stuck in the Mouth

    Try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments. The item might be painful or cause an infection, so see your dentist if you cannot remove it.

    Emergency While Traveling

    Use the Find a Dentist tool at MouthHealthy.org to locate an ADA member dentist near you.

    How to Avoid Injury to the Teeth:   

    Wear a mouth guard when participating in sports or recreational activities.

    Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth.

    NEVER use a sharp instrument on your teeth.

    Be Prepared

    Pack an emergency dental-care kit, including:

    Dentist’s phone numbers




    Small container with lid

    Ibuprofen (Not aspirin. Aspirin is an anticoagulant, which may cause excessive bleeding in a dental emergency.)

    The Save-A-Tooth emergency tooth preservation kit is also a smart addition to your first aid kit in case you lose a tooth unexpectedly.

    Sources: MouthHealthy.org/American Dental Association (ADA), Web MD, KnowYourTeeth.com


    • 12 AUG 15
    • 0

    Gingivitis? Keep It Out of Your Mouth!

    This Form of Periodontal Disease Can Lead to Inflammation and Infection…And Worse

    Gingivitis is a word that many people have heard, but not a lot of people know what it is or why you don’t want it in your mouth. Why? Because gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease that produces inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets (alveolar bone).

    iStock_000013963851Large - mouth pain asian womanGingivitis is due to the long-term effects of plaque deposits on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus, and food debris that develops on the exposed parts of the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth decay.

    If you do not remove plaque, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar (or calculus) that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen, and tender.

    The Following Raise Your Risk for Gingivitis:

    Poor dental hygiene

    Certain infections and body-wide (systemic) diseases

    Pregnancy (hormonal changes increase the sensitivity of the gums)

    Uncontrolled diabetes

    Misaligned teeth, rough edges of fillings, and ill-fitting or unclean mouth appliances (such as braces, dentures, bridges, and crowns). Use of certain medications, including phenytoin, bismuth, and some birth control pills

    Many people have some amount of gingivitis. It usually develops during puberty or early adulthood due to hormonal changes. It may persist or recur frequently, depending on the health of your teeth and gums.

    What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis?

    Bleeding gums (blood on toothbrush even with gentle brushing of the teeth)

    Bright red or red-purple appearance to gums

    Gums that are tender when touched, but otherwise painless

    Mouth sores

    Swollen gums

    Shiny appearance to gums

    How Do You Treat Gingivitis?

    The goal is to reduce inflammation. The best way to do this is for your dentist or dental hygienist to clean your teeth twice per year or more frequently for severe cases of gum disease. They may use different tools to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth. Careful oral hygiene is necessary after professional tooth cleaning. Any other related illnesses or conditions should be treated.

    How Do You Prevent Gingivitis?

    Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gingivitis. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist at Personal Care Dentistry to show you how to properly brush and floss your teeth.

    Special devices may be recommended if you are prone to plaque deposits. They include special toothpicks, toothbrushes, water irrigation, or other devices. You still must brush and floss your teeth regularly. Antiplaque or anti-tartar toothpastes or mouth rinses may also be recommended.

    Regular professional tooth cleaning is important to remove plaque that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing. Personal Care Dentistry recommends having your teeth professionally cleaned at least every 6 months.

    Source: ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

    • 06 AUG 15
    • 0

    What Are the 10 Biggest Causes of Sensitive Teeth?

    Tooth Pain Can Affect Your Eating, Drinking, and Breathing Habits

    Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients. When you have sensitive teeth, certain activities, such as brushing, flossing, eating and drinking, can cause sharp, temporary pain in your teeth. Sensitive teeth are typically the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots.

    In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.

    Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.


    10 Biggest Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

    Here’s why you could be experiencing this mouth malady:

    You brush with too much gusto. Sometimes tooth sensitivity comes from brushing with too much force or with too hard-bristled a toothbrush. Over time, you can wear down the protective layers of your teeth.

    You eat acidic foods. If the pathways to your nerves are exposed, acidic foods such as tomato sauce, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, and pickles can cause pain.

    You’re a tooth-grinder. Grinding your teeth can wear down the enamel, even though it’s the strongest substance in your body. By doing so, you expose the dentin. Talk to your dentist about finding a mouth guard that can stop you from grinding.

    You choose tooth-whitening toothpaste. Many manufacturers add tooth-whitening chemicals to their toothpaste formulas, and some people are more sensitive to them than others.

    You’re a mouthwash junkie. Like whitening toothpaste, some over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses contain alcohol and other chemicals that can make your teeth more sensitive — especially if your dentin’s exposed. Solution: Try neutral fluoride rinses — or simply skip the rinse and be more diligent about flossing and brushing.

    You’ve got gum disease. Receding gums, which are increasingly common with age (especially if you haven’t kept up with your dental health), can cause tooth sensitivity. If gum disease or gingivitis is the problem, your dentist may suggest a procedure to seal your teeth along with treating the gum disease itself.

    You have excessive plaque. The purpose of flossing and brushing is to remove plaque that forms after you eat. An excessive build-up of plaque can cause your enamel to wear away. Again, your teeth can become more sensitive as they lose their enamel protection.

    You’ve had a dental procedure. Teeth often become more sensitive after you’ve been in the dentist’s chair. It’s common to have some sensitivity after a root canal, an extraction, or the placement of a crown. If your sensitivity doesn’t disappear after a short time, another visit to your dentist is in order — it could be an infection.

    Your tooth is cracked. A chipped or cracked tooth can cause pain that goes beyond tooth sensitivity. Your dentist will need to evaluate your tooth and decide the right course of treatment, such as a cap or an extraction.

    There is decay around the edges of fillings. As you get older, fillings can weaken and fracture or leak around the edges. It’s easy for bacteria to accumulate in these tiny crevices, which causes acid build-up and enamel breakdown. See your dentist if you notice this type of tooth sensitivity between visits; in most cases, fillings can be easily replaced.


    Don’t Put Up With the Pain; See Your Dentist

    If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days and reacts to hot and cold temperatures, it’s best to get a diagnostic evaluation from your dentist to determine the extent of the problem. Before taking the situation into your own hands, an accurate diagnosis of tooth sensitivity is essential for effective treatment to eliminate pain. Because pain symptoms can be similar, some people might think that a tooth is sensitive, when instead, they actually have a cavity or abscess that’s not yet visible. Your dentist can identify or rule out any underlying causes of your tooth pain.


    Steps to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity

    The good news is there are many ways to control sensitive teeth. Depending on the circumstances, your dentist might recommend:

    Brush and floss regularly. Use proper brushing and flossing techniques to thoroughly clean all parts of your teeth and mouth.

    Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Brush gently and carefully around the gum line so you don’t remove gum tissue.

    Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Several brands are available. Regular use should make teeth less sensitive. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth usually contains a desensitizing agent that protects the exposed dentin by blocking the tubes in the teeth that are connected to nerves. In most cases, these products must be used on a regular basis for at least a month before any therapeutic benefits may be noticed. Another tip: Spread a thin layer on the exposed tooth roots with your finger or a Q-tip before you go to bed. Use a fluoridated toothpaste, not a tartar control one.

    Watch what you eat. Avoid lots of highly acidic foods and drinks, such as carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, wine and yogurt — all of which can remove small amounts of tooth enamel over time. When you drink acidic liquids, use a straw to limit contact with your teeth. After eating or drinking an acidic substance, drink milk or water to balance the acid levels in your mouth.

    Use fluoridated dental products. Using a fluoridated mouth rinse daily can decrease sensitivity. Ask your dentist about products available for home use.

    See your dentist every 6 months (or sooner, depending on your condition). Dentists have a variety of regimens to manage tooth hypersensitivity, including both in-office treatments and patient-applied products for home use.


    Sources: WebMD, Mayo Clinic, Everyday Health, MouthHealthy.org, KnowYourTeeth.com, American Dental Association (ADA)


    • 29 JUL 15
    • 0

    Can’t Afford Dental Care? You Can With This Plan

    Personal Care Dentistry’s Comprehensive Dental Care Plan May Be Just Right For You

    iStock_000030329140LargeYou can have quality dental care at an affordable cost even if you don’t have health or dental insurance. Personal Care Dentistry recently introduced its Comprehensive Dental Care Plan, which is an annual reduced-fee saving plan for families and individuals that allows all members to receive quality dental services at greatly reduced prices. Unlike conventional insurance, with the Personal Care Dentistry’s plan there are no deductibles, no yearly maximums, and no waiting periods to begin treatment. The Comprehensive Dental Care Plan  begins immediately on plan registration.


    Benefits include:

    Free simple teeth cleaning (up to two per year)

    Free two annual scheduled exams per year

    All X-rays needed to complete annual exam(s)

    Free initial teeth whitening trays and mini-kit. Subsequently one courtesy mini-kit at each renewal

    Free two fluoride treatments per year

    A 20% savings on all dental procedures

    A 15% savings on all implant and Invisalign procedures


    A Comprehensive Dental Care Plan membership is $349 and only $299 for each additional family member.

    Eligible family members include spouse and dependent children under the age of 19 (up to age 23 if dependent child is a full-time student). All Care Plan membership fees are due and payable at the time of registration and are non-refundable. Plan duration is for one year from registration date. All patient portions for services received are due at time of services in order to receive benefits. Interest-free payment plans of 6, 12 or 18 months are available on request with approved credit. Repayment duration is based on service totals. When a payment plan is used, your Care Plan members savings maximum will be reduced by the percent of interest charged to us based on the duration of repayment at 6, 12 or 18 months. A missed appointment fee of 25% of treatment total will be charged for all missed dental appointments. Please notify our office at least 48 hours in advance if you must change a scheduled appointment.

    Give us a call today and we can answer any questions you may have and get you enrolled in our Comprehensive Dental Care Plan.


    • 22 JUL 15
    • 0

    Beating Bad Breath

    Are You Among the More Than 80 Million People Who Suffer?

    Bad breath (also known as halitosis or malodor) can be embarrassing and tough on those around you. Some people don’t realize their breath could peel paint because others are afraid to tell them. You don’t have to distance the people around you with smelly mouth odor.

    iStock_000023288626Large - bad breath


    Do You Have Bad Breath?

    Bad breath is often caused by a buildup of bacteria in your mouth that causes inflammation and gives off noxious odors or gases that smell like sulfur — or worse.

    Everybody has nasty breath at some point, like when you get out of bed in the morning.

    Not sure if your breath is bad? The best way to find out is to ask a trusted friend or your significant other, “‘Does my breath smell?” Because it’s really hard to tell on your own. There’s also another way to know. It may seem a bit gross, but look at and smell your dental floss after you use it.

    If your toothbrush or floss smells bad, then there are foul odors in your mouth.


    What Causes Bad Breath?

    Studies show that about 80% of bad breath comes from an oral source. For instance, cavities or gum disease can lead to bad breath, as can tonsils that have trapped food particles; cracked fillings, and less-than-clean dentures.

    Several internal medical conditions also can cause your breath to go downhill fast. They include diabetes, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, and chronic bronchitis. You’ll want to see your doctor to rule out things like acid reflux, postnasal drip, and other causes of chronic dry mouth (xerostomia).

    If you’ve eliminated medical causes for your bad breath? Hit the kitchen for some bad breath battlers.


    Try these Bites for Better Breath

    Chew a handful of cloves, fennel seeds, or aniseeds. Their antiseptic qualities help fight halitosis-causing bacteria.

    Chew a piece of lemon or orange rind for a mouth- freshening burst of flavor. (Wash the rind thoroughly first.) The citric acid will stimulate the salivary glands—and fight bad breath.

    Chew a fresh sprig of parsley, basil, mint, or cilantro. The chlorophyll in these green plants neutralizes odors.

    Rinse with a 30-second mouthwash that is alcohol-free (unike many off-the-shelf products). Mix a cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda (which changes the pH level and fights odor in the mouth) and a few drops of antimicrobial peppermint essential oil. Don’t swallow it! (Yields several rinses.)

    Moisten your mouth. You can get tooth decay and bad breath if you don’t make enough saliva. If your mouth is dry, drink plenty of water during the day.


    Crunch Your Way to Better Breath

    Try this recipe from The Remedy Chicks (Linda B. White MD, Barbara H. Seeber and Barbara Brownell-Grogan) from EveryDayHealth.com.

    Raw crunchy foods clean the teeth. Apples contain pectin, which helps control food odors and promotes saliva production. Cinnamon is antimicrobial. Active cultures in yogurt help reduce odor-causing bacteria in the mouth.

    1 cup apple chunks
    1 cup grated carrot
    1 cup diced celery
    ½ cup dried cranberries
    ½ cup crushed walnuts
    3 to 5 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt
    Ground cinnamon

    PREPARATION AND USE: Mix the apple, carrot, celery, cranberries, and walnuts together in a large bowl. Add yogurt by the tablespoon to moisten the mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon. (Serves two.)


    Avoid Foods That Sour Your Breath.

    Onions and garlic are big offenders. But brushing after you eat them doesn’t help.

    “The substances that cause their bad smells make their way into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out,” says Richard Price, DMD, a spokesman for the American Dental Association.

    The best way to stop the problem? Don’t eat them, or at least avoid them before you go to work or see friends.


    Take Care of Your Mouth

    Keep your teeth and gums healthy with regular oral care. Gum disease and tooth decay causes bad breath. Bacteria gather in pockets at the base of teeth, which creates an odor.

    Brush your teeth twice a day.

    Floss daily.

    Brush or scrape your tongue.

    Visit your dentist.

    The best way to make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene is to visit your dentist regularly. If you have chronic bad breath, you should visit your dentist first, to rule out any dental problems. Or, if your dentist believes that the problem is caused from a systemic (internal) source such as an infection, he or she may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help remedy the cause of the problem.


    Sources: ADA, Web MD, Delta Dental, EveryDayHealth.com