What Causes Bad Breath?

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry, Gum Disease, Oral Health

bad breathWhile bad breath can be embarrassing, there may be a bigger cause for concern if it’s something that affects you every day. The team at our dental office in Rocky Mount knows that bad breath can be a temporary problem… or… even a sign of something more serious. Join us as we look at some of the main things that cause bad breath and also some ways that you can help get rid of it.

Cause #1: Dry Mouth.

Dry mouth is something that can initially appear as a minor problem that comes along with some discomfort. But the truth is, when there isn’t enough saliva in the mouth to rinse away bacteria, they can build up and cause some seriously bad breath and other oral health problems such as decay.

What You Can Do: Dry mouth can be caused by medications, or it could also be hereditary. Treatment would vary depending on the cause of your dry mouth, but the easiest way to help is to make sure to drink plenty of water every day. Keeping your mouth hydrated is an important step in keeping it healthy. If you suspect medications are causing dry mouth and bad breath, talk with your doctor about other potential solutions.

Cause #2: Foods

Perhaps the leading cause of temporary bad breath is the foods we eat. Potent foods such as garlic, onions, or fish can pack a heavy odor that can linger on our breath even after we’re done eating. Many times this type of bad breath will go away over time and isn’t cause for concern.

What You Can Do: To help make the stench caused by food disappear faster, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum. Not only will the minty flavor help mask any lingering food smells, but gum can also help stimulate saliva production and help rinse away bacteria or food particles. If you don’t have gum, swishing with water or snacking on apples or carrots can help.  

Cause #3: Gum Disease.

If your bad breath stays around long after you’ve eaten and it’s become an everyday thing for you, we recommend seeing your dentist in Rocky Mount as soon as possible. Chronic bad breath can be an early warning sign of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that can lead to tooth loss and other concerns throughout the body such as heart disease.

What You Can Do: The best way to prevent gum disease and the bad breath that tends to go with it is to brush and floss daily and to see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings. However, if you already have gum disease, it’s crucial to get help sooner rather than later while treatment in reversing the disease is still highly successful.

Bad breath isn’t something that you have to live with. In fact, you shouldn’t take bad breath lightly. If you’re concerned about your bad breath and are looking for a solution, we welcome you to call our Rocky Mount dental office to schedule an appointment with us today. We will help find the cause of your bad breath and work with you to cure it.

Smoking and Your Oral Health

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry, Gum Disease, Oral Cancer, Oral Health

man smokingBy now we all know that smoking is bad for our health. It increases the risk for cancer, heart disease, and numerous other problems throughout the body. Your mouth is no exception. This November, during the Great American Smokeout sponsored by the American Cancer Society, our dental office in Rocky Mount wants to help the cause of moving towards a smoke-free life by providing our community members with some more reasons to quit.

How Smoking Affects Your Oral Health

One of the commonly overlooked dangers of smoking is how it affects oral health. But it’s certainly a concern for your dentist in Rocky Mount. The truth is, several oral health problems are directly related to smoking, and continuing to smoke can put you at increased risk for:

Tips to Quit

Smoking is addictive and therefore not easy to quit. Some people even try quitting multiple times before they succeed at never picking up another cigarette. We understand how difficult quitting can be and are here to provide support for anyone looking to improve their health by never lighting up again.

  • Find a Support Team. Trying to do something as difficult as quitting smoking isn’t easy to do on your own. Sometimes it’s made easier by finding trusted friends, family members, or health professionals to help. Make sure your chosen quit team can be supportive in the way you need them to be and set up a plan with them.
  • Identify Your Reasons to Quit. Writing out a physical list of why you want to quit smoking can be a great first step to success. Seeing your reasons on paper may help them feel more ‘real.’ When you have a strong craving, get out your list and remind yourself all of the reasons why quitting is important.
  • Know Your Triggers. Part of what can make quitting so difficult is that smokers often develop a routine to when they smoke — on the car ride to work, when drinking alcohol, drinking coffee in the morning, to name a few. While some triggers may be harder to avoid than others, try your best to steer clear of anything that will make you want to light up.
  • Find Alternatives. Another thing that makes it difficult to quit smoking is that smokers get so used to having something in their hand that when they suddenly don’t, it feels uncomfortable. Keep your hands busy by holding a pencil or straw. This can mimic the feeling of a cigarette and ease the mind.

This year’s Great American Smokeout can be your time to finally quit smoking. On November 15, make a plan to quit and stick to it. Select a quit date and take the steps to become smoke free by that date. Your physician, along with our Rocky Mount dental office, can also provide you with additional ways to help.

Oral Health for Men

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry, Gum Disease, Oral Health

men's health monthThe team at our dental office in Rocky Mount encourages all of our patients to see us for a checkup twice a year. But research shows that the American male population doesn’t typically tend to follow that rule of thumb. So this month, in honor of Men’s Health Month, we want to help men understand why these bi-annual dental appointments are so important.

It’s All About Prevention

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many men skip or totally forego the recommendation to see their dentist in Rocky Mount every six months. Instead, they only schedule an appointment when they have a problem. However, keeping up with regular dental care can help them avoid these problems in the first place. Dental visits play an important part in prevention of larger, more serious issues before they have a chance to develop. Additionally, while these appointments are important for everyone, they’re particularly more important to men since they are at greater risk for:

Gum Disease. The American Dental Association estimates that 34% of men ages 30-54 have gum disease as compared to 23% of women in the same age range. Gum disease is a serious infection that can affect the rest of the body if not treated. Research has shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, certain cancers, and respiratory problems. In men, the concern goes even farther as recent studies also suggests a connection between gum disease and prostate health.

Oral Cancer. Men are two times more likely to get oral cancer than women. Some researchers suggest that this is because men tend to use tobacco and drink alcohol more often than woman, both of which are known risk factors of oral cancer. Oral cancer can be treated, often successfully, when caught early. This makes keeping those bi-annual dental appointments even more important. If oral cancer isn’t caught or treated in the early stages it can spread to other areas of the body and may even lead to death.

More Dental Care. Since men are less likely to see their dentist regularly it leaves them at risk for needing more advanced, complex treatment when things go wrong. What may have once been a small cavity that could have been treated in a matter of minutes may now require a root canal and crown. If the decay progresses further, the tooth may fall out and need to be replaced with a dental implant or bridge.

Men and women can benefit by seeing the dentist regularly to decrease the risk of these serious oral health problems. Preventive dental care goes a long way in protecting smiles and overall health. If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, give our Rocky Mount dental office a call to schedule an appointment.

Can Oral Health Affect Your Heart?

Written by gpmadmin on . Posted in General & Preventive Dentistry, Gum Disease, Oral Health, Overall Health

February is recognized as American Heart Health Month and is designed to raise awareness of the widespread problem of heart disease in the United States. While this is certainly a valuable promotion, what does it have to do with our Rocky Mount dental office? We’re glad you asked. Join us as we do our part in raising awareness on the lesser known contributor to heart disease, your oral health.

Oral Health Link to Overall Wellness

heart health monthWhile it may appear as your oral health is independent of the rest of your body, quite the opposite is true. Years of research has found a positive correlation between oral health and overall health. There have even been reports of certain oral health problems being linked to diabetic complications, certain cancers, and yes, heart disease.

Take a Good Look at the Gums

The oral health and systemic health connection is all about gum health. Gums are often a forgotten crucial piece to a healthy mouth, but not for your dentist in Rocky Mount. At every visit, we pay close attention to your gums. Why? We’re looking for any sign of gum disease – which is a serious infection that can progress into gingivitis or periodontitis and lead to tooth loss. But what’s perhaps even more concerning is the link between gum disease and heart disease.

Gum Disease & Heart Disease

When gum disease isn’t treated, it not only puts your teeth in danger, it increases your risk of heart disease as well. An untreated infection will advance in nature and even transfer into different parts of the body. In this situation, gum disease can easily move into the bloodstream. If this occurs, your body will produce an excess of C-reactive protein (CRP). Too much CRP can lead to:

  • Inflamed arteries
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes  

Recognize the Signs of Gum Disease

We know that it’s important to get gum disease treated. But it’s also important to get it treated quickly. Since gum disease can begin rapidly, knowing the signs is a great first step to an early diagnosis and successful treatment. Keep an eye out for:

  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • Puffy, tender gums
  • Bad breath
  • Teeth that feel loose

If you notice any signs of gum disease, we welcome you to call our dental office in Rocky Mount to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to protect your smile, and your heart.