Bad breath is one of those things that only your mom and your kids will tell you about. Sometimes even your spouse won’t tell you about your breath. If you’re lucky your dentist will tell you about it. So what’s the big deal about bad breath anyway?
Some people spend their entire lives with bad breath, which can dramatically affect their self-esteem. Their loved ones don’t want to kiss them, their friends back away during conversation, and their business relationships can even suffer. Some know they have bad breath but don’t know what to do about it. Others don’t know they have bad breath-they just think people don’t like them very much.
In almost every case, bad breath is a dental problem. While there are a few medical conditions and medications that cause bad breath, 80-90% of the time, bad breath is from dental plaque. Plaque accumulates between the teeth, under the gums and on the back of the tongue. The bacteria in plaque produce volatile sulfur compounds that smell like rotten eggs. These bacteria are also responsible for causing loss of the bone that holds your teeth in your jaw. This bone loss is called periodontal disease (gum disease), which has recently been confirmed by the Surgeon General to be associated with heart disease, lung disease, stroke, and decreased birth weight. Bad breath is a problem that should not be ignored. But what can be done about it?
Plaque control is the main solution. Your dentist can help you freshen your breath and minimize the accumulation of plaque by:
- Replacing old fillings and crowns that might be collecting plaque
- Professionally treating your gum disease
- Teaching you how remove the plaque on a daily basis at home with flossing, brushing, using a water jet, and cleaning your tongue.
- Prescribing special toothpaste and mouth wash that is formulated to neutralize the volatile sulfur compounds.
Top cosmetic dentists are trained to help people eliminate bad breath. We now know that bad breath and gum disease go hand in hand, and that gum disease is associated with serious health problems. Along with the social stigma of bad breath, these health risks should alert people to the importance of treating bad breath.
Dr. Bernstein is a longtime Piedmont resident in private practice 2 blocks from Cal Piedmont. He is a clinical instructor at the world renowned Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and his practice focuses on Cosmetic Dentistry and 5 star guest services. Dr. Bernstein can be reached at 848-SMILE (848-7645) and at www.allnewsmiles.com.