Archive for October, 2008

The Power in a Bite

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2008 by dukeslc

Discovering how to use your teeth can be fun and painful depending on which end of the bite you’re on.

Bad Breath?!! What To Do!

Posted in Dental on October 27, 2008 by dukeslc

Bad Breath: 5 Causes and 5 Cures

How to restore your fresh breath—and relationships

By Marin Gazzaniga for MSN Health & Fitness
© Sonja Pacho/Corbis

 

Wondering why your loved ones are giving you more personal space than you’ve asked for? Suspicious about the Altoids left on your desk with dental floss bows? If you’re one of 90 million Americans suffering from chronic bad breath, here are some of the possible causes, as well as remedies to restore your fresh breath—and relationships.

Top 5 Causes of Bad Breath

1. A dirty mouth

“Ninety percent of mouth odors come from mouth itself—either from the food you eat or bacteria that’s already there,” says Dr. Richard H. Price spokesman for American Dental Association. “Mouth odor is like any other body odor—the result of microbes living in the body giving off byproducts.” In the mouth, this means bacteria that normally live in the mouth interact with food particles, blood, tissue, etc., to create volatile (i.e., stinky) sulfur compounds. If you don’t clean properly, the bacteria build up, and next thing you know—that’s not toothpaste on your tongue.

2. A mouth out of balance

Certain mouth conditions can exacerbate bacterial growth and odor, such as gum disease and dry mouth. Gum disease causes bloody gums, creating more elements for those pesky bacteria to putrefy. But it is a dry mouth that is the more common cause of bad breath. Saliva helps flush out the mouth, keeping bacteria moving so they don’t settle down and multiply, while drier mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. In spring and summer, allergy medications can dry you out; in winter, dry heat tends to be the culprit.

3. Stinky foods

If it stinks going in, chances are it’s going to stink coming out. The obvious offenders are onions, garlic, alcohol and tobacco. And foods don’t only create a stench in the mouth. “Plant oils are absorbed and the byproducts enter your bloodstream so you are actually breathing the odors out via your lungs three to four hours later,” says Jeannie Moloo, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. [Fulldisclosure: Moloo is the author’s cousin.]

4. Not enough carbs

You look great after four weeks on Atkins, so how come you still can’t get a date? High-protein, low-carb diets cause your body to burn stored fats for fuel instead of carbs and can lead to a condition called ketosis. “As fat burns, ketones build up in the body, and some are released through breath,”explains Moloo. “Unfortunately ketones don’t smell particularly good.” And bad breath trumps six-pack abs.

5. Illness

Occasionally, bad breath can be a sign of a more serious illness. The most common systemic causes of bad breath are diabetes or GERD (or gastro esophageal reflux disease). Diabetes can also cause ketosis, and the resulting bad breath is sometimes one of first symptoms that lead to diagnosis. GERD is a backflow of acid from the stomach to the esophagus. Less common but possible are liver or kidney disease—when toxins from these organs are excreted through the lungs, causing bad breath.

Top 5 Cures

1. Keep it clean

Gum, breath mints, mouthwash… these are all helpful stopgaps, but they won’t cure bad breath. The way to get rid of bad breath for most of us is to brush, floss and tongue scrape twice a day. Yes, for fresh breath, the key is tongue scraping. “You can brush and floss till the cows come home, but it won’t help unless you get way back,” says Price of the American Dental Association. A tongue scraper is available at most drugstores. Price swears it helped him when he was suffering from bad breath (not something you want in your dentist, he points out). “Now I smell like a petunia,” he says. “For most of us, brushing, flossing and tongue scraping twice a day will control bad breath.”

2. Keep it moist

The best way to keep the right saliva balance is to drink plenty of water or liquids. To prevent dry mouth in winter, use a humidifier. If you snore or suffer from postnasal drip, try saline nasal spray to keep nasal passages moist.

3. Watch what you eat

Avoiding the main offenders (onion, garlic, tobacco, coffee, etc.) is the best way to avoid food-related bad breath. Dietitian Moloo also cites research that suggests certain foods can help: “Two cups of tea a day can prevent bad breath for some. The polyphenols, a plant chemical in tea, may prevent growth of bacteria responsible for bad breath.” You can also chew parsley, which seems to curb offending smells from other foods and bacteria. And cranberries may eliminate offensive smells and make the bacteria less sticky, which makes plaque less likely to form. Price says sugarless gums that contain xylotol may kill some bacteria and help reduce plaque.

4. Eat some carbs

Apparently the only way to help the ketosis caused by low-carb diets is… to eat some carbs. Moloo recommends fruits, vegetables and whole grains over frosted doughnuts.

5. See your doctor

If tongue scraping and carbo-loading doesn’t do the trick, check with your doctor to see if he or she suspects a more serious cause. Diabetes, GERD or other diseases require specific diagnoses and treatments.

Whiter Teeth!

Posted in Teeth Whitening on October 27, 2008 by dukeslc

Here’s an interesting article about whiter teeth.

The Way to Whiter Teeth

Take your choppers from dull to dazzling and give yourself something to smile about.

By the Editors of Women’s Health

If you’ve toyed with the idea of whitening your teeth but haven’t actually done the deed, consider this: “Since teeth naturally yellow as we age, whitening them will automatically make you look younger,” says Kim Harms, D.D.S., a practicing dentist and a spokesperson for the American Dental Association. What’s more, a 2008 Columbia University study found that women with healthier-looking teeth earn more than those with less sparkling grins. Do you need any more reasons to whiten up?

How whiteners work

All bleaching methods use peroxide—whether in gel, strip, or liquid form—to dissolve surface stains, explains Debra Glassman, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in New York City. Teeth surfaces are made up of thousands of tiny dentinal tubules—hollow structures stacked horizontally, like thin straws. They’re extremely porous and absorb pigments from food and drink. (Anything that can stain a white T-shirt can discolor your teeth, Glassman says.) Peroxide bubbles into the tubules and lightens those pigments.

Before you bleach

A first-timer should always consult her dentist before trying any tooth whitener, even an over-the-counter product, because not all teeth react to whitening the same way. Some types of dental work (like caps, crowns, and veneers) don’t take to lightening because peroxide can’t penetrate them. Stains caused by antibiotics, like tetracycline, are also tricky, because they can occur in the layers inside the tooth, which brighteners can’t reach. Your dentist will be able to advise you about the best method for you.

If you go to a pro

The whitening agents dentists use are up to three times more powerful than at-home versions, so you’ll see results faster than if you go solo. If you’re looking for a dramatic, fast solution, consider power whitening: First, a protective rubber guard or barrier gel is placed over your gums to help avoid possible sensitivity to peroxide. Then the teeth are coated with a bleaching agent and a light is aimed at them to activate the ingredients. The procedure takes about an hour, and costs $500 to $700.

A cheaper (but slower) option: Your dentist can custom-fit you with plastic dental trays, kind of like retainers, which you fill with a peroxide gel and wear at home. You could see brighter teeth within a few days, though some people need up to four weeks to see results. Oh yeah, and it’ll cost you $250 to $400.

No-tech tricks: If you’d rather pass on the peroxide, check out these other options to whiten your smile.

Bring on the baking soda

The refrigerator deodorizer also removes discoloration on your teeth. The abrasive particles polish the surface while a chemical reaction between baking soda and water lightens stains, says Jonathan B. Levine, a cosmetic dentist in New York City. (Warning: You can damage your enamel with the scrubbing, so don’t do it more than once a week.) Just dip your toothbrush in the soda, or simply switch to a toothpaste that contains baking soda, such as Arm & Hammer Complete Care Toothpaste ($4 for 6 oz, drugstore.com).

Feel the crunch

“Foods that are high in cellulose—a strong starchlike compound found in celery, carrots, and apples—act as natural abrasives, cleansing teeth and removing surface stains naturally,” says Jeff Golub-Evans, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in New York City. And greens such as spinach, broccoli, and lettuce contain mineral compounds that form a film over the teeth, so pigments from other foods can’t stain.

Be a little shady

Want to make your teeth look fashionably white—without the work? “Stick with blue-based red and pink lipsticks or clothes in dark colors,” says Pia Lieb, D.D.S., a cosmetic dentist in New York City. Warm colors (yellow, orange, brown, warm shades of red) worn close to your mouth will only bring out the yellow in your teeth.

Beautiful Day

Posted in Video on October 24, 2008 by dukeslc

This is an inspiring video about how we take so much for granted in our lives, and how by changing a few things, we can be more productive in so many aspects.