Worried About Bad Breath? Northridge, CA

untitledAs a dental hygienist, the most common question I hear from my patients is, “How do I get rid of my bad breath?”  or “How do I prevent bad breath?”  Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be caused by different things, such as:

1.  Bacteria.  Bacteria is the most common reason for bad breath.  Bacteria breed inside your mouth. These micro organisms lurk between your teeth and cover your tongue. When bacteria stagnate, they multiply and give off toxins and stinky odors.

2.  Tonsils.  The deep holes in your tonsils, called crypts, are a common cause of halitosis. If your tonsils are too wide and pitted, a cheese-like smelly substance collects in these holes. These nuggets sometimes smell, and may cause bad breath.

3.  Certain foods.  Foods such as onion, garlic, and fish can cause bad breath — even hours after you brush your teeth.

4.  Tummy Problems.  Sometimes GI problems such as GERD or an ulcer can cause bad breath when you burp and gas is released. Also blame low-carb diets, which cause ketosis, a fat-burning state in the body that produces dragon breath.

5.  Bad Habits.  Any type of smoking (cigarettes, cigars, pipe) or chewing tobacco can leave you with a really nasty taste — and smell — in your mouth.

Now that we know what causes bad breath, here are some suggestions to help you achieve kissably fresh breath:

1.  Brush your teeth — and tongue — twice a day to banish bad breath. While you’re brushing your teeth, brush your tongue – especially the back of the tongue. Brushing your tongue will remove smelly bacteria that cause bad breath.

2.  Floss once a day for fresh breath. Flossing is must-do. Flossing gets out hidden food particles and removes plaque. Flossing also helps prevent periodontal disease — another common cause of bad breath.

3.  Drink lots of water to avert bad breath. Lack of fluids can lead to dry mouth and cause bad breath. Dry mouth or reduced saliva can be the result of not drinking enough liquids, mouth breathing, or medications like antihistamines.

4.  Check your sinuses; infections cause bad breath. Bad breath is often a clue to an underlying sinus infection.  Post-nasal drip is most noticeable after sleeping at night, which is why many people rush to brush their teeth first thing in the morning.

5.  Chew gum with xylitol to banish bad breath. Chewing gum makes you salivate if your mouth is dry and causing bad breath. Saliva is what washes away the bacteria in your mouth.

6.  See your dentist. At least every six months, see Dr. David Lunt for teeth cleaning and an oral exam. Dr. David Lunt can check your mouth and teeth for open cavities and gum disease that cause bad breath.

If these tips don’t work to stop your bad breath, see Dr. David Lunt. Occasionally bad breath is a sign of a more serious problem, such as an infection, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, or kidney or liver disease.

For more information on bad breath and how to treat it, contact Dr. David Lunt at (818) 885-7230 or visit our website.

Dr. David Lunt also proudly serves Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura, CSUN, Cal State Northridge, and all surrounding areas.

How Saliva Can Help Your Oral Health | Northridge Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-80707547We have been taught since we were kids that keeping your smile pretty means you have to brush, floss and rinse every day. In fact, we’ve also been told we should do it after every meal. As a child, it’s incredibly difficult to keep up that tall order. What kid keeps a toothbrush with them? But keeping it to twice a day was a bit more feasible with mom’s constant reminders. What you don’t know is that we are given a natural tooth decaying weapon – saliva.

That’s right. The answer is already inside of your mouth. See, tooth decay is something that happens when bacteria feeds off the sugars we consume through food and drink. This plaque latches on to your teeth and begins to eat through the enamel. Generally, we are under the impression that by brushing our teeth after every meal, there isn’t much time for this oral menace to do a whole lot of damage. But even more than that, when the saliva glands are activated in our mouths, it actually helps rinse off the bacteria naturally.

So what causes us to create saliva? Chewing. Every meal and every snack you eat, every piece of bubble gum you chew is all helping to create the saliva that fights against germs and bad breath. But keep in mind, it takes 20 minutes for sugar to be cleared from your mouth after its consumption. The more often you are chewing on something sugary, the more often you are exposing your teeth to more bacteria, so try to keep the things you consume less sugary and more healthy. Sugar-free gum & candy is great, but so is a simple bottle of water. Keeping a nice balance will not only get those salivary glands working, but will also help out when you don’t have a toothbrush handy.

Unfortunately, there are some conditions that prevent a healthy amount of saliva to produce in our mouths. Certain medications or diseases can also affect the way your body produces saliva. Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is more likely to develop conditions like rapid tooth decay, gum disease, cavities or even bad breath. This may be able to be cured naturally by drinking lots of water and chewing on sugar-free gum or candy, but you should have a medical professional give you their opinion, just in case it is preventable.

If you are on the other side of the spectrum, you are producing too much saliva. Overactive glands could be affected by something as simple as taste buds reacting to spicy foods, to something much more serious, like poisoning or stroke. And while it is generally fixable, you may need a doctor to prescribe you something if it is an actual health condition causing the excessive saliva.

Saliva is your mouth’s first line of defense when it comes to keeping your mouth healthy. It is nature’s disinfecting cavity fighter. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to keep your teeth healthy, both at home and when visiting a dental professional. You don’t have to brush your teeth…Just the ones you want to keep!

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Why You Can’t Hide Anything from Your Dentist | Northridge Dentist

494183909While cavities and plaque build-up may be what’s on your mind before a teeth cleaning, your dentist is looking for a whole lot more. One might say the mouth is the window to the body! Often, diseases like cancer, anemia and diabetes will first be identified by the dentist in a regular examination, and this can save lives. It’s not just diseases—dentists can discover everything from your bad habits to your favorite beverages simply by asking you to say, “Ahh!”. So before you try to think that you can pull a fast one on your dentist, think again…

You flossed right before your appointment—and that’s the only time. Sorry, but you can’t fool your dentist into thinking you floss daily by doing so the night before or morning of your visit.

You’re pregnant. Nearly 40% of women will develop gingivitis during their pregnancy. This is caused by increased progesterone, which facilitates the growth of bacteria, causing gingivitis. Some women will develop a deep red lump on their gums called a pregnancy tumor or pyogenic granuloma. This type of tumor is completely benign and will go away after the pregnancy is over. Most women are typically pretty far along before their gums start bleeding, so it’s not as though a dentist will “discover” that a patient is pregnant.

You sucked your thumb as a child. Most children that suck their thumbs or a finger have no long-term effects from the habit. Those who did so past the age of seven or eight may show significant changes to their bite or the position of their teeth. Much of that can be corrected through orthodontic treatment, but some telltale signs can remain.

Your bad breath may mean something. General bad breath is categorized as halitosis. But dentists are also trained to identify “fruity” smells and “fishy” smells, which can mean numerous things. ‘Fruity’ breath could indicate uncontrolled diabetes or a dietary fast that has gone too far, while ‘fishy’ breath could be a sign of kidney or liver failure. If the smell is very foul it could be anything from gastroesophageal reflux to other underlying problems.

You may have an eating disorder. Many patients are surprised that their dentist is the first one to ask about eating disorders. Bulimia exhibits a very distinct pattern of tooth wear that your dentist can easily identify. Other possibilities include acid reflux and the use of antidepressants or mood-elevating drugs, both of which reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth, thereby upping the odds of acid damage.

You have oral cancer. The first signs of oral cancer can be seen from the following: unexplained bleeding in the mouth, white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth, a change in the way your teeth fit together, swellings, thickenings, lumps or bumps or eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth. An oral surgeon should be consulted for a biopsy of any suspicious tissue.

You love soda & energy drinks. You may know why you chipped your tooth and even though the cause may be apparent, there could be underlying factors that weakened the tooth and made it susceptible to being chipped in the first place. He explains that teeth can be softened by sodas and other sugary beverages over time, which may make a tooth more susceptible to chipping. Energy drinks, which tend to be even more acidic than soft drinks, may cause even more damage to tooth enamel.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Tobacco Use and Quitting! Northridge, Ca

Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health, so it comes with no surprise that cigarettes and chewing tobacco are harmful to your oral health as well. For one, tobacco products can cause bad breath, but that’s only the beginning…

Other possible oral health impacts of smoking and all tobacco products include:

  • stained teeth and tongue
  • dulled sense of taste and smellNo_smoking_symbol_svg
  • slow healing after a tooth extraction or other surgery
  • difficulties in correcting cosmetic dental problems
  • gum disease (gingivitis and periodontal disease)
  • oral cancer

As a Dental Hygienist, I am excited when I hear that one of my patients is trying to quit or has already quit smoking or chewing tobacco.  Quitting is the only way to decrease your risk of these oral health and other tobacco-related health problems. It is amazing the difference that I can see in my patients who are former smokers.  Their breath smells better, there is less staining, and their gums bleed less.  These improvements can and have been seen in just a matter of months! 

The addictive quality of nicotine can make quitting especially difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a plan and a support network.  Be held accountable and tell people to help you stick to your plan. Write down your reasons for quitting and post it around the house and at work if you need daily reminders.  Not one person is the same, and therefore not everyone will use the same plan when trying to quit tobacco.  Find what works for you.  Exercising, chewing gum and keeping yourself busy can help you quit. You can also talk to your doctor to see if the medications available would help you to stop using tobacco.   

Bottom line: Being tobacco-free is healthier for you and for those around you. Make a plan to quit, stick to it and start living a healthier life.

For more information and free resources on how to quit, visit Smokefree.gov.

 

Dr. David Lunt and team are committed to ensuring your optimal oral health and well-being.  Contact Dr. David Lunt at (818) 885-7230 or visit our website.

Dr. David Lunt also proudly serves Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura, CSUN, Cal State Northridge, and surrounding areas.