Definitive Guide: Quick answers to your oral health questions
SUMMARY: In the last several years, there has been a heavy push underlining oral health's role in systemic well-being. Since the mouth is the gateway to your body, it's crucial to pay attention to the small daily steps we can take to keep those pearly whites clean and problem-free. To answer your burning questions, from getting rid of bad breath to removing tonsil stones, here are the solutions and oral health tips:
Posted: June 20, 2014
In the last several years, there has been a heavy push underlining oral health's role in systemic well-being. Since the mouth is the gateway to your body, it's crucial to pay attention to the small daily steps we can take to keep those pearly whites clean and problem-free. To answer your burning questions, from getting rid of bad breath to removing tonsil stones, here are the solutions and oral health tips:
Where is my bad breath coming from? Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can come from a range of different sources. The main culprits are: food, poor oral hygiene habits, cavities, using tobacco or alcohol, tonsil stones and dry mouth. Most often, the mouth odor comes from what you eat and your dental hygiene habits. The anaerobic sulfur-producing bacteria that live on the surface of the tongue and throat may derive from foods such as onions, garlic or peppers as well as other pungent foods.
It is likely that bad breath originates from plaque buildup that lingers on the teeth and gums. By failing to remove plaque through brushing, flossing and rinsing, your mouth turns into a habitable environment for the bacteria to grow and produce the foul smell.
Not filling cavities properly and skipping professional dental cleaning contributes to a rotten odor. What's more, dentures should fit well to prevent bacteria from gathering in pockets.
Smoking or chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol dry out the mouth and cause unpleasant breath, so these habits should be avoided.
A lot of times, not drinking enough water or skipping meals can trigger halitosis. Make sure to gulp down plenty of H2O throughout the day.
How do I get rid of bad breath? Twice-a-day brushing and proper oral hygiene habits are great methods of diminishing bad breath, but sometimes they fall short. For a temporary fix, chew sugarless gum, suck on mints and drink multiple glasses of water throughout the day. One of the best ways to eliminate bad breath is to treat the odor-producing bacteria with oxygen and other natural compounds found in TheraBreath Oral Rinse.
How many times a day should I brush my teeth? Twice a day, for two minutes each session. Try humming a song if necessary to reach this time length.
How many times a day should I floss my teeth? Once a day.
How many times a year should I visit the dentist? Twice a year. Marking down an appointment on your calendar for every six months is a good way to remember.
Should I visit the dentist even if I don't have any cavities? Yes, prevention is the best cure.
What are tonsil stones, and how can I tell if I have them? Tonsil stones are white or yellowish clumps of bacteria that get stuck in the tonsils toward the back of the mouth. Since they are made up of foul-smelling bacteria, they usually bring long-lasting halitosis. Symptoms of tonsil stones include chronic bad breath, tonsil swelling, difficulty swallowing and a "foreign body" sensation in the back of the throat. If you cough up one of these stones, it's a clear sign that you have them.
Look into the mirror with a flashlight toward the back of the mouth to discern if you have tonsil stones, also known as tonsilloliths.
How do I get rid of tonsil stones? It's a good idea to consult a dental professional before taking any measures. If appropriate, use a tonsil stone removal kit and follow the instructions to remove the clumps.
What is causing dry mouth? Dry mouth occurs when your mouth is not producing enough saliva. The condition may be triggered as a side effect of medication, but it can also stem from dehydration, diabetes, sleeping, Sj gren's Syndrome, cancer treatments and other problems.
How do I avoid dry mouth? Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Hydration is the best answer for this problem. If your dry mouth is triggered by medication, talk to your doctor about the possibility of switching to alternative treatments. Use sugar-free lozenges or gum to stimulate saliva production, avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol and steer clear of caffeine. Do not smoke or chew tobacco.
How do I get rid of canker sores? Avoiding eating acidic or spicy foods, getting a good night's sleep and lowering stress levels can all help reduce the healing time of these little ulcers.
Are canker sores the same thing as herpes? No. Herpes is caused by a virus while canker sores are brought on by foods, stress, immune deficiency or allergies.
Are canker sores contagious? No. Unlike herpes, canker sores do not spread from person to person. Kissing does not transmit canker sores.