Open Mobile Menu Book Online

Archive for October, 2014

The Bad Breath Dilemma

Posted on:

The Bad Breath Dilemma

Everyone suffers from bad breath at one time or another. Sometimes it can be caused by what you eat; for example, everybody knows to avoid garlic or onions on a first date. But quite often, bad breath comes from the same bacteria that cause plaque in our mouths. These bacteria release sulphur compounds, which create a foul-smelling odour and lead to bad breath. Most people turn to a mouthwash, such as Scope or Listerine, to freshen their breath, but do they really work?

First of all (and I can’t stress this enough!) mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. Most over-the-counter mouthwashes are developed to reduce the amount of bacteria or neutralize odour-releasing compounds. In order to significantly reduce the bacteria in your mouth, you need to use mouthwash after brushing and flossing as a part of your oral health routine. Mouthwashes like these, however, are just a quick fix for bad breath and only last a few hours.

While a mouthwash can be a good adjunct to freshen your mouth, there has also been some debate as to whether consistent use of certain mouthwashes can do more harm than good and even cause more bad breath. Many over-the-counter mouthwashes contain alcohol, which is a drying agent that can reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth. Saliva acts like a natural mouthwash, as it lubricates your mouth and protects your teeth against bacteria. If your mouth is dry, the bacteria are able to grow more rapidly, which can lead to an increase in plaque, gum disease, tooth decay, and ultimately more bad breath. A proactive option may be to use alcohol-free mouthwashes, which are also available these days.

It’s also important to point out that some people suffer from chronic bad breath, also known as halitosis, which can’t be masked by a simple mouthwash. Halitosis can be caused by bigger problems, such as tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth, sinus or stomach conditions, or other systemic problems. If you are concerned that you have halitosis, you should consult your dentist.

Overall, I can’t say I’m a strong advocate for using over-the-counter mouthwashes on a daily basis. The benefit to your oral health is pretty minimal, and again, the most important thing is to have a proper brushing and flossing routine. However, in a pinch, or to give you that extra boost of freshness once in awhile, go for it!

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky

Healthy Teeth That Look Great Too

Posted on:

As dentists, our number one priority for our patients has and will always be good oral health. However, for more and more of our patients, the way their teeth look is just as important as how they feel. Aesthetic/cosmetic dentistry has become a regular part of general dentistry, and due to that, most dental offices now offer tooth whitening as a cosmetic service to their patients. Tooth whitening is a safe, easy and non-invasive way to enhance and brighten your smile.

Teeth can become stained over time, mainly due to different foods in our diet (ie. coffee, tea, red wine). Sometimes, these stains can be removed with special whitening toothpastes or polishing, but because the enamel is porous, stain can seep into the actual tooth structure, making it impossible to brush or polish off. In order to remove these stains, teeth whitening products must be used to breakdown these stains and whiten the enamel. There are many different systems, but most use a type of peroxide as the whitening agent.

A lot of people ask if whitening is harmful to your teeth. Occasionally, some patients will experience increased tooth sensitivity or slight irritation to the gums or soft tissues around the teeth, but normally this stops shortly after the patient is finished the procedure. Always inform your dentist if either of these occurs.

Our patients also ask us how long the whitening effects will last. There is no exact answer to this question, as there are many factors that will affect how quickly your teeth accumulate stains. Also, some people like to do “touch-ups” more frequently than others to maintain a bright white appearance. We generally recommend bleaching your teeth no more than once every 6 months.

There are a couple things you should be aware of before you whiten. It’s also important to have a dental professional evaluate your teeth before you start. First, if you have any fillings, crowns, or veneers, these will not lighten as you bleach, so they will likely not match the shade of your teeth afterwards. Also, some people have naturally darker teeth due to the color of their dentin (this is the layer of tooth below the enamel), or due to the transparency of their enamel. These patients may not be able to achieve as white a smile as they may have hoped for.

But if you are looking to get a brighter, whiter smile in a short amount of time, then tooth whitening may be right for you. Interested? Give us a call, we’d love to help you keep your smile healthy and looking its best.

Dr. Jaimee Buchkowsky