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Keeping it Fresh: Fighting Bad Breath

Bad breath is insidious: it can harm your romantic life and your work life, it can signal problems with your health, and you might not even know you have it. You might not detect that your own breath is bad, as there are so many things that can cause bad breath. It's tricky to ensure that your breath is fresh at all times. Since our breath passes into the world through our nose and mouth, it's not surprising that dentists play a large role in preventing or fixing some of the major sources of bad breath.

Causes and Treatments of Bad Breath

Numerous causes exist for bad breath, and they range from the internal (in our blood) to the external (right in our mouths). Causes can be mixed, and yet many of them relate to what happens directly inside our mouths: the food that is there, the cleanliness we keep, the health of our teeth and gums, and the supply of our saliva.

The table below lists many of the common causes of bad breath, and identifies ones in which a dentist can play a key role in resolving problems.

The Lesser of Two Evils: E-Cigarettes

What are e-cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes (or “e-cigarettes”) are electronic devices that take an “e-liquid” composed of diluent fluid, nicotine, and a flavoring agent and, using heat, atomize that e-liquid into inhalable form (sometimes slightly incorrectly called a “vapour”). E-cigarettes are useful for those who are interested in quitting burnt tobacco, and in that context e-cigarettes offer numerous health advantages over tobacco cigarettes. But what are the effects of e-cigarettes on oral health?

Health issues


Although nicotine is not a required component in e-cigarette fluid, it usually is. Studies have shown that nicotine, in itself, does have detrimental effects to the mouth, gums, and tongue. Studies so far indicate significant effects, including the development of gingivitis and periodontitis.

Marijuana and oral health

Whether legal or illegal, marijuana use has detrimental effects on oral health that have been confirmed by research. The detrimental effects include increased risks of gum disease, infections, and cavities, as well as a potentially increased risk of oral cancer. In these regards the negative aspects of marijuana use are much like those of smoking tobacco.

Increased gum disease

Dentists recognize that much of the negative impact of marijuana on oral health involves its effects on the gums and tooth-supporting tissues. Irritants in the marijuana smoke affect the mucous membranes lining the inside of the mouth, as well as harming the gums. This irritation leads to leukoedema, a whitening of the mouth lining, which is a precancerous lesion. Irritation from marijuana smoke can also lead to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), as well as gingival hyperplasia (enlargement of the gums). Alveolar bone loss—loss of the bone mass that provides sockets for the teeth—has also been documented.

Acid Erosion: What Sodas and Juices Can Do to Your Teeth

The enamel protecting our teeth—primarily made up of calcium hydroxylapatite and calcium fluorapatite—is a remarkable substance. The hardest substance in our bodies, it nonetheless cannot be taken for granted and in fact can be damaged more easily than many people imagine.

Tooth damage caused by the ability of acids to erode tooth enamel is only a relatively recently recognized dental problem, but it can be serious. Acid erosion is most common among young people (ages 5-17), but can affect anyone. Acid erosion is different from tooth enamel damage caused by bacterial action, but many of the effects are the same.

Factors in acid damage

The degree of tooth damage caused by acid erosion varies depending on a number of factors: the acidity of the drink, the type of acid involved, and the length of time that the teeth are exposed to the acid in question.

Xerostomia (Dry Mouth) and Dental Health

Xerostomia, also known as "dry mouth", or "dry mouth syndrome", is a major factor in dental health. Dry mouth has numerous detrimental effects that need to be managed to maintain good dental health.

Causes of Xerostomia

Dry mouth is a frequent side effect of some medications, it is more common in older persons, and it accompanies several diseases such as Sjögren's syndrome and Sicca syndrome. Other causes include dehydration, mouthbreathing, radiation therapy involving the salivary glands, and the physical consequences of emotional or mental stress.

Xerostomia can also be a subjective feeling of dryness in the mouth, but for the purposes of discussing xerostomia and dentistry, the issue relates primarily to actually dry mouths caused by hypofunction of the salivary glands.

In Our Etobicoke Dental Office We Help Patients Manage Herpes Simplex Labialis (Hsl)

Have you ever had that burning, itching, painful feeling around the lip area and wonder if you should keep your dental appointment? These are the beginning stages of HERPES SIMPLEX or better known as a cold sore. Multiple vesicles are formed, which rupture and form blisters that then crust over and heal in approximately two weeks.

To prevent transmission of HSL, it is essential to avoid the fluid from the blisters because it’s very contagious. In the home, you should isolate your personal care items such as washcloths, towels, toothbrushes and drinking glasses along with utensils. In the dental office, if a patient has an active outbreak present, any procedures should be postponed till the cold sore has been cleared, unless of course it is an emergency situation and needs to be treated right away.

After the original outbreak, the virus will lie dormant and can be reactivated by certain triggers such as; stress, trauma, fever, surgery, fatigue, too much sun, and menstruation. Most individuals experience two or fewer outbreaks per year.

Dealing with Bleeding Gums

It's something most of us have experienced at one time or another: after brushing or flossing we see a bit of blood in the toothpaste we spit away. Occasional occurrences of such blood might not be highly significant, but if blood appears regularly it indicates a problem.

Causes of bleeding gums

Gums can bleed for a number of reasons, and it's important to determine what is causing bleeding gums. Bleeding gums are generally easily treated, but if neglected problems can result.

Plaque buildup

Plaque is one of the main causes of bleeding gums. If good oral hygiene is not maintained, plaque—a soft, sticky biofilm of sugars and bacteria that builds up on teeth, especially along the gum line—can accumulate. When left on the teeth, plaque provides an environment that is conducive acid formation as bacteria digest sugars. Enough acid, and time, eventually leads to dental caries. In addition, plaque buildup and the acid it develops can lead to gum irritation and bleeding.

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