Bad Breath

Bad breath is also known as halitosis. Halitosis can be a chronic condition that can be caused by a number of factors. Unfortunately, many people who suffer from bad breath are unaware of their condition, which can create embarrassing situations.

Foods We Eat

Certain foods we eat, such as garlic or onions can cause bad breath. Brushing, flossing, or using mouthwash will only mask these types of odors. These odors will generally persist until the body eliminates the food.

Poor Oral Hygiene

If you don’t brush and floss daily, small bits of food remain in the mouth, trapped between the teeth or around the gum tissue. These food particles collect bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Making sure that you brush and floss daily, including brushing your tongue, can help to eliminate these bad odors.

Periodontal Disease

One of the warning signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) is a persistent bad odor or a bad taste in the mouth. The plaque and tartar that collect around the teeth and gums contain bacteria. These bacteria produce toxins that in turn destroy the bone around the teeth. As the bone deteriorates, by-products are created, resulting in an infectious process. This infectious material produces a bad odor, which can only be eliminated by treatment of the periodontal infection.

Other Causes

Tobacco products (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco) cause bad breath. Tobacco caused the tissues of the mouth to dry out and causes the bacteria in the mouth to create toxic organic compounds. Tobacco users are also more prone to developing periodontal disease and suffer from affected taste buds and localized irritation of the gum tissues.

Dry mouth (xerostomia), common in mouth breathers, can cause bad breath, because the saliva in your mouth is required to cleanse and flush away food particles that contribute to bad breath. Dry mouth can also be caused by certain medications or problems with the salivary glands. A saliva substitute may be recommended if you suffer from severe dry mouth.

Medical conditions such as infections of the respiratory tract or gastrointestinal disorders may also contribute to bad breath. If your mouth is healthy, your medical doctor may be consulted to determine if you suffer from any of these other conditions.

Bad breath can affect your self-confidence and interfere with your ability to interact closely with others. It can be a serious handicap on your social or business life, and in some individuals can be a source of embarrassment. If you suffer from bad breath, consult your dentist.

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Oral Cancer

Although the incidence of oral cancer has decreased over the years, there are over 30,000 people in North America who are diagnosed every year, with approximately 8,000 deaths from oral cancer.

Causes of Oral Cancer

The use of tobacco products in combination with large amounts of alcohol consumption is the leading cause of oral cancer, however, all tobacco products contain the chemicals that are associated with cancer. These products include cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, and chewing tobacco.

Excessive exposure to the sun can also cause oral cancer (on the lips), similar to skin cancer. Staying out of the sun and using protective sun-block creams are some of the ways to reduce your risk of developing cancer of the skin or lips.

Other factors such as liver function, medications, genetics, and diet may also contribute to the development of oral cancer. Some studies have shown that a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables may help to prevent the development of cancerous lesions.

How to Identify Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can develop on any of the tissues in your mouth including your tongue, lips, gums, cheeks, the roof of the mouth, the floor of the mouth and the gum tissue around your teeth. Cancer can also develop in the jawbone. Some things to look for are:

  • A sore that does not heal or bleeds easily
  • A color change in the tissue, such as a white or red spot
  • A lump or thickening of the tissue
  • Rough areas or eroded area in the tissue
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness in the mouth
  • A change in the way your teeth come together
  • Difficulty in swallowing, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • Lump in your throat
  • A large amount of weight loss


One of the most important ways to increase your chance of successful treatment is the early detection of any cancerous areas in your mouth. Regular visits to your dentist along with self-examinations can help detect any areas that may be suspicious before they become large or untreatable. suffer from bad breath, consult your dentist.

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A sealant is a plastic coating that is applied to teeth to help prevent tooth decay. Sealants are most commonly applied to molar teeth, but can be used to protect any tooth that is susceptible to decay from bacteria.

Molar teeth contain many pits and grooves on their biting surface. These pits and grooves are common areas that cannot be easily cleaned but where food debris and bacteria can easily collect. Over time, the bacteria decays the tooth surface which then requires a filling.

Sealants can be placed on a tooth to seal out the food debris and bacteria from the pits and grooves of teeth. Sealants can last for many years, protecting the tooth during the cavity prone years.

Placement of a sealant is a quick and easy procedure, usually requiring no anesthetic. It is done in one dental visit. The tooth is prepared with conditioning materials, then the sealant is bonded into place. The sealant flows into the pits and grooves of the teeth, preventing bacteria from collecting in those hard to clean areas. The six and twelve year old molars are the most common teeth to be treated with sealants, however, a sealant can be used to protect any tooth.

A sealant is an easy, affordable preventive service that can help keep your child ??s mouth free from dental decay. Sealants can also be used on adult teeth to reduce the incidence of decay. Ask your dentist about how sealants can benefit you.

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