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Costa Mesa Dentist Talks about the Health Effects of Sugar, a Silent Killer


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Sugar is very tempting

Raise your hand if you have a sweet-tooth! Come one, don’t deny it. Thousands of Americans admit that they love sweets and that they are in some ways, addicted to sugar. I don’t blame you. Sugar is very tempting. It’s an integral part of our day to day meals and it’s the main component of our most indulgent desserts.

There’s one problem though. Sugar can be very bad for the health. If we aren’t mindful of our sugar intake, it can lead to a lot of health problems and complications. Today we’re going to discuss how sugar can be a silent killer.

Where do we get sugar?

First we need to know the basics of what sugar is.

Sugar or sucrose, is a carbohydrate that’s made up of two simpler sugars: fructose and glucose. Sucrose occurs naturally in plants and some fruits.  However, processed or refined sugar is also common.

There is also another type of sucrose which is called granulated sugar (high fructose corn syrup). This type of sugar is used to sweetened foods and drinks like cakes, ice cream and soda.

You should also note that certain varying amounts of sugar can be found in other types of food like bread, cereals and juices.

Sugar (foods with sugar) is very easy to consume because it doesn’t make you feel full. But the truth is that it is high in calories and can be very bad for you.

The average person takes in 153 pounds of sugar a year OR ½ cup each day. That seems fine, right?

No. Our bodies aren’t built to process (or digest) huge amounts of sugar. This results into a ton of possible ailments and complications brought about by too much sugar.

Reasons to avoid sugar

Too much sugar is bad for the health and here some reasons why:

  • It can cause numerous diseases and allergies such as:
    • Arthritis
    • Apendicitis
    • Diabetes
    • Hypoglycemia
    • Osteoporosis
    • Gallstones
    • Kidney Stones
    • Headaches
    • Yeast infections
    • Cataracts
  • It promotes wrinkles and premature aging thanks to collagen loss
  • Compromises your immune system
  • You will feel a lack of energy (crash) after a sudden sugar spike (rush)
  • Can cause obesity and other weight problems
  • Increases your uric acid levels which causes inflammations leading to strokes, heart attacks
  • Can cause a rapid rise in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels
  • Weakens your eyesight
  • Can cause haemorrhoids and varicose veins
  • Can induce headaches and migraines
  • Promotes cavities, tooth decay and periodontal disease (trust your dentist on this one)

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of other reasons on why sugar is bad for you.

How to deal with sugar

“Okay, so what do I do now?”

Don’t worry, there are ways on how to avoid the negative effects of sugar. You can start by watching what you eat. Be mindful of the foods that you eat on a daily basis. Is your diet filled with nutritious food, or are you always munching on junk foods that are rich in sugar?

Try to revise your diet and put in healthier alternatives to sugar. I know that it’s hard to fight your cravings, but instead of grabbing a chocolate bar, why don’t you munch on an apple instead? It’s naturally sweet AND also has lots of nutrients in it too. You can also try sugar substitutes with your food and drinks.

In addition, you should also drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly. Doing these will help to fight the negative effects of sugar, and will also lead you into a healthier lifestyle.

Sugar is a Silent Killer

Yes, sugar is very tempting and it does make our foods taste very nice, but in the end, the long-term health effects outweigh the short-term indulgence. Sugar is a silent killer and it’s time that you became aware.

So the next time you go out for a huge cup of White Chocolate Mocha or a generous slice of Red Velvet Cake, it’s best to think twice.

Posted by: SoCal Smiles Dentistry
Posted on: January 18th, 2012

5 Unique Things You Can Do This Year to Make Your Life Better for 2012


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Happy 2012 from SoCal Smiles Dentistry!

It’s a brand new year, a time for us to start fresh and improve our lives. 2012 brings with it the rare opportunity for us to make resolutions and changes. Have you thought about your own goals and resolutions for this year? If not, let me help you with 5 simple suggestions that will surely make your life better this 2012.

1. Clean out the garbage.

Make the most out of this fresh start by cleaning out last year’s garbage. And by cleaning, we literally mean “cleaning”. You can start with cleaning your office table and drawers. After that, proceed to the inevitable- your closet. Sort out through your clothes and take out the things that no longer fit you and those that you don’t wear anymore. Give old stuff away or hold a garage sale and make some extra cash. Cleaning will not only give you more space for new things, it’s also a very therapeutic activity.

 2. Stop “working” out.

Take the “work” out of “working out”. Make exercise fun. This year, find a unique way to burn calories while enjoying yourself. Join a dance class. Go swimming with your kids. Run daily with your dog. Buy a hula-hoop and shake your way to fitness. I’ve heard of people who’ve lost a lot of pounds by pole dancing. Whatever activity makes you excited, go for it!

3. Say YES.

This year make it a point to say “Yes” more often. Say yes to friends inviting you over for a party. Say yes to join a marathon. Agree to hosting an event. If your boss asks you to take on new responsibilities at work, accept it gladly. Who knows, it could lead to a promotion soon. Saying yes to more things will open new doors for you this 2012. New experiences, new acquaintances, new hobbies, all of these will enrich you and your life.

4. Become an expert.

2012 should become the year you become an expert. At what area you may ask? Anything you can think of! Reflect about the things you enjoy doing and focus on them this year. Have you always enjoyed designing clothes? Are you good at blogging? If you can’t think of anything yet, here’s a better idea, find a new activity or hobby and become an expert at that. You can attend a class or watch online tutorials of anything under the sun. Improving your current skills set can make you a more valuable employee, a more attractive partner, or better yet, a more interesting person!

5. Fight the urge to go online.

The internet is a great resource for knowledge, but unfortunately, it’s also an addictive place to dawdle and waste time. Take a look at how many hours you spend online in a day, and find out how much of that time is actually spent on work and productive things. This year, you should fight the urge to enhance your online profile, and actually go live your life in the real world. You’ll find that people are much more interesting in person than in Facebook and Twitter.

These are just some of the unique things you can do to improve your life in 2012. You can add a few more items to this list and make it your own. What’s important is that you have things to look forward to, and resolutions that you’ll stick to. Happy new year, everyone!   

Posted by: SoCal Smiles Dentistry
Posted on: January 5th, 2012

Dental Implants – The answer to missing teeth


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Feeling incomplete?

If you’re missing a tooth or more due to tooth decay, periodontal disease, or injury, then you’re probably trying your best not to smile to anyone. In addition to this, eating isn’t a very pleasant experience either and you probably encounter difficulty when chewing.

No need to worry though, because there’s an effective way to replace your missing teeth. The answer is dental implants.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are the solution of choice for people who want to address one or more missing teeth. This treatment is also a good option for people who are about to lose their teeth due to decay or severe periodontal disease.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth-root that is inserted into the one’s jawbone,  which thereby acts as an anchor to support a new tooth or several teeth.

Dental implants are usually made up of three parts:

  • Titanium base – this is the tooth-root replacement that joins with the jawbone
  • Abutment (or implant post) – connected to the titanium base which protrudes from the gum line
  • Crown (or denture) – resembles a natural tooth and is placed on top of the abutment to form the new tooth replacement

Benefits of using dental implants

A lot of dentists recommend dental implants because of their many advantages. These include:

  • Confidence – With your dental implant in place, you can now smile with more confidence and enjoy your favourite food without worrying one bit.
  • Aesthetic factors – Dental implants look very similar to your own teeth. They also feel natural as well. No one will ever notice that you had a tooth replacement.
  • Dental health – Dental implants don’t pose any risks into your adjacent teeth. Since the dentist doesn’t have to trim the adjacent teeth to support the implant, unlike a bridge they do with a bridge. So this means that the neighboring teeth are untouched and safe.
  • Effectiveness – Dental implants have a high success rate and are considered an excellent option for tooth replacement
  • Bone preservation- Dental Implants preserve the bone in the area they are placed into. When you loose a tooth the body automatically resorbs bone around the area the tooth used to be. With an Implant in place the body preserves the bone around that area and the surrounding tooth.

Are you a good candidate for dental implants?

Are you getting convinced about dental implants? If so, check out these conditions first to see if you’re a good candidate for a dental implant treatment.

In order for you to get a dental implant, you have to be in good general and oral health. Your jaw has to have adequate bone density in order to support the implant. You also need healthy gums that are free of periodontal disease.

Keep in mind that getting dental implants is a very precise procedure because they are intimately connected with your gum tissue and underlying bones. Therefore, consult only with an experienced periodontist.

To find out more about this procedure and to schedule a consultation, visit our office at http://www.socalsmiles.net/appointments.

Posted by: SoCal Smiles Dentistry
Posted on: December 28th, 2011

Veneers, Braces and Invisalign –Which teeth straightening method is best for you?


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Beauty queens, movie stars and fashion models, what do they all have in common? Great smiles and perfect teeth. But of course in reality, most people’s teeth aren’t that perfect. Sometimes teeth can become crowded or crooked. They can also protrude, get out of alignment or have irregular spacing.

It’s a good thing that there are orthodontic treatments that can be used to align and correct your teeth for a more attractive and healthier smile.

In this post we’ll tackle the three most popular ways to straighten your teeth. Take a good, hard look at each one and try to determine which one is best for you.

Veneers

Veneers are known as Dental Veneers, Porcelain Veneers, or Dental Porcelain Laminates. They are wafer-thin custom-made laminates that are designed to cover the front surface of teeth in order to improve its appearance.  Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials.  These laminates are customized in terms of color, shape, size or length, and then bonded into the front of the teeth.

Veneers are used to fix teeth that are discoloured, worn down, chipped, broken, misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped.

PROS:

  • They provide a natural tooth appearance
  • Tolerated well by gum tissue
  • Porcelain veneers are stain resistant
  • It can make teeth appear whiter

CONS:

  • The process is not reversible
  • Veneers are costly
  • They are not reparable if they chip or crack
  • Teeth may become more sensitive to hot or cold foods because enamel has been removed
  • The veneers may not exactly match the color of your teeth, and cannot be altered once in place
  • Not advisable for people who clench or grind their teeth

Braces

Dental or Orthodontic braces are used to straighten and align a person’s teeth. It can help position teeth at the correct angle as well as improve dental health. This treatment is most effective with children but it is also popular with a lot of adults who want to correct the defects in their teeth and jaw.

Dental braces typically consist of brackets and arch wires, as well as elastics that are used to hold the arch wires in place. The brackets can be composed of metal, ceramic, composite or a combination of these materials.

Braces work by constantly applying pressure into your teeth in order to move them into the necessary positions. To do this, one has to wear braces for at least 1 to 2 years.

PROS:

  • Braces have a great track record of working really well
  • Effectively straightens teeth which lasts for many years
  • Very effective for children as it guides their growing teeth into the proper angles

CONS:

  • High cost
  • Food gets caught in the wires  and it’s hard to eat certain types of foods
  • You need to clean your teeth thoroughly and regularly or else you’ll get a lot of cavities
  • There are cases when pitting happens in the surface of the tooth after the braces are removed
  • The  wire metal can chip or cut your gums
  • You have to wear retainers afterwards
  • Aesthetic appeal- the biggest drawback of braces is that they don’t look easy on the eyes and can be a cause for embarrassment

Invisalign

These types of aligners are virtually invisible and are made of a thermoplastic material that looks similar to teeth. They are also sometimes called, whitening trays. For this treatment, the user must wear the invisalign for at least one year, in order for their teeth to move into the desired position.

PROS:

  • Almost invisible, at a distance you can’t tell that they’re there
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Fewer emergencies – no wires poking out or gums getting damaged
  • Easy dental hygiene – because you can remove it before cleaning your teeth
  • You can eat or drink anything because you can remove your invisalign
  • If you wear it religiously, it will definitely work

CONS:

  • You have to take them out when eating or cleaning your teeth, can be a bit of a hassle
  • If you don’t wear them as directed (22 hours each day), your teeth won’t move
  • Costlier than braces and most orthodontic treatments
  • Transient lisp – in the beginning, the wearer may experience a minor lisp and speech problems as he or she adjusts to wearing the invisalign

Veneers, braces and invisalign treatments all have their pros and cons and it’s up to you to choose which one suits your personality and lifestyle better. In the end, getting straighter teeth is more than just having a great smile. When you have straight and perfectly aligned teeth, it’s easier to brush, floss and clean, which means that you’ll have better chances of avoiding tooth decay and gum disease.

 

To find out which teeth straightening option is best for you, schedule an appointment today and visit our office at http://www.socalsmiles.net/appointments.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: SoCal Smiles Dentistry
Posted on: December 19th, 2011

How to Avoid Periodontal Disease and Bone Loss for a Healthy Vibrant Smile


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The secret to a great smile - healthy teeth AND gums!

The Secret to a Great Smile is not Just Teeth

Everyone loves a great smile. It warms hearts, represents happiness, and spreads good cheer. And we all know the secret to a great smile- healthy teeth AND GUMS!

Most of the time people don’t think of their gums when they evaluate their smile. The gums, otherwise known as the gingiva cover the supporting structures of your teeth, most importantly the bone that surrounds the teeth and keeps them in your jaw.

If you loose bone around your teeth, the gums will receed and destruct your smile line. If you loose bone around your teeth then it doesn’t matter how great your cosmetic dentist is and what kind of porcelain crown they can put on your tooth. Bottom line- if everything below the tooth is not healthy then neither is the tooth!

Today we’ll discuss what causes tooth loss and how to avoid it. It’s time to get a closer look at bone loss and Periodontal Disease.

What is Periodontal Disease?

what is periodontal disease 
Periodontal Disease is the number one cause of bone loss amongst the young and the elderly.

Technically speaking, Periodontal Disease is a slow progressive disease that leaves the gums red and puffy while housing large amounts of bacteria underneath them. Usually the area that the bacteria accumulate in is called a “pocket.” Periodontal pockets keep bacteria around your teeth and produce a toxin that leads to bone loss. This can lead to tooth loss. It can affect one tooth, or many teeth at a time.

Bones loss, when we talk about Periodontal Disease, means the bone that’s lost around the tooth. In your gums, there are roots that go into your bone and there’s bone around those roots.

When you lose the bone around those roots, the tooth tends to loosen. As the Periodontal Disease progresses (if left untreated,)the bone tissue disappears and the tooth can eventually get loose and fall out.

Signs, Causes, and Effects of Periodontal Disease and Bone Loss

The number one cause of Periodontal Disease is plaque around the tooth or inside the pocket around the tooth. Remember plaque is just a colony of bacteria. The plaque hardens if we don’t floss and brush regularly and effectively. The minerals in your saliva harden that soft plaque layer and turn them into tartar. Tartar is the rock hard yellowish layer that we remove when you come to the office, usually we use a scaler or ultrasonic to remove this since it can’t be eliminated with a toothbrush. It’s very important to floss because 35% of the bacteria on your teeth will not be eliminated if you don’t floss. Here are some signs and causes of Periodontal Disease.

Signs of Periodontal Disease:

  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  • Odor of the breath
  • Foul taste in your mouth
  • Red and puffy gums
  • Tooth mobility or shifting through time
  • Abcesses around any of the teeth
  • Large perio pockets (discovered by your dentist only)
  • Pain on chewing

Causes for Periodontal Disease include:

  • Smoking / Tobacco Use
  • Genetics
  • Puberty
  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Stress
  • Medications
  • Grinding or Clenching your teeth
  • Diabetes

Some Major Effects of Periodontal Disease:

The last 10 years the American Heart Association has discovered a direct link between C-reactive protein(CRP), heart disease, and diabetes. When you have periodontal disease your CRP levels rise and make you more susceptible to heart disease and diabetes. YES, having bad gums and poor oral hygeine can affect the health of your heart! In addition gum disease has a snowball effect- the more of it you have the more you can get. If you suspect you have periodontal disease then come and and get your teeth cleaned so you can begin to reverse its effects. You won’t grow the bone back, but you can prevent further loss by doing some very basic things.

The number one way to prevent periodontal disease is by:

FLOSSING EVERYDAY

Most of the time people do not floss. The bacteria builds up and then irritates the gums. The gums start to bleed and then create more of an enviroment for more build-up and then all that build up solidifies and turns into tartar. The tartar resorbs the bone, and the process goes on and on. So, you wanna know a secret to keep your teeth?—FLOSS! Brushing is important but flossing is even more important because the plaque between the teeth can ONLY be taken care of with floss. And periodontal disease usually starts in between the teeth.

Other options are periodontal surgery, including bone grafting around the site that the bone has been resorbed at, and also cleaning those areas out by doing a “deep cleaning”.

Our suggestion, avoid the surgical approaches and take the 2 minutes twice a day to brush and floss. And if you haven’t gotten your teeth cleaned then schedule and appointment and get that tarter off of them so you can start on a clean slate!

After all, we all want to flash our best smiles everyday right?

 

For more information about dental health, visit our office at http://www.socalsmiles.net/appointments.

Posted by: SoCal Smiles Dentistry
Posted on: December 12th, 2011

3 Great Sugar-Free Products to Help You Stay Healthy


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Reasons to avoid sugar

Are you a sweet tooth? Does the thought of sugar make you want to jump out of bed in the morning? If you answered yes, then it’s time to re-evaluate your diet. Sugar can be very bad for your health and there are plenty of reasons to avoid it. Here are some of the reasons to cut back on sugar:

Tooth Decay - Sugar is one of the most damaging things to your teeth
• Weight Gain and Obesity
• Raises your blood sugar level
• Diabetes
• Can lead to osteoporosis
• Contributes to Heart Disease
• Can cause Gallstones
• Weakens eyesight
• Can cause arthritis
• Sugar is addictive

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! But instead of focusing on the negative effects of sugar, let’s look at some of the best sugar-free alternatives in the market today.

Great tasting sugar-free alternatives

Zevia soda is sugar free and it tastes great!

1. Zevia Soda
Zevia is a zero-calorie, all-natural soda. Its main ingredient is a herb called Stevia which is a small green plant from the Sunflower family that originated from South America. The Stevia leaf can be 300 times sweeter than sugar, but it has no caloric value or effect on blood sugar levels. It also uses another natural sweetener called Erythritol, a “sugar alcohol” which is a component of fruits and vegetables.

FYI, a can of Coke for example has 155-200 calories and 42 grams of sugar. As for Zevia, each serving adds ZERO sugar and only 13 grams of carbs.

Another good thing about Zevia is that it doesn’t have Aspartame (usually found in diet soda) which is known to have numerous negative effects on the body (brain tumors, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders, epilispsy, and carcinogenic effects).

The best thing about Zevia? It tastes great! You’d never think that it was so healthy.

2. Xylitol Sweetener
Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute. This sugar-free sweetener can be used for your morning coffee, cereal or juices, or any of your foods and drinks. It’s a naturally occurring carbohydrate that is found in fibrous fruits and vegetables. In its pure form, Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and taste like sugar.

Another great thing about Xylitol is that it’s known to prevent cavities in your teeth. It helps reduce the development of dental caries, reduces plaque formation, and aids in the repair of damaged tooth enamel.

There are a variety of products that use Xylitol, from toothpastes to chewing gums, mints and nasal sprays.

spry chewing gum tastes awesome and is sugar free

3. Spry Chewing Gum
Spry is a refreshing, sugar-free chewing gum that is sweetened 100% with Xylitol. This great-tasting gum is great for a fresher breath and healthier teeth. Studies have shown that regular use of Xylitol chewing gums like Spry can actually reduce the risk of dental caries. Another great thing about Spry is that it doesn’t have Aspartame or any other dangerous artificial sweeteners.

So there you have it, three of the best sugar-free substitutes that you can add to your grocery shopping list. They can be found in most vitamin shops and health food stores, as well as online.

With these alternatives, you can take care of your teeth and maintain your weight, without sacrificing taste and quality!

For more information about dental health visit our office at http://www.socalsmiles.net/appointments.

Posted by: SoCal Smiles Dentistry
Posted on: December 7th, 2011

Heard of these Sugar-Free Products?


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Posted by: SoCal Smiles Dentistry
Posted on: March 22nd, 2011

13 Interesting Facts about Your Teeth


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The human teeth were intended to last for a person’s lifetime. According to the AAP or American Academy of Periodontology, around fifty percent of the population says that the smile is the initial feature that they notice about other people. People would often say that they ‘would kill for a Julia Robert’s smile’. How far would you go to achieve that? Here are fun and interesting facts about the teeth that you might find pretty interesting.

1. An average human being has around 32 teeth. This includes four wisdom teeth, eight incisors, four canines, twelve molars and eight premolars.

2. A person develops two sets of teeth in his entire lifetime. The first set is also known as your ‘baby teeth’ which will start to lose by the time you reach six or seven years old. When you reach 21 years of age, you already have your permanent set of teeth.

3. The People’s Republic of China has set aside September 20 as a national holiday for ‘Love your Teeth Day’.

4. In the 1800s, people who had false teeth in England ate in their bedrooms before gatherings and events at the dinner table. This unique Victorian tradition protected them against the embarrassment of having their teeth ‘fall off’ while dining.

5. The ancient Chinese usually wrapped tiny parchment around their painful teeth which contained written incantations and prayers to relieve pain.

6. The ancient Greeks used pliers for teeth extractions.

7. In Germany, a common Middle Age custom was to kiss a donkey to relieve toothaches.

8. A long time ago, humans utilized charcoal or ground up chalk, ashes, lemon juice, and honey-tobacco mixture to clean their teeth. It was only around a hundred years ago that the toothpaste was invented.

9. Dentists would recommend that you keep your toothbrush at least six feet away from your toilet to avoid many airborne particles that results from flushing.

10. Even before toothbrushes were invented, people used their fingers and twigs in cleaning their teeth.

11. Today, around forty percent of people over 65 years do not have a complete set of teeth.

12. In an entire human lifetime, the average person produces around 100,000 gallons of saliva. As people age, their salivary secretions also decrease making them more susceptible to dental diseases.

13. A root canal isn’t usually painful. With the use of today’s modern technology, root canals are nothing like what most people think it is. It can be as painless as a tooth filing.

Posted by: SoCal Smiles Dentistry
Posted on: February 18th, 2011

Sugar That’s Good For You?


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Posted by: SoCal Smiles Dentistry
Posted on: February 15th, 2011

Five Things You Don’t Know About Bad Breath


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Otherwise known as halitosis, bad breath can ruin a date, bomb a job interview and leave you feeling not so fresh. Everyone knows that staying away from garlic, popping a sugar-free breath mint and maintaining good oral hygiene can improve your chances of people coming near you, but there’s a lot you probably don’t know. To help you discern fact from fiction, here are five things you probably don’t know about bad breath:

  1. Dehydration Is A Major Cause: The less hydrated your mouth is, the more likely your breath is to smell. Your best bet is to drink a glass of water and brush your teeth. If you’re on the go, pop a piece of sugarless gum. This will generate more saliva, making bad breath to take a hike. Overall, make sure that you’re staying away from caffeinated, sugary and alcoholic beverages (all of which can dehydrate you), and replace them with water. You’ll notice a big difference in how close people want to get to you.
  2. Mouthwash Does Not Cure All: Since many mouthwashes contain alcohol, they can often cause your mouth to be dry, which you’ve already learned is a big culprit when it comes to bad breath. Next time you buy mouthwash, look for a formula with chlorine dioxide as the main ingredient, not alcohol.
  3. Hormones Can Effect Bad Breath: Yes ladies, that means that if it’s that time of the month, you’re more likely to be asked to pop a mint. This also means that your bad breath may be caused by something more serious, like a medical condition. Make sure you tell your doctor and dentist if you feel like your bad breath just won’t go away – you could have a more serious problem on your hands.
  4. You Can’t Smell Your Own Bad Breath: People are always cupping their hands and trying to smell their own breath. The problem is that people get used to their own smell. Also, bad breath doesn’t really reach the surface until you talk. Hopefully, you have honest friends and family who will tell you if you smell – because you won’t be able to notice.
  5. Talking Can Cause Bad Breath: It’s a good thing you can’t smell over the phone when a telemarketer calls your house, isn’t it? This goes back to the fact that a dry mouth is a stinky mouth. Whether you’re a salesman, a lawyer or just a chatty Cathy in general, make sure you’re drinking lots of water throughout the day.

Ask your dentist for more information. He/she will be more than happy to help you solve your bad breath issues and tell you if it’s something to be worried about.

Posted by: SoCal Smiles Dentistry
Posted on: October 12th, 2010