Good Solutions for Bad Breath
Article reprinted from Today’s Chicago Woman, 2/96.
Carol is a bright, witty 26-year-old woman with a law degree. She can’t find a job and it’s not because the legal field is saturated or that she doesn’t have the credentials. Simply put, her. breath reeks. You’d think someone would tell her, but with our litigious society, none of the people she meets in an interview is going to inform her that she has halitosis.
Bad breath can be caused by foods such as garlic, coffee or tobacco. but 90% of the cause is usually bacterial production of volatile sulfur compounds or VSC. These are the same compounds that are found in rotten eggs, Gum disease, faulty fillings, sinusitis, infected tonsils, systemic diseases, and/or gastrointestinal ailments can cause VSC to increase, resulting in foul breath.
Get to the cause
Over $1 billion is spent in the US on superficial breath treatments such as mouthwashes, mints and sprays. These products do not treat the cause: they simply act as a temporary cover-up and sometimes the combination of the two odors results in an even worse smell.
Millions of people have bad breath and don’t even realize it. because it’s hard to smell your own breath and often, even your best friend isn’t going to tell you that you and Fido have something in common. According to Benjamin S. Fiss, DDS. approximately 65% of the population has chronic bad breath. “One way to tell if you have bad breath is to floss and smell it to determine odor” says Dr. Fiss. The bacteria which create VSC thrive in places where there is kale or no air, like under the gums, in the crevices of the tongue, and between the teeth They are especially active in gingivitis and gum disease and on the surface of the tongue.
” Interestingly, there’s a huge group of people that think they have bad breath and they don’t,” says Dr. Fiss. ‘ But there’s also a large group that does have a problem. In these instances. over 90% of the cause is bad oral hygiene.” Inadequate dental work, periodontal disease, failure to floss, and lack of dental care can all contribute to bad breath.
“‘Halitosis can be treated,” continues Dr. Fiss. “Unfortunately, many people ignore the problem, because they aren’t aware there even is one.” The majority of cases can be treated by good oral health. Regular dental checkups are a must, and if gums bleed or swell, it’s time to visit a dentist. By not seeking treatment, permanent damage can be done to the gums and teeth can be lost, to say nothing about a decline in your social life because of foul breath.
Know your mouth
“Since daily oral hygiene is critical to good health.’ explains Dr. Fiss, we educate our patients on how to take care of their teeth and supporting structures.” This is accomplished by actively demonstrating the problems found in the mouth. The process involves using a tiny probe with a camera at the end of the instrument to show patients their gums and teeth on a video monitor. Small cracks and fissures, along with tooth decay, receding gums, and any other abnormalities can be viewed by the patient.
In addition, through digital computerization a patient can be graphically shown the stages of gum disease. This helps patients to understand the importance of regular brushing and flossing.
“By spending time educating and motivating a patient, my staff and I work as a team toward creating and maintaining optimal oral health, says Dr. Fiss. Available for consultation, Dr. Fiss is located at 919 N. Michigan Ave., phone 312-951-5230.
Know your dentist
If you haven’t had any serious tooth or gum problems, you’re lucky. But as the Girl Scout motto says. “Be prepared.” You may have a dentist now that does an okay job with regular cleaning and x-rays.
However, if you break a tooth, is this dentist skilled in fitting crowns? If you get periodontal disease. will this be the doctor you’ll trust?
It’s hard to determine how up-to-date your dentist is, but you can get an idea of how he/she works by inspecting how the overall offices are maintained, how clean the work area is. and how much has been invested in up-to-date equipment. You may have to spend extra time doing this, but you’ll appreciate the effort if and when you have a serious problem.
Health note: pamper yourself at Georgette Klinger
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