PATIENTS

 Topics of Interest

Topics of Interest

At Peabody Dental Care, we are often asked about certain topics in dentistry. Here, our Santa Cruz, CA, team discusses some of the most common ailments and conditions.

Bad Breath

Foods like onion, garlic, and fish can affect your breath and leave an unpleasant odor. The food travels to the bloodstream where it’s absorbed before it is expelled through the lungs. The strong odor lingers until the food is removed from the body. Along with poor brushing and flossing habits, food, debris, and bacteria can remain in the mouth, which can lead to bad mouth odors.

A dry mouth can also lead to bad breath due to a decrease in saliva, which is a natural mouth cleanser. Salivary gland issues and certain medications can contribute to dry mouth and bad breath. Smokers often experience bad breath due to tobacco products. It is crucial for smokers to stop smoking to improve their health and breath.

While many cases of bad breath are harmless, some have legitimate medical concerns. These individuals’ bad odors might not even originate from their mouths but could be coming from the stomach, nose, throat, or lungs. This is why it’s important to see your dentist to determine a cause for unpleasant breath.

Improving oral care, such as brushing and flossing more thoroughly and regularly, helps many patients. Using mouthwash also can help. If gum disease or decay is the cause, Dr. Peabody can provide treatment to address these underlying conditions.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are also known as aphthous ulcers. These small lesions can develop inside your mouth on the soft tissues, including under the tongue or inside the lips or cheeks. They can also develop on your gums. These shallow sores are typically oval and yellow or white in the middle. Canker sores can affect anyone but are more common among women, teens, and young adults.

 

These sores can be painful and can make it difficult to speak or eat. While most canker sores go away without treatment in about a week or two, some persist for longer. These are known as major canker sores and are usually larger and can be very painful. They can take up to six weeks to heal and can leave behind scar tissue.

 

Canker sores can result from brushing too hard, biting down on the cheek, or from a dental procedure. Some kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes contain an ingredient that can lead to the sores. If your diet is lacking in certain nutrients like iron or folic acid, you might be more prone to canker sores. Hormonal imbalances, allergic reactions to bacteria in the mouth, and stress are other common causes. Additionally, certain health issues like autoimmune disorders and Celiac disease can make you more susceptible.

 

When you seek treatment for major canker sores, your dentist can prescribe special mouthwashes that contain lidocaine to alleviate pain or a steroid to minimize swelling and pain. There are also various topical creams, gels, and pastes that can be applied directly to a canker sore. For more severe cases, your dentist might prescribe an oral medication.

Bruxism

Bruxism or tooth clenching or grinding is when the upper and lower teeth come in contact with each other excessively. It can affect people of all ages and can happen in the day or especially at night when individuals aren’t aware.

The following complications can arise:

  • Worn down tooth enamel
  • Damaged fillings or restorations
  • Increased problems with the TMJ
  • Toothaches, headaches, and earaches
  • Increased tooth sensitivity and mobility
  • Chipped and cracked teeth

 

While there is no clear-cut cure for the condition, nightguards can keep teeth from clenching to prevent further pain and complications.

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