The Keto Diet & Your Oral Health

March is National Nutrition Month and is hosted every year by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It strives to bring awareness to the importance of how eating right can help us live longer, healthier lives. When some people consider how nutrition plays a role in their overall health, they may turn to the latest in diet trends. The Keto Diet is no exception. But even though the Keto Diet can help some individuals lose weight, your dentist in Reno knows that there may be some underlying oral health concerns associated with it. 

What is the Keto Diet? 

The basis of the Keto Diet involves decreasing the intake of carbohydrates and increasing more high-fat foods, which would cause the body to enter something ketosis. Ketosis occurs when the body burns off fat instead of glucose, including glucose from carbs. While this can help shed the pounds, it also produces three ketones as a result. These three ketones are acetoacetate, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetone. The latter, acetone, is what may be concerning to your dentist in Reno

Keto Diet & Bad Breath

Acetone is something that can’t be used to store energy, so our bodies release it by either urination or through the lungs. When it’s expelled through the lungs, people may start to experience bad breath or halitosis. This foul odor can be combated through good oral hygiene habits such as brushing your teeth and tongue and flossing daily. Chewing gum and drinking plenty of water throughout the day may also help alleviate bad breath caused by the Keto Diet. Additionally, those who are committed to the Keto Diet over a long period of time may become “keto-adapted,” which means the bad breath will go away. 

Oral Health Benefits of the Keto Diet

Now, before you bail on the Keto Diet for fear of bad breath, your dentist in Reno wants you to know that there are actually also some potential oral health benefits behind the diet. Carbohydrates contain a lot of sugars, which are one of the worst things for your teeth. When we eat foods that are loaded with carbs, the bacteria in our mouths are essentially given a free meal. As a side effect, these bacteria release acid which can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of decay. Therefore, reducing the number of carbs you consume, and the sugars found in them, can benefit your oral health. In fact, some research shows that decreasing carbohydrate intake can lower the likelihood of cavities and even gum disease by 50% or more. 

Everyone is Different

The truth is, there are pros and cons to the Keto Diet as it relates to oral health and overall health. It’s important to know that what may work for one person may actually be harmful to another. So before you embark on a new diet, make sure you talk with your doctor to be sure that your dietary plans are appropriate for you and your body. 

When it comes to oral health, make sure to talk with your dentist in Reno and your dental hygienist about any changes to health history and even dietary changes. The truth is, things that affect your overall health can also affect your oral health and vice versa, so don’t be afraid to share any changes with your dental team at every appointment so that you’re sure to get the best care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Bad Breath Remedies

Bad breath is an incredibly common concern for many Americans. In fact, according to Medical News Today, bad breath affects an estimated 25% of the population. Even though there are various things that can cause bad breath, there are a few that concern your dentist in Reno. The truth is, several causes of bad breath are directly related to the overall health of your mouth and some of the problems linked to bad breath can be serious. Because of this, it’s important to first understand what causes bad breath before you can determine how to fix it. 

What Causes Bad Breath?

As we’ve mentioned, bad breath can be caused by any number of things, some concerning and some not. For example, bad breath can be a result of what we eat or drink such as garlic or coffee. Bad breath caused by foods or drinks usually isn’t something to worry about as it’s quickly alleviated by brushing or chewing sugar-free gum. However, when bad breath is chronic and can’t be tied to a fragrant food, it’s typically a sign of oral health problem.

Why is Bad Breath Bad? 

Bad breath that doesn’t go away is most often the result of too much bacteria lingering around the mouth. When bacteria build up in the mouth it increases the likelihood of decay, cavities, and gum disease. Gum disease, in particular, is an infection that can lead to tooth loss as well as other problems throughout the body such as heart disease, increased risk of stroke, and respiratory complications. Any sign of a lingering odor in your mouth is a clue that you should see your dentist in Reno

Bad Breath Remedies

We understand that bad breath can be embarrassing, but there are things you can do to treat it.

  1. Drink Water. Drinking water throughout the day will help keep your mouth moist and saliva flowing, both of which are important to neutralize acid, wash away bacteria, and keep breath fresh. If we don’t drink enough water or suffer from dry mouth, bacteria will flourish. The result is bad breath. 
  1. Have Good Oral Hygiene Habits. You’ve heard us say it a million times – having good oral hygiene can go a long way in keeping your mouth healthy and your breath fresh. Make sure that you’re brushing and flossing every day to remove any food particles and bacteria that have built up throughout the day. Don’t forget to gently scrub your tongue as those tiny bumps make perfect places for bacteria to hide.  
  1. See Your Dentist in Reno. Even though properly brushing and flossing every day can help protect teeth and breath, it’s still important to see your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings that remove plaque and tartar your regular toothbrush just can’t get. These visits are also crucial to catching any oral health problems, such as gum disease, early when treatment is more successful. 

If you suffer from bad breath and you’re ready to get rid of it once and for all, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dental team will help diagnose the underlying cause of your bad breath and talk with you about the best way to treat it.

The Oral Health Dangers of Cough Medicine

During this time of the year, it seems as if everyone we encounter is sneezing, sniffling, or coughing. While we do as much as we can to avoid getting a cold, sometimes we just get sick. When we do get a case of the coughs we just want it to go away, so we will try almost anything to make it stop. Most commonly, we’ll suck on cough drops and take cough syrup throughout the day. Even though these medications can alleviate our symptoms, your dentist in Reno wants you to know that the common ingredients in cough medicine do pose risks to oral health.    

Concerning Ingredients

Many cough syrups and cough drops contain ingredients that can cause damage to teeth. More specifically, those medications containing sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, and alcohol are the most concerning to your Reno dentist. The truth is, these ingredients can make us feel better during the course of a cold but can have long-term negative side effects on oral health. 

Sugars

We’ve all heard Mary Poppins sing about how a spoonful of sugar will help the medicine go down, and she was right. Most cough syrups and cough drops contain sugar to help mask their naturally bad and bitter taste. But just like sugary snacks and foods, these sugars can be dangerous to teeth. When we introduce sugars into our mouths we can essentially create a feeding frenzy for bacteria. These bacteria will feed on sugar and then release an acidic byproduct. This acid will wear away tooth enamel and increases the risk of decay and cavities.  

Alcohol

Besides sugar, some cold medicines contain small amounts of alcohol. Alcohol is known to cause dry mouth, even in smaller quantities. Normally, our mouths produce a lot of saliva — between 0.5 and 1.5 liters every day. This saliva helps neutralize dangerous acids and reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth. However, when alcohol causes dry mouth, saliva production slows and acids and bacteria stick around. This can increase the likelihood of decay. 

Feel Better While Protecting Teeth

Even though cold medicine can increase the risk of tooth decay and cavities, you shouldn’t suffer through a cold by not taking it. However, your dentist in Reno my recommend: 

  • Taking a pill instead of liquid medication. Liquid medication can basically coat your mouth with sugar and alcohol, while pills greatly reduce how much contact your mouth has with those ingredients. 
  • Taking cold medication with food. When we eat we tend to produce more saliva which, as we know, will help wash away sugar and alcohol before they have a chance to cause damage.  
  • Brushing your teeth after you take medicine, especially before bed. Taking medicine then brushing your teeth will help reduce the amount of sugar and alcohol left in the mouth. This is particularly important before bed. Taking cough syrup before bed without brushing your teeth after means the ingredients are lingering in the mouth all night long.  

While we truly hope our patients and neighbors stay healthy all year round if you do happen to get sick, try taking medicine using the tips above to protect your smile.

Why Do I Bite My Lips, Cheeks, and Tongue?

Biting your lips, cheeks, or tongue is a common habit for many people. While it may seem relatively harmless, biting the soft tissues in our mouths can lead to serious and painful problems. But like any habit, it can be difficult to stop biting your lips, cheeks, or tongue. Join your Reno dentist as we share a bit about why biting is bad and what you can do to break the habit. 

Why We Bite
There are several possible explanations behind why we bite our lips, cheeks, or tongue. Occasionally, stress or nerves can be to blame. If you’re someone who chronically bites, this is most likely the case. But there are things you can try to help you stop. First, try to become more aware of when you bite. Maybe it’s during times of high stress or perhaps when you’re concentrating really hard. Once you know when you’re more likely to bite, you can start to work on consciously recognizing it and stopping it. 

Other times, biting a lip, cheek, or tongue is purely accidental and can happen while we’re chewing or even during a sneeze. Even though these accidental bites can be painful and may even bleed, they’re usually not something to be concerned about and should heal on their own. However, there are some people who seem to bite their lip, cheek, or tongue accidentally a lot. If this is the case, it could be a sign of something a bit more serious such as a bad bite or TMJ disorder. Both of these dental concerns can mean that your top teeth don’t line up properly with your bottom teeth which makes it really easy for an accidental chomp to your cheek, lip, or tongue to occur. Your dentist in Reno will be able to help you determine if this is the case for you.  

Why is Biting Bad? 
First and foremost, biting the soft tissues of the mouth hurts, and the pain can last for a few days after the initial bite due to the sore that pops up as a result of the trauma. These sores that develop after a bite can become infected if they aren’t cleaned. Additionally, chronic biters can suffer from inflammation, swelling, pain, and redness. But that’s not all. If a bad bite or TMJ disorder is playing a role in your biting, you may also experience the common symptoms that accompany those problems including headaches and jaw pain.  

How Do You Stop Biting? 
Treatment of lip, cheek, or tongue biting depends on what’s causing it in the first place. If biting is a nervous habit, try to work with yourself to consciously stop it. More severe cases can benefit from behavioral therapy. If you suspect that your chronic accidental biting is because of a bad bite, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno. Your dental team is trained to help identify a bad bite and can suggest the most appropriate treatment for your specific case so you can stop biting once and for all.

What Can Be Done About Teeth Stained From Tobacco Use

Tobacco use can increase your risk for a number of different health problems. When you limit the discussion to your oral health, you can still find several issues (oral cancer, tooth decay, gum disease) you can be more likely to suffer due to tobacco use. One hard to miss issue is the effect on your smile. Tobacco products can leave you with stains that dull your smile, and leave it with an unflattering yellowish quality. To eliminate the stains that have built up, you can discuss cosmetic treatment with your dentist. A professional whitening treatment will break up accumulated stains in your teeth, which can bring them back to a whiter appearance. Continue reading “What Can Be Done About Teeth Stained From Tobacco Use”

Do You Have An Extra Bone In Your Mouth?

tori1

You may have an extra bone in your mouth and not know it. If you do it is called a torus–a harmless, slow-growing bone. Tori is plural for torus. Tori vary in size and are often found via dental x-rays. Because Tori are harmless and usually don’t cause pain or other problems, they often go unnoticed. Do you have an extra bone in your mouth?

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Are You At Risk For Cavities?

toothdecayaheadCavities are most common in children and young adults, but they can develop at any age. According to statistics, 92 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have experienced cavities in their permanent teeth. As you can see cavities are common. One of the major reasons there is so much tooth decay is because our diets overwhelmingly consist of sugars and starches. Lack of proper oral hygiene is another reason. Are some people at a higher risk for cavities than others? And if so who? Are you at risk for cavities?

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Aphthous Ulcer FAQs

burnDo you have an aphthous ulcer? You may have had, at one time or another. They aren’t very common, but they can be very uncomfortable. Have you ever had a sore in your mouth? Chances are you have. It may have only lasted a day or two then you probably forgot all about it. In most cases, mouth sores go away by themselves. Is there a difference between an aphthous ulcer and a mouth sore? Find out by reading the aphthous ulcer FAQs below.

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Stomatitis: Not a Stomach Disease

cankersWhat is stomatitis? No, it is not a stomach disease. “Stoma” is latin for “mouth” and “itis” is the suffix for inflammatory diseases. Therefore, stomatitis is a sore or inflammation that occurs in your mouth. Stomatitis sounds more serious than it is but it can be uncomfortable. It can make eating, drinking, and speaking difficult. Learn more about stomatitis, its symptoms, and treatments, by taking the true or false quiz below.

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Is Your Toothpaste Right For You?

toothpaste1Do you ever end up confused when trying to choose a toothpaste? With the many different brands and varieties on the market it is easy to become confused. Which toothpaste is right for you? Do you have sensitive teeth? Do you have gingivitis, periodontal disease, bad breath? Are you hoping to get your teeth a few shades whiter, or is your only concern fighting cavities? Read on to find out if the toothpaste you’re using is the right toothpaste for you.

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