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Dental Care
January 11, 2013 COMMENT comment
     
Dental Care
Dr Sonal Bhatia(Dental Surgeon)
 
 
I have been battling bad breath for the past several years. My work requires me to constantly deal with a lot of people; the problem makes it very difficult to function on a daily basis. It becomes very embarrassing when my kids tell me they smell my breath. My colleagues too tell me indirectly about it. I regularly fl oss, brush and use mouthwash but nothing really seems to work. Please tell me what to do.
Shikha, Delhi

All the food eaten begins to be broken down in your mouth. It is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream and eventually carried to your lungs and given off in your breath. If you eat foods with strong odour (such as garlic or onions), brushing and flossing – even mouthwash – merely covers up the odour temporarily and will not
go away completely until the food has passed through your body. Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries. The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) can also cause bad breath decompose. Respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems can sometimes lead to bad breath as well. Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush teeth after you eat (keep a toothbrush at work or school to brush after lunch). Don’t forget to brush the tongue, too. Replace your toothbrush every two to three months. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between teeth once a day. Drink lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria.

I am a few weeks pregnant with my first child. I have heard it is common to have dental problems during pregnancy. Since childhood, I have had dental phobia. Can you please tell me about the common problems one experiences during pregnancy and what are the precautionary steps one should take?
Divya, Delhi

During pregnancy, increased acidity in the mouth increases the risk of tooth decay. Vomiting during pregnancy can aggravate the problem by exposing the teeth to more gastric acid. The hormonal changes of pregnancy can lead to gingivitis, an inflammation of the superficial gum tissue. Left untreated, severe gum disease may be associated with preterm birth and low birth weight. Dental care is safe and effective during pregnancy. Treatment can be provided throughout pregnancy; however, the time period between the 14th and 20th week is ideal. Any elective treatment can be deferred until after delivery. However, delay in necessary treatment could result in significant risk to the mother and indirectly to the foetus. Just adopt simple practices like brushing teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily; limit foods containing sugar to mealtimes only; choose water or low-fat milk as a beverage. Avoid carbonated beverages. Choose fruit instead of juice to meet the recommended daily fruit intake. Ideally, schedule a dental exam before pregnancy to treat any dental problems ahead of time.

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