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Tobacco is highly addictive, and smoking is a huge daily problem for individuals all across America and throughout the globe. Many of these folks have a strong desire to quit. Of course, people mainly want to stop smoking because of the damaging effect that it has on their heart and lungs, but another strong motivator is the negative impact that smoking has on an individual’s teeth and oral health. In today’s post, we’ll explore just how smoking impacts your mouth and provide you with some useful tips for quitting today.

The Effect of Smoking on Your Mouth

Okay, so how bad is smoking for your mouth, really? The answer is: very bad. Here’s a look at some of the many ways that smoking can negatively impact your oral health:

Staining/Discoloration — The most obvious problem created by smoking is that your teeth can begin to yellow and look discolored. This staining is permanent without professional treatment, and it can make you feel self-conscious and less attractive.

Bad Breath — No one wants to be the person with stinky breath, but if you smoke, there’s a stronger chance that yours is not so pleasant.

Periodontal Disease — Smoking actually causes periodontal disease. This bacterial infection destroys soft tissue and bone that are needed to keep your teeth anchored to your jawbone. As the gums sicken and recede, you’ll notice bleeding. Over time, your teeth will become loose and you’ll experience pain. One or more of your teeth may even fall out. What’s more, tooth replacement procedures are less successful in smoker’s mouths due to existing damage.

Information and Tips for Quitting

Because tobacco is extremely addictive, quitting can be a major challenge. Before attempting to quit, it’s important that you learn all about what will be happening to you from a psychological standpoint. This is what will help you find the most success as you work to overcome cravings and any anxiety you may experience.

Your Last Cigarette — You’ll probably feel some mixed emotions when smoking your last cigarette. On one hand, you’ll feel proud of yourself for taking a step to improve your health. You might be excited about what the future holds. At the same time, though, you may also notice fear or panic setting in. This is where it’s important to remind yourself that quitting is all about taking things one step at a time.

Hours After Your Last Cigarette — At this point, you’re going to notice your first cravings beginning to kick in. Expect it and prepare ways to distract yourself, like going for a walk, seeing a movie with friends, or cleaning the house. You might also experience headaches and hunger. Again, being prepared with distracting activities, snacks, and water intake will help. Remember that the symptoms will pass soon.

Day 1 — One of the hardest parts of quitting smoking is that smoking has likely become a major part of your daily routine. We suggest playing around with your routine and shaking things up so that you aren’t hit with the urge to pick up out of habit.

Day 3 — By now, the worst should be over. Your cravings should subside significantly and you’re learning to do things a new way.

Since the first 2 weeks are the most difficult, we recommend seeking out the support of a group or a trusted friend in order to help get you through more comfortably. Your hard work WILL pay off.

Quitting smoking will prevent any future problems with your teeth, but you have have some stains or existing issues that need to be addressed. Talk to Dr. Bruce McArthur about your options for improving the look and health of your smile today.

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We all want to think that our breath smells just wonderfully, but the truth is that millions of people experience bad breath every day. The problem is that it’s difficult to know when you have bad breath until someone points it out, which can be extremely embarrassing.

The good news is that preventing bad breath isn’t a difficult thing to do. In fact, once you become conscious of it, you could very well never have bad breath again. Here are some tips that we recommend you start following right now:

Brush and Floss Regularly

This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people skip flossing or brushing their teeth. Both of these are very important for proper dental and oral health. Some people will brush and skip flossing, but that can spell danger, too — the food particles left between your teeth by your brush can decay over the course of your day and cause an odor.

Rinse Your Mouth

In addition to brushing and flossing, you should also consider the use of a mouthwash on a daily basis. Mouthwash is formulated to kill the germs that cause bad breath. Plus, a fresh minty taste can give you the confidence of good smelling breath. If bad breath is a concern, add this to your dental health routine.

Scrape Your Tongue

This is one of those activities that many people never consider. The unfortunate truth is that bacteria collects on your tongue as a kind of coating that is typically visible (and disgusting, if we’re being completely honest). You need to use your toothbrush to scrape the entire tongue, including the back. If your brush is too big to do this comfortably, don’t fret — just pick up a pack of tongue scrapers to get the job done.

Drink Plenty of Water

Saliva is your mouth’s natural defense against bacteria and bad breath. If your mouth isn’t moist enough, though, you won’t make enough saliva to help keep it clean. We suggest that you drink plenty of water during the day to keep your mouth moist. And if it’s a chronic problem, you might want to use a humidifier at night to moisten the air in your home.

Quit Smoking

Tobacco products cause extensive damage to your overall health, and will certainly cause you to have bad breath. Just ask a non-smoker what they think of your breath, and if they’re being honest, you won’t like the answer. As a bonus, giving up smoking will also lower your chances of lung cancer and various other maladies. And for God’s sake — if you’re using a chewing tobacco, cut that out, too, before you develop mouth cancer.

Keep Your Gums Healthy

Millions of people suffer from gum disease in any given year, and that’s a big reason why bad breath is such a problem these days. If you suffer from gum disease, speak to your dentist about ways to fix it before the condition worsens. If you let things get too bad, bad breath won’t be your only concern — you could also be looking at tooth loss.

Avoid Certain Foods

Some foods, like garlic and onions, will make your breath smell something fierce. The best way to stop this from happening is to avoid these types of foods altogether. If you love those things and don’t want to avoid them, though, then make sure you have toothpaste or mouthwash around to help defeat the odor.

Would you like to learn more about how you and your family can avoid bad breath and improve your overall dental and oral health? Contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS today, and we’ll get you started on a path to better teeth, better gums… and better breath.

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Ho, ho the mistletoe
Hung where you can see!
Somebody waits for you —
Kiss her once for me!
The holiday season is about a lot of things- – gathering with family, celebrating peace on earth, exchanging gifts, taking kids to see Santa, and cuddling up with that special someone next to a crackling fireplace. If you’re hoping to have a “Holly Jolly Christmas” and score beneath the mistletoe, though, you’re going to need to spend some time thinking about oral hygiene. After all, no one wants to lock lips with a partner that has bad breath.
How can you be sure that yours is pleasant and fresh all throughout Christmas day? Here are a few tips for which foods to eat, which foods to avoid, and other tips for keeping your teeth clean.
Foods to Avoid
Christmas dinner is a big part of the special holiday, but you may want to think twice before going overboard on certain dishes. Either plan to avoid the following foods altogether, or be sure to follow our freshening-up tips immediately after eating:
  • Garlic — It’s no surprise that garlic sits at the top of our list. While it may be used to season certain traditional holiday dishes, the odor created by garlic is very pungent and may make your partner or love interest steer clear of the mistletoe.
  • Onions — If you love Christmas casseroles like green bean casserole, you may not want to be told to take it easy on the french fried onions, but abstinence could earn you a kiss from your sweetie. Like garlic, onion has a powerful odor and should be avoided.
  • Spinach — Veggie platters often grace the holiday scene, and with them come yummy dips — including those with spinach in the ingredients list. While very healthy, spinach has a tendency to get stuck in one’s teeth and could cause you to miss a smooching opportunity.
Foods to Embrace
So what should you be eating or drinking? Here are a few of our holiday favorites for fresh breath and clean teeth:
  • Mint — There’s no better natural way to sweeten your breath than to enjoy something minty. Fortunately, Christmastime means that dinner mints, peppermint candy canes, and even mint tea are in ready supply. Pop a mint into your mouth before heading under the mistletoe to wait for your honey.
  • Water — Besides being good for physical health and weight management, drinking plenty of water is essential to keeping your mouth clean and preventing dryness that can lead to bad breath. Staying hydrated will lead you to the kiss you’re hoping for.
  • Fruits and Veggies — Hit the fruit and veggie platter to guarantee that your mouth remains fresh all day long. Citrusy fruits and melons work to kill odor-causing germs in your mouth, while fibrous veggies like carrots and celery will work to remove any food particles that could be hanging out between your teeth and creating either a foul smell or visual distraction.
Other Tips for Christmas Day Oral Hygiene 
In addition to knowing what you should and shouldn’t eat on Christmas day, here are a few other helpful suggestions for keeping your breath fresh this year:
  • Brush Frequently — It’s obvious, but in the holiday rush, the last thing you want to do is to forget to brush your teeth. We suggest brushing and flossing at least twice a day. You might even consider slipping a travel toothbrush in your purse so that you can freshen up while on-the-go.
  • Chew Xylitol Gum — Chewing suger-free gum can help to keep your mouth moist, remove debris, and freshen up your breath. Avoid gum with sugar, though, as the bacteria in your mouth will break it down and create an odor.
By sticking with these tips, you’re sure to find luck beneath the mistletoe this Christmas! Talk to Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, today to learn more about how to keep your breath as fresh as possible, no matter what the season.
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We all want to take care of our teeth, but the unfortunate truth is that many people don’t take the steps necessary to do so They always have the best intentions, and perhaps they even make a plan and attempt to stick to it, but the truth is, many people are failing at what should be a simple, yet important, task.

Some people don’t think that proper brushing, flossing, and overall dental health is essential because the worst that can happen is a cavity, which they can get fixed at the dentist in a single afternoon. They treat it like it’s no more eventful than a haircut. Unfortunately, they couldn’t be more wrong.

Rather than get into the specifics as to of why a cavity isn’t something to be taken likely, what we’d like to address right now is the fact that there are other dental problems that can be caused by poor care. So if you’re not brushing or flossing your teeth and are thinking that a cavity or two is the worst thing you can experience, this article is definitely for you.

Bad Breath

Whether you’re on a date or simply going to work every day, having bad breath can spell bad news. This is something that doesn’t just affect you — it can affect everyone around you. At some point in our lives, there’s a good chance that we’ll work at a job or have a class where there’s that one person who is known for having bad breath. Of course, no one wants to say anything to him (or her). Instead, the person gets avoided or, even worse, snickered about behind their back. Making fun of someone is never a nice or honorable thing to do, but can you imagine approaching someone and telling the person he or she has bad breath? The embarrassment will be felt by both parties. The good news is that proper dental hygiene will solve most problems with bad breath. If not, then ask your dentist about it, because you could be suffering from gum disease or some other underlying issue.

Pregnancy Complications

Who would’ve thought that oral health was somehow linked to pregnancy complications? It may sound odd, but it’s true — studies that shown that poor oral health can lead to certain complications. The fears typically include premature birth and a low birth weight, but improper oral health of the mother can also put the infant at risk of tooth decay. You obviously don’t want to start a child’s life off in this way, so it’s important that an expectant mother be diligent when it comes to proper care of her teeth and gums. It’s also a good idea to schedule a dental visit in order to discuss extra steps that can be taken for even better protection for the baby.

Various Medical Issues

When you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, the inside of your mouth isn’t the only thing you need to worry about. Truth is, outside of your mouth has plenty to worry about as well. Poor oral and dental health have been linked to such problems as dementia, pneumonia, kidney disease, cancer, and diabetes. Some of the precise links are unclear, so it’s best to be on the safe side by brushing and flossing on a regular basis to improve your overall dental and oral health.

Do you have cavities that need to be taken care of or any other possible dental problems? Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS, is ready to help you take control of your dental and oral health by finding ways to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

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Leading Causes of Bad Breath

by on July 16, 2015 | Posted in Blog

The fear of having bad breath is one of the leading causes of social anxiety. Okay … so we can’t back that up with case studies or anything, but if you’ve ever had someone discretely (or bluntly) tell you that you have bad breath, it will be a while before you trust that your breath isn’t on the verge of wilting nearby flowers every time you leave the house.

There are ways to cover up bad breath with the use of items such as gum, mouthwash, mints, or … hmm, is Binaca still a thing?

While using one of the these items to mask your bad breath will help in the short-term, it’s important to realize that this issue — medically termed halitosis — is due to the build-up of bacteria inside your mouth, and the best way to fix bad breath is to understand its leading causes, especially since some of the causes might indicate something more severe.

Poor Oral Hygiene

The most common cause of bad breath is also the simplest to prevent. We all know that our lives these days can be quite hectic, but if you skip brushing and flossing on a regular basis, the accumulation of trapped food particles in your teeth will create a foul stench that will not make you a popular person to be around. Be sure to brush and floss twice a day for two minutes, and especially after meals whenever possible.

Gum Disease

If you do brush and floss on a regular basis and still have problems with bad breath, then you very well could be suffering from gum disease, which is caused by a consistent build-up of bacteria and plaque. Since this can lead to more serious dental issues, all the way up to possible tooth loss, contact your dentist immediately if you believe gum disease is the culprit.

Cavities

Many people seem to be surprised at how bad their breath can be when they only have a small cavity. That’s because a cavity, as most are aware, is the decay of a tooth. And when things decay, a foul-smelling odor typically emerges. If you notice that a cavity has formed, however small, contact your dentist and set up an appointment right away. And make sure that you’re getting a routine exam performed every six months.

Dry Mouth

As if sufferers of dry mouth weren’t annoyed or uncomfortable enough, they also have to deal with the possibility of bad breath. That’s because a primary function of saliva is to wash away bacteria and dead cells, in addition to neutralizing acids. If you’re not producing a healthy amount of saliva, then — you guessed it — bad breath!

Dentures

Just because dentures aren’t “real”, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for them as if they were your original teeth. Food can get stuck in dentures just as easily as your previous choppers, causing the growth of bacteria. You can prevent this by cleaning your dentures as instructed by your dentist.

Diseases

In addition to gum diseases, there are other ailments that can cause bad breath. These include something a bit mild like sinus infections and acid reflux to more severe conditions that include respiratory tract infections, diabetes, liver problems, and kidney issues. This means that heading to your medical practitioner should also be on your list of things to do.

Are you suffering from bad breath or would to need a dental check-up to ensure oral health? The office of Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS has helped hundreds of patients will all sorts of dental health needs. Give us a call today and we’ll set up an appointment to get you started on the road to oral health.

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Having a toothache is a real pain! Sufferers can experience a range of senses from feeling some mild soreness to an unbearably sharp or throbbing pain in the teeth, gums, or around the jaws. These feelings can be caused by a host of underlying issues including cavities, infections, a cracked tooth, an exposed root, gum disease, loose fillings, jaw joint disorders, and more. Because of this, it’s extremely important to seek out the professional opinion and care of your dentist.

In the meantime, though, you’re probably looking for some relief. Here are a few things you can try in order to dull the pain:

1. Painkillers

The first thing that people typically do when experiencing a toothache is to check out the various over-the-counter painkillers available in their local pharmacy. Both aspirin and ibuprofen are able to decrease inflammation and reduce pain. If there is no inflammation, you may want to try acetaminophen as it blocks pain messages in the brain. Oral pain relievers like Anebsol and Orajel are also great temporary solutions. Always make sure to inform your dentist of any OTC drugs that you have been taking to treat your condition.

2. Salt Water

In many cases, toothaches are amplified by the inflammation of the gums surrounding them. Salt can act as an anti-inflammatory, working to dull the pain while also decreasing the spread of bacteria that could cause further pain or infection. Mix approximately one tablespoon of salt with a glass of warm water and swish the solution around in your mouth for 30 seconds. Repeat this process, as needed, throughout the day. If you are on a low-sodium diet due to high blood pressure or other medical issues, you should talk to a physician before trying this particular remedy.

3. Cloves

You may be surprised to learn that cloves possess anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anesthetic properties. You can either apply a mixture of ground cloves and olive oil to your tooth, or slightly dampen a cotton ball in clove oil and rub it on the area where the pain is occurring.

4. Asafetida

Both toothaches and sore or bleeding gums can benefit greatly from this handy powder. Blend about a one-half teaspoon of powered asafetida with two teaspoons of lemon juice. Many users choose to warm the mixture up slightly. Dip a cotton ball or pad into the solution and dab it onto the problem spot(s) for fast relief.

5. Garlic

Garlic does more than ward off vampires – it can also ease up some of your tooth pain. Garlic has antibiotic and medicinal properties that can work wonders. Crush a garlic clove and apply the garlic directly to the affected area to gain some pain relief.

6. Guava Leaves

Like cloves, guava leaves are known for their anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antimicrobial properties, all of which can alleviate toothaches. Chewing on one or two leaves will allow the juice to start to work its magic on the affected tooth.

7. Ice

Whether it’s your jaw or your teeth, icing the sore spot could help to dull the aching sensation. Fill a plastic baggie with several ice cubes and hold it against the outside of your cheek along the area that hurts. If the ice is too cold, try wrapping the bag in a paper towel or thin cloth.

Although it can be painful, don’t allow a toothache to stop you from enjoying your life. These simple home remedies can quickly and effectively ease your pain while you wait to work with your dentist to pinpoint the underlying cause and restore your oral health. Give Dr. Bruce McArthur, DDS a call today and we’ll get you started on a great dental strategy!

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What’s that smell? Is it me?

At one point or another, most of us have had this thought while immersed in conversation with a friend or co-worker. Having bad breath (or even worrying that you might) can make you feel self-conscious, embarrassed, and unhygienic. And while you can brush and rinse while at home, you may find yourself unable to perform these routines while on-the-go. Fortunately, keeping your breath fresh throughout the day is easier than you might imagine. Here are a few fail-safe – and completely natural – ways to keep your mouth happy all day long.

Starting the Day Right

Ever wonder what causes “morning breath”? Your digestive system works hard all through the night to remove toxins from your body, many of which are then deposited on your tongue. Tongue scrapers are the most effective tools for removing these toxins and bacteria which can cause foul odors. After scraping your tongue, brush your teeth well. Using baking soda can help to reduce acidity levels that promote bacteria growth. Be sure to floss and rinse, as desired.

Good Habits Throughout the Day

Here are a few quick tips to follow throughout the day to keep your breath smelling fresh:

  • Reach for H20 – One of the simplest ways to keep your breath fresh is to drink plenty of water while minimizing the consumption of coffee and soft drinks. Water is odorless, will wash away bacteria and debris, and won’t stain your teeth. What better motivator to stay hydrated than the promise of fresher breath?
  • Floss Regularly — Flossing is an absolute must if you hope to prevent nasty stuff from accumulating between your teeth. All-natural dental floss will make it simple for you to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth that would otherwise release an unpleasant odor while causing damage to your gums. It’s a good idea to always keep a container in your purse, glove compartment, or your office desk drawer.
  • Leave it to Leaves — Mint and parsley leaves can be a real lifesaver! These leaves are high in chlorophyll which has a natural deodorizing effect. Although simply chewing on the leaves will certainly help to provide you with relief, swallowing the leaves and allowing them to be digested will provide continuous breath freshness for quite awhile. This is because mint and parsley plants seem to reduce the production of intestinal gas and promote improved digestion.
  • Stimulate Saliva — When it comes to washing away food particles and bacteria, saliva is your very best friend. When your mouth is dry, though, you’re not generating enough saliva to get the job done. Chewing on natural gum is the perfect solution. Gum made from spearmint or peppermint essential oils will not only help to simulate saliva production, but the oils will also eliminate odor-causing bacteria, allowing you to kill two birds with one stone!
  • When You Have Lemons — No, don’t make lemonade – freshen your breath! Lemons are nature’s natural cleaners. Although you want to avoid introducing too much acid to your teeth as it can wear away your enamel, sucking on a lemon can be used in dire situations, such as instances where you need to neutralize onion or garlic breath.

Ending the Day on a Good Note

Prevent the buildup of excessive plaque and bacteria by going to bed with a clean mouth. Always brush and floss thoroughly before turning in for the night.

Establishing a daily oral hygiene routine is the most effective means to ending problems associated with unpleasant breath. By taking just a few simple steps, you can boost your confidence and feel fresh around the clock in a way that is safe and completely natural. For more helpful tips, contact the office of Dr. Bruce McArthur and we’ll get you started on your future of healthy teeth.

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