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Have BOO-tiful Teeth: Icky Mouth Mysteries Solved

October 04, 2018 By Dr. Rick Leppo

The mouth is a breeding ground for ghostly germs. The warm, moist, dark mouth is a great place for wicked bacteria to lurk. Let’s be candid and discuss what makes our mouths just plain gross.

It’s true even healthy mouths are full of bewitched bacteria, mucus, and other voodoo food particles that form a gooey, colorless “plaque” on the teeth. Ordinarily, you get rid of plaque buildup by brushing and flossing often. But when sticky plaque thickens because of lack of regular oral hygiene, it causes irritated, bloody gums or gingivitis. If you haven’t made your regular appointment with our dental team for a gum detox before grim reaper of periodontal disease destroys your teeth-what are you waiting for?

Everyone experiences stinky breath but brushing and flossing — including cleaning your tongue or using a tongue scraper remove plaque. Most of the time, the biggest bad-breath culprit is what you eat. “Onion and garlic, for example, will produce mouth odor for hours after they are eaten that even Vampires will avoid,” Dr. Leppo says. In addition, people who have uncontrolled diabetes, eat a high-protein diet or drink alcohol tend to have Godzilla breath with an unpleasant odor. Smelly breath is often caused simply by a buildup of creepy bacteria in your mouth that causes infection and gives off noxious odorous-gas that smell like sulfur -- or worse.

If you have good general home care and still notice a horrible smell in your mouth better visit Dr. Leppo and be checked for cavities in your teeth that harbor rotting decay. Cavities in teeth are where the bacteria and food debris pack, gets trapped and festers. Letting this decay go untreated leads tooth fractures, root canals, Jack-O-Lantern looking teeth.

The smell of a freshly smoked cigarette can linger in the lungs for hours; hence the stale scent associated with smoker's breath fills the mouth with a horrible stench. The most immediate way that cigarettes cause bad breath is because it leaves nicotine residue in the throat and lungs. This effect is typical of nearly any tobacco product that involves inhaling smoke or rolling it around in the mouth like smokeless tobacco. It's not too hard to see how Zombie breath happens. Tobacco use causes chronic bad breath by drying out the palate. Repeatedly inhaling hot gases parches the tongue and gums, leaving a dry, chemical-filmed environment where bacteria can breed. Rinsing with a breath freshening product may neutralize the associated bone chilling odor and moisten your mouth.

If your mouth looks like a classic horror movie doesn’t become frightened by the possibilities of having that BOO-tiful smile you always wanted.

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Dr. Rick Leppo, Dr. Caroline Connolly and your Columbia Dental Center care team are here for you.