Top Causes of Bad Breath and What to Do About It

No one wants to deal with bad breath. Knowing your breath smells unpleasant can hurt your confidence but can also be a sign of underlying issues. If you’re dealing with chronic bad breath, it’s crucial to determine what’s causing it so you can address the problem and improve the scent.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath, or halitosis, is a widespread issue, with nearly 32 percent of people around the world dealing with it on a chronic basis. But why does it happen? The most common cause of bad breath is simply poor oral hygiene. Oral hygiene refers to brushing, flossing, and routine dental cleanings. Without following the recommended hygiene routines, your mouth will have harmful bacteria growing. This bacteria growth leads to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.

While poor oral hygiene is the leading cause of bad breath, some less common reasons can be related to medical conditions. If you have concerns over chronic bad breath, it’s essential to see your dentist and physician to rule out the following causes:

 

  • Dry mouth
  • Oral cancers
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Tonsil stones
  • Gum disease
  • Infections in the nose, throat, or lungs
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Sjögren’s syndrome

How to Treat Bad Breath

The treatment of bad breath depends on the cause. If the reasonfor your bad breath is poor oral hygiene, it’s important to improve your brushing and flossing at home and have regular dental cleanings. Sometimes, your dentist may prescribe special mouth rinses that work to combat specific bacteria that lead to bad breath.

If an underlying health condition causes your bad breath, your dentist or physician will be able to help you with the treatment. If halitosis is a side effect of something else, treating the health condition is essential for more permanent results.

How to Prevent Bad Breath

While knowing how to treat bad breath is good, it’s better to prevent it before it becomes an issue. To maintain healthy, minty-fresh breath, follow these tips:

 

  • Brush your teeth twice daily, for at least two minutes each time. Floss your teeth once a day. Don’t forget to clean your tongue with either your toothbrush or most effectively, a tongue scraper.
  • Use an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash twice a day.
  • See your dentist at least every six months for routine dental cleanings. If your dentist suggests more frequent visits due to your oral health, follow their guidance.
  • Drink water to prevent dry mouth.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco products. These products can cause dry mouth, leading to bad breath.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free mints to increase your saliva production.

Let Foutz Family Dentistry Help

Whether you’re battling bad breath or simply want to prevent it, make regular visits to Foutz Family Dentistry part of your routine. Contact us today to schedule your six-month cleaning. If you have concerns over your breath, we can perform an exam to see the cause. We’re here to help you maintain your minty-fresh breath.

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Everything You Need to Know About Invisalign

Did you know you can get your teeth straightened right here in our dental office? Invisalign has become popular for many adults who want to straighten their teeth but don’t want the noticeable appearance of metal braces. If you’re ready for your perfect smile, it’s time to start your Invisalign journey with us.

How Does Invisalign Work?

To start your Invisalign journey, you’ll meet with your dentist to have images and most likely scans taken of your teeth and see what your results will look like. Gone are the days of mouth impressions and those large, uncomfortable trays used for them. Instead, we’ll use the iTero Element scanner to take photos of your teeth, giving us a 3D rendering of your teeth and the intended results after treatment.

Once you see your new smile, we’ll put your treatment plan together and order your clear aligners. When they come in, you’ll return to the office, and we’ll ensure they fit correctly and walk you through the maintenance and other aspects of the treatment. Some of your teeth may have attachments, or buttons, attached to them to ensure proper movement. These are tooth-colored bumps that provide the necessary friction needed to move teeth.

Your Invisalign should be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day but can be taken out to eat, drink, brush, and floss. You will change to a new clear aligner about every one to two weeks, and regular visits to our office are needed to ensure your teeth are responding how we want them to. You’ll be impressed with the quick results because almost everyone sees some improvement within the first few trays. Depending on the treatment needed, your Invisalign journey can be finished in as little as six months, which can be much shorter than metal braces.

Benefits of Invisalign Over Metal Braces

Clear aligners are better aesthetically than metal braces, especially for adults, and there are many other benefits to choosing this option for teeth straightening. Some of the most popular reasons people choose Invisalign over traditional braces include the following:

 

  • You can see the virtual treatment plan before you make your decision. This means you can have a fundamental understanding of what your teeth should look like at the end of treatment, something that isn’t currently possible with metal braces.
  • Invisalign isn’t very noticeable, even with the buttons that some teeth have applied. You can straighten your teeth without people ever knowing.
  • You can remove your Invisalign aligners to eat and drink, so there are no restrictions on the food and drinks you can have.
  • Clear aligners are much more comfortable than traditional braces because of the lack of brackets and wires. You don’t have to worry about adjustments or broken brackets that cut your mouth.
  • The most important advantage is that you can comfortable and reliably brush and floss your teeth normally with out the difficulties caused by brackets and wires making it easier to maintain your dental health!

Come In Today for an Invisalign Consultation

There’s no better time than now to start straightening your teeth. Let our team at Foutz Family Dentistry get you started on the journey to your dream smile with an Invisalign consultation. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

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All About Your Toothbrush

Choosing the right toothbrush is a vital part of proper oral hygiene. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the brushes on the market today, but this guide will help you pick the best brush for your mouth.

Manual vs. Electric

The first decision people make when deciding on a toothbrush is whether they want an electric toothbrush or a manual one. Both choices offer benefits depending on your personal preference and needs.

Some people simply choose the toothbrush style they like best. If you’re using the toothbrush properly and it has the ADA seal of approval, it’s a good option. Other than personal preference, the following features cause people to choose electric over manual:

 

  • Many electric toothbrushes have pressure sensors, which can help if you brush too hard.
  • Some electric toothbrushes have different brush settings, letting the bristles and head rotate in many directions or using pulsing motion in addition to the rotation.
  • Most new electric toothbrushes have built-in timers that help you know how long to brush. This can be a great benefit if you struggle to brush for the full two minutes.

Bristles

Toothbrush bristles come in soft, medium, and hard. You can also choose between round and unrounded bristles. Many believe that hard bristles clean their teeth better, but they can be too rough on your enamel and cause you to brush too aggressively. Overly hard bristles can lead to gum recession when combined with hard brushing. Most people will have the best results with soft, rounded bristles.

Size and Shape

You should choose a toothbrush that is comfortable to hold and fits in your mouth correctly. If your toothbrush is too big, it won’t easily fit into the back of your mouth, making it hard to brush your molars. Most people like a brush head about an inch long and half an inch wide. However, you can also choose rounded brush heads if you prefer a smaller surface.

Proper Toothbrush Care

No matter what toothbrush you choose, you must care for it properly. To maintain proper oral hygiene, make sure you follow these care instructions for your brush:

 

  • Store your toothbrush upright and out in the open to let the bristles airdry and prevent bacteria from growing between bristles.
  • Rinse your toothbrush with warm water each time you brush your teeth to clear any bacteria between the bristles.
  • Replace your toothbrush (or the head if it’s electric) every three to four months. This helps maintain proper bristle condition and keeps your teeth clean. If you’re sick or have an oral disease, replace it once you recover.

Final Thoughts

Choosing your toothbrush is a personal decision, which is why so many options exist. Make sure your toothbrush is cleaning your teeth properly without being too hard on them. If your brush is approved by the ADA and it’s comfortable to use, it’s a good option. If you have any questions about the right toothbrush, contact us, and our dental team will help you find the best brush for you.

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Facts on Fluoride (And Some Dispelled Myths, Too)

We’ve all heard of fluoride, but what do you really know about this mineral? Although itis naturally occurring in several foods and water, fluoride is also added to oral health products and promoted as a protector against tooth decay. Read on to learn some fascinating (and useful) insights on fluoride and what it can do for your health.

Fluoride 101

Fluoride naturally occurs in water supplies, as the trace element fluorine leeches in from soil and rocks in the groundwater. However, it’s not found in high enough concentrations to be helpful, so most municipal water supplies include additional fluoride that’s added specifically to support oral health.

If you have well water or a non-public water supply, there may not be enough fluoride in it to provide this additional health support. Dentists usually recommend that these people add a fluoride rinse or other supplement to make up the difference.

To dispel some of the most common myths you’ll find online:

  • Fluoride is not dangerous to your health in the amounts which it is needed for proper oral health support.
  • Fluoride does not increase the risk of cancer or autism.
  • Fluoridation is not unnatural or unhealthy – remember, this is a naturally-occurring mineral, and adding it to the water supply promotes better prevention against tooth decay.

Finally, fluoride is included in toothpaste, but the amount is not enough to provide adequate protection. With the additional fluoridated water supply, optimal protection is provided for people in many developed regions, including the U.S. and Europe.

Skip the Bottled Water

Another important topic to discuss is bottled water. With the influx of its popularity, some kids and adultsonly drink prepackaged bottled water. Unfortunately, most of these products do not contain additional fluoride athelpful levels. It’s far better to filter your tap water if you’re going to go this route.

On that note, you’ll want to choose a filtration system carefully, too. Charcoal and carbon filter systems don’t impact fluoride levels, but distillation and reverse osmosis systems can reduce the amount of fluoride in your water. Let your kids drink tap water for optimal oral health.

Otherwise, your dentist may recommend adding a fluoride rinse or another supplement to enhance the health and protection of your teeth.

There are Two Types of Fluoride Treatments

Topical fluoride treatments, such as toothpaste, mouthwash, or a professional treatment from your dentist, are one type of fluoride. These act directly on the surface of the existing enamel that’s in place, so they may not be as effective as the other option.

Systemic fluoride is the kind found in water and dietary supplements. It’s ingested, instead of applied directly, and works to strengthen the teeth as they grow and develop from the inside. Supplements are only available via prescription, in the form of drops, lozenges, or tablets.

Want to know more? Ask your dentist about fluoride and your oral health, and find out how you can take better care of your teeth with simple changes.

 

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Sudden Tooth Pain? Here’s What Might Be Causing It

Dental pain is some of the most intense you’ll ever experience. And when it appears suddenly, it can be very alarming. What might be causing your agony? Here are a few likely suspects.

Heat or Cold

Perhaps the most common reason for sudden tooth pain is worn tooth enamel and exposure to heat or cold. Did the pain appear shortly after eating or drinking something hot or cold? Was it a sharp flash of pain? Temperature sensitivity is a sign that you should make an appointment with your dentist to check for erosion.

Increased Sensitivity

Have you noticed that your teeth have become more sensitive? If that’s the case, you may have receding gums. Gum tissue surrounds and protects the roots of your teeth, and when it recedes, it exposes parts of the roots to the air, as well as to foods and liquids. Eventually, that can lead to infections and gum disease.

Cracked Tooth

It’s easy to spot cracked teeth most of the time, but sometimes hairline cracks form that are all but invisible. They can still lead to considerable dental pain, though. The good news is that your dentist has solutions for cracked teeth, including veneers and crowns.

Gum Infection

Almost half of all American adults suffer from some degree of gum disease. As gum disease escalates, it can make your teeth and gums more sensitive, particularly to hot or cold temperatures. That can include not just foods and beverages, but also outside air if you’re breathing through your mouth, such as while jogging or during other forms of exercise.

Your Toothpaste

Activated charcoal is everywhere today, including in many different toothpaste formulations. While charcoal can certainly help address mild staining, it also causes tooth sensitivity when used too frequently. If you’re fixed on using charcoal toothpaste, don’t overuse it.

Bleaching Products

Bleaching products are very popular today and can help you whiten your teeth by several shades right in your own home. However, they are not particularly gentle and can cause sudden sensitivity. If you stop using the whitening product, the sensitivity should go away.

Grinding Your Teeth or Clenching Your Jaws

Do you ever have to force yourself to relax your jaw and stop clenching your teeth? Does your dentist suspect that you grind your teeth at night? Both actions wear away at your enamel and can cause sensitivity. Wearing a mouthguard at night can help prevent grinding and clenching. You’ll find over-the-counter mouthguards, but your dentist may also be able to custom-make one to fit your mouth.

Lost Filling

One of the most common causes of sudden tooth pain is the loss of a filling. While fillings can last indefinitely, they can fall out, leaving the hole in your tooth open and exposing the interior of your tooth to temperature extremes that may cause sudden pain.

Experiencing unexplained sudden tooth pain? Your dentist can help. Make an appointment to have your teeth inspected as soon as possible to prevent additional damage.

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How Can You Tell If You Have a Cavity?

Cavities (dental erosion) are the most common oral health disease in the US. Most children will have at least one cavity and up to 30% of adults in the country have untreated cavities. Without proper care, cavities can grow and destroy teeth, as well as cause more serious issues, like bone infections. It’s important to have cavities treated as soon as possible, but how do you tell if you have one?

Temperature Sensitivity

One of the most common signs that you’ve got a cavity is sudden sensitivity to heat and cold in your mouth. If you take a gulp of cold water and experience a stabbing pain in your mouth, chances are good you have a cavity. The problem here is that when a cavity exposes the dentin layer of your teeth, the microscopic tunnels in the dentin make perfect channels for food and drink to stimulate the nerve inside the tooth.

Sugar Sensitivity

While temperature sensitivity is a common sign you might have a cavity, so is sensitivity to sugar in foods and drinks. In most cases, this will be a lingering discomfort that lasts for several minutes after eating or drinking something sugary and is caused by exposure of the dentin layer within a growing cavity.

Tooth Pain

There are few things as hard to deal with as a toothache, particularly when the pain becomes severe. Toothaches are prime signs that you’re dealing with an oral health problem, which is most likely a cavity. However, other issues can cause toothaches, so you must visit a dentist as soon as possible to have the situation diagnosed. Note that toothaches can be sudden, or they can grow slowly and continually. You may also experience pressure in the area when biting or chewing.

White Spots

In many cases, cavities begin as white spots on your teeth. Over time, they can darken, eventually becoming brown or even black. If you notice telltale staining, it’s important to visit your dentist to have the growing cavity treated.

A Visible Hole

If left untreated, a cavity will eventually form a visible hole or pit in your tooth. You may be able to see this when you look in a mirror and/or feel it with your tongue. However, not all cavities can be seen or felt. That’s particularly true if they form under the gumline or between teeth, which is why it’s so important to visit your dentist every six months.

Prevent Cavities with Good Oral Care and Regular Dentist Visits

While cavities can be painful and lead to major oral health problems, the good news is that they’re preventable. Brushing after meals and flossing every night can help prevent plaque build-up that leads to cavities.

Avoid sugary drinks and foods, and make sure to drink plenty of water to dilute the acid that causes cavities in the first place. Combine that with regular dentist visits and you have a good chance of not experiencing another cavity.

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How Do Water Irrigation Devices Help My Oral Health?

Dental treatments and options for taking care of your oral health have evolved a great deal over the years. One of the best new tools is a water flosser, or an oral irrigator. These are handheld devices that look similar to electric toothbrushes. They are meant to be used in addition to a toothbrush and regular flossing as a very effective way of removing bacteria, plaque, food particles, and gum-disease-causing elements.

Water flossers use—you guessed it—water to get all those pesky germs out of the crevices of your teeth and from beneath the gum line. They concentrate on the areas of your mouth that brushing just can’t get to.

There are many types of water flossers, each with benefits that work well for different lifestyles.

 

  • Countertop water flossers – These can be a bit bulky and heavy, but they’re easy to use in most bathrooms as they only need an electrical outlet. The irrigation tank gets filled with water and you refill it as needed.
  • Battery-operated water flossers – These are great for traveling or for those with limited counter space. They’re slim and portable; however, they aren’t as powerful as the countertop variety.
  • Shower flossers – These attach to your showerhead so you can floss in the shower! They’re a bit more difficult to maneuver, and you’ll need space in your shower to mount it, but they’re great for people who would rather keep all the “mess” in one place.
  • Faucet flossers – These are similar to shower flossers but they use a cord that connects to the sink faucet instead of the shower head. They’re also a bit more cumbersome.

Most types of water flossers, no matter the design, have different modes that make them easy on sensitive gums and effective for people who want more pressure. They’re also easy to use for people with braces, bridges, and implants.

Water flossers are a more fool-proof way of getting all the bacteria and build-up from between teeth and underneath the gumlines. Even for those that floss the traditional way each day, most don’t do it properly. There’s less “technique” involved with water flossers, which means that you’re more likely to keep your gums healthy and happy. 

Oral irrigators are especially beneficial for people with the following issues:

  • Bleeding gums – This is an early sign of gum disease that needs attention right away.
  • Braces – Food and plaque often get stuck behind and between brackets.
  • Dry mouth – Saliva is a natural mouth cleaner, so those with dry mouth usually have more buildup and are at higher risk for cavities.
  • Crooked teeth – If your teeth aren’t perfectly straight, it’s more likely that food will get stuck in them. Plus, it’s harder to floss them well!

Oral irrigation devices should be combined with a regular flossing routine to ensure that your mouth remains as clean and healthy as possible. Especially if you already have signs of periodontal disease, such as bleeding gums, or if you have braces, dry mouth, or crooked teeth, then a water flosser is a smart addition to other elements of a dental hygiene routine.

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Sleep Apnea And The Dental Connection

Those with sleep apnea experience shallow breathing while they sleep or may even stop breathing for a short moment. There are two types of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common and occurs when throat muscles excessively relax and cause the airway to collapse. This then blocks airflow and affects breathing. This potentially dangerous condition affects over 18 million people in the United States and yet it is incredibly under diagnosed. Research has shown that sleep apnea can often be diagnosed quicker by a dentist or dental hygienist rather than by a person’s primary care physician.

Typical Signs of Sleep Apnea

 Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age and is most often accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Excessive Snoring
  • Poor Sleep Quality
  • Waking Up Frequently During The Night
  • Fatigue
  • Waking Up Feeling Tired
  • Sleepiness Or Drowsiness During Daytime
  • Dry Mouth
  • Sore Throat
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Neck And Shoulder Pain

Dental Signs Of Sleep Apnea

 Due to routine dental cleanings, people will typically see their dentist more often than they do their doctor. A dentist or dental hygienist will notice some key signs of sleep apnea such as

 

  • Tooth Grinding
  • Jaw Pain
  • Enlarged Tongue
  • Small Jaw
  • Tongue With Scalloped Edges
  • Redness In The Throat
  • Dry Mouth
  • Pain While Chewing
  • Worn, Cracked, Broken Or Missing Teeth
  • Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Tooth grinding and jaw pain are two of the first and most common dental of sleep apnea. Both result from a person reflexively tensing their jaw in their sleep as they body attempts to prevent the airway from feeling blocked. Both issues can lead to other problems such as worn or cracked teeth and pain when chewing. A person with sleep apnea is also likely to snore quite a bit, which can lead to redness in the throat or persistent dry mouth.

Family Dentistry Henderson

During routine cleanings or dental checkups, a dentist or dental hygienist will likely notice if you have developed any of these signs or if they are continuing or worsening. While a dentist is able to identify the signs of possible sleep apnea and will likely be well informed, they are not able to make an official diagnosis. If a dentist is concerned that sleep apnea may be an issue, you will likely be referred to your primary care physician or a sleep disorder specialist for a sleep study.

Dr. Barton H. Foutz and his team of experienced dental hygienists have sufficient knowledge about the signs of sleep apnea, along with years of experience to help identify a potential problem. If you are currently experiencing some of the above mentioned symptoms for sleep apnea, make an appointment at Foutz Family Dentistry today and we will thoroughly check your teeth, gums and mouth for the dental signs of sleep apnea. While Dr. Foutz is not able to make an official diagnosis or treat you for sleep apnea, he can help you get on the right path to address this condition.

At Foutz Family Dentistry, we strongly recommend and encourage our patients to remain diligent about routine dental cleanings and exams. Doing so will not only ensure your dental and oral health, but can also help in identifying other potential health concerns.  Call our office today at (702) 792-5929 to schedule an appointment.

 Dr. Barton H. Foutz, DDS
2510 Wigwam Parkway Suite 100 Henderson, NV 89074
(702) 792-5929

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Dental Scaling and Root Planing: A Key to Health Teeth and Gums

Have you ever been told by your dentist that you need a dental scaling or root planing appointment? You may be wondering if these appointments are really worth the money. Actually, these procedures are absolutely vital to the health of your teeth, gums, and really to your whole body.

Why Dental Scaling and Root Planing Are So Important to Dental Health

Researchers have found definite links between gum disease and heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, respiratory issues, and a number of other health conditions. If you’re like us, you want to do all you can to reduce your risk of such diseases. And this is just one of the reasons why we encourage our patients to invest in dental cleanings and root planing appointments.

Another reason why they are so important is because they are the best way to keep your teeth and mouth clean.

  • Dental Scaling: Routine scaling and polishing help to remove plaque and tarter, both of which contribute to decay, gum disease, and embarrassing halitosis. We recommend that our patients come in for a dental scaling at least twice each year.
  • Root Planing: Gum disease leads to tooth and bone loss. When a patient has gum disease, they have plaque, tarter and bacteria well below the gum line, on the surfaces of the root. It is impossible to clean this far down without special dental tools. Once a patient has gum disease it cannot be reversed, but we can prevent it from getting worse. After our patients have root planing, they need to come in every 3, 4, or 6 months for follow-up dental scaling to keep their gum disease in check.

Trusting Your Dentist: We Have Your Best Interests at Heart

If there is any way we can help you to live a healthier life, we will do it. This is why we strongly urge our patients to come in for their regular dental scaling and examination appointments.

Are you ready to schedule a dental cleaning and examination? Please call us right away. We will be happy to schedule an appointment and answer all of your questions.

Dr. Barton H. Foutz, DDS
2510 Wigwam Parkway Suite 100 Henderson, NV 89074
(702) 792-5929

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Ezbond A. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
1st Generation:

Great Grandfather

Dr. Ezbond A. Foutz
Harold B. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
2nd Generation:

Grandfather

Dr. Harold B. Foutz
Lawrence C. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
3rd Generation:

Father

Dr. Lawrence C. Foutz
Barton H. Foutz, D.D.S.
4 Generations of Dentists Spanning 3 Centuries
4th Generation:

Family and Cosmetic Dentist

Dr. Barton H. Foutz