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10.  Q. What causes bad breath? 

A. In a word- bacteria.  Everyone knows that we need to brush, floss, and rinse in the morning to make our mouths “kissing sweet.”  But there are times when we have to do more.  An accumulation of plaque, especially once it’s hardened, is often the gateway into a more chronic breath problem unlikely to be helped by over-the-counter mouth rinses.  If your friends seem to keep a safe distance from you deliberately, or a loved one spells out that there’s a problem, see your dentist for a cleaning immediately.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  And don’t be afraid to relearn.  You may need an oral irrigation device and/or special tooth paste and other preparations.

The good news…. Most “bad breath” is reversible.  The reward for your attention is immediate.

9. Q. How effective are mouth rinses?

A. Their long-term effectiveness against breath odor is a matter of some debate, for halitosis (bad breath) can be symptomatic of medical or dental problems requiring professional care.  But fluoride and plaque-fighting rinses are less debatable.  Most dentists are in favor of their use between visits and, for those with a history of decay susceptibility, rinses can be a real asset.  But it’s vital that the cornerstones of good dental hygiene-daily brushing and flossing, a well balanced diet, and checkups twice a year—are in place.

8. Q. When is a good time to get a dental checkup?

A.  If it’s been a while, how about this week?  Tooth decay begins and continues without noticeable effect over a long period of time.  A cavity begins as a tiny fissure or breakdown and continues without producing noticeable symptoms for many months or years.  Once you feel pain, the problem has gone unchecked for too long.  See Dr. Luizzi now for a cleaning, to remove the plaque that escapes brushing and flossing.

7.  Q. How good is the electric toothbrush?

A. As technology improves, so do electric brushes.  They clean teeth in less time than a conventional brush.  This is good for the many people who spend less than two minutes brushing with a conventional tooth brush.

6.  Q. How often is it necessary to get dental x-rays taken?

A.  Generally, a dentist will take an x-ray if he suspects there may be something wrong with a tooth.  If you have not had dental work done in a long time, it might be necessary to do a set of full-mouth x-rays.  A full set should last you about 5 years.  Dental x-rays are useful in diagnosing the presence of cavities, tooth abscesses, impacted teeth, bone damage from gum disease, fracture of the jawbone, cancers of the jaw, and tumors hidden under the gums.

With the new high speed x-ray films today, you actually get more radiation on a clear day at the beach than from a few dental x-rays.

5.  Q. How do I take care of my baby’s first teeth?

A.  Though all of your baby’s teeth will probably fall out and be replaced by permanent teeth, proper care is still extremely important at this age.  These little teeth are holding the place for the permanent teeth.  Decay and loss of them could lead to problems down the road.  Your child also needs these teeth for biting and chewing for years to come and for normal speech development.

The first couple of pearly whites can be wiped clean with a damp gauze pad or washcloth.  As more teeth come in, you can begin using an infant brush.  For maximum cleanliness, use both a gauze pad and a toothbrush—very gently since baby’s teeth are soft. For a young baby, no tooth paste is necessary.  Get in the habit of cleaning you child’s teeth after meals and at bedtime.  This will help her/him develop good habits of their own.

4.  Q. Can baby bottles damage teeth?

A. Prolonged exposure to milk, formula, fruit juice, and other liquids containing sugars can cause “baby bottle mouth”, a deterioration of young teeth.  This often occurs when children fall asleep with their nursing bottles.  Usually, some of the liquid remains around the teeth during sleep when the acids in the liquids eat away at tooth enamel.  Severe tooth decay can result if this continues over a long period of time.

Baby teeth are temporary, but it is important to keep them in sound condition because their health can influence the future of the permanent teeth.  A good choice for a bottle at bedtime should be water.

3. Q. What should I do if I or my children accidentally lose a tooth?

A.  First, locate the tooth. Pick it up by the crown (the top), not by the root, which contains tiny fibers essential for re-implantation.  If the tooth has become soiled, rinse it carefully in water, and then find your dentist or the nearest hospital emergency room.  Time is a critical factor.  If you can see a dentist within 30 minutes of losing a tooth, you probably have a 90% chance of successful re-implantation.  See a dentist immediately if a tooth is loosened by injury but not dislodged.

2.  Q. I’ve been afraid of the dentist all my life.  Are there modern techniques for combating this fear?

A. Many of the 12 million Americans suffering from excessive dental fear are middle-aged adults who developed their apprehensions in an era when science, education and dental office administration were very different than they are today.  Years ago, patients commonly were offered anesthesia as an option for fillings.  As hard as it might be to imagine today, many chose to go without.  Children often had a very fearful reaction which lasted into adulthood.  But today, modern aids from pre-injection numbing, hypnosis, orally taken sedatives or IV sedation can make dental fear a thing of the past.  Your children probably don’t fear the dentist.  Talk to Dr. Luizzi and join them. 





Q. Is it true that George Washington had Wooden Teeth?

A. Probably not.  At the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore, an exciting place that spotlights the advances in our profession through the ages, you can find four sets of dentures crafted for our first President.  Three were carved from ivory and the fourth was made with real teeth, both human and animal.