Posts Tagged ‘dental advice’

Morning Breath – Me?

By Ling

Morning breath is defined as offensive odour of the mouth upon awakening

Before the boyfriend, My Dorky, leaves for work in the morning, he comes into my room to give me a kiss.  This morning, I refused him.  Why?  Because my breath reeked like no tomorrow.  I, Ling Tung, aged 20-something, had morning breath!  I was horrified and actually got up to brush my teeth, kiss him goodbye and then go back to sleep.

Usually, I have no such problem but somehow, I have acquired the dreaded morning breath and there’s a reason why.  Let’s look at the possible suspects :-

a)  Change in diet?

Eating foul-smelling foods, e.g. durian, garlic bread, smelly tofu, before sleeping at night

b)  Change in normal sleeping behaviour?

Sleeping with mouth open thereby decreasing saliva flow which means more formation of bacteria

c)  Bedtime visits by suicidal spiders?

Spiders like to commit suicide by being swallowed by sleeping humans and the arachnoid corpse can emit a rotting smell

d)  Sleepwalking flatmate needs the toilet?

…and mistakes your gaping sleeping mouth to be a toilet and urinates in your oral cavity; while you’re dreaming of drinking warm milk to put you to sleep

e)  Change in toothbrushing habits?

And the answer is…. e)  change in toothbrushing habits

In Scotland, the toothbrushing routine I recommend is – brush, spit and DON’T rinse!  When I tell people that, they look at me as if I am daft!  Yes, a daft dentist who went to university for 6 years and doesn’t know how to brush teeth properly!!  Yes, they seem to know better than me!!!

“What do you mean ‘Don’t rinse’?  Are you sure?  I’ve never heard that before!”

Yes, don’t rinse!  It’s like that time when you were a child but someone told you that Santa Claus does NOT exist and your whole world was shattered.  Sometimes I love the expressions and gasps which are given off when I shatter their lifetime belief of rinsing after brushing.  And yet, most of the toothbrushing instruction I give, are to people who DON’T brush their teeth because frankly, they DON’T give a d@mn so it goes in one ear and out the other.

Anyway, don’t rinse.  Why?  Two words – water fluoridation.

Water fluoridation is defined as the addition of fluoride to public drinking water to reduce tooth decay

Only 10% of UK – mainly West Midlands and North East – have fluoridated water.  In Scotland, there is zilch and it needs it the most as it has one of the highest rates of tooth decay – but instead, Scotland has Irn Bru – a fizzy drink with high sugar content!

Therefore, in Scotland, I would brush my teeth, spit and not rinse out the toothpaste suds – and in doing so, it would maximise the amount of fluoride in my mouth, protecting my teeth from tooth decay but also, keeping my mouth minty fresh in the morning.

However, in Australia, there is water fluoridation measures (except in Brisbane) and so, my toothbrushing routine has changed to brush, spit and rinse.

And that rinsing step has given me yukky morning breath.  GAH!

In conclusion :  Referring to my last blog post about dish-washing, I’d much rather rinse dishes than rinse my mouth!

For more information about water fluoridation and whether you should rinse or don’t rinse, please refer to this link.

Bad Breath

By Ling

I have this dilemma.

I have a friend with bad breath.

And it’s bad breath associated with bad gums – I can tell from the smell.

I am not entirely sure whether they read my blog but if s/he does, I apologise.

But please please please, get help!

I have already subtly hinted to them, but it’s fallen into deaf ears.

Bad breath can be a sign of bad gums which can lead to loose teeth which can eventually make you lose your teeth ( = periodontitis)!!!

To see whether you have bad breath, here are some tests :-

1.  Lick the inside of your wrist and wait 2 minutes.  Smell it.  If it smells, you have bad breath.
(Doesn’t work if you have a blocked nose)

2.  If you are of Oriental descent and you haven’t been to a dentist for > 2 years plus you don’t floss regularly, then it’s likely that you have bad gums which can give you bad breath.
(Oriental people have raging gum disease!)

3.  If you get bleeding gums often when you brush, then it’s an early sign of gum disease.  Healthy gums are nicely firm and pink.  Unhealthy gums are of red raw colour.

4.  Go to mirror.  Tilt your chin down and look at the back (i.e. tongue side) of your lower teeth.  If you see yellowish deposits in-between your teeth, that is tartar (= calculus) which can lead to bad gums.  If there is a gross build up and it is more dark yellow/brown, this is bad…see dentist immediately!

5.  Check out your parents’ teeth – missing teeth / shrinking gums / loose teeth / bad breath => you are in danger!  Gum disease can be hereditary!
(Poor me has inherited my Mum’s bad gums!!!  But my gums have been stabilised by regular treatment)

6.  Talk to your friends.  If you notice that they don’t maintain eye contact or turn away slightly when you talk, it might mean that they’re trying to take in fresh air and not die from your bad breath!
(and yes, I admit that I do this to people with bad breath)

7.  If you’re still unsure, come see me and ask me to do the Breath Test.  If you pass the Breath Test from my sensitive nose, you should be fine!
(this service will be provided free of charge as long as I don’t get intoxicated!)

How to help your bad gums

1.  Go to dentist/hygienist regularly
2.  Brush and floss every day

- Mouthwash is largely ineffective and just a rip-off
- If you have been diagnosed with gum disease, you may have to use chlorhexidine mouthwash for a short period of time; but don’t use it unless you’ve been advised as it has bad side effects
- Mouthwash which “apparently” highlights the bacteria in your mouth and rinses them away is a lie…there’s tons of bacteria in your mouth…they just live there…end of!
- If you still insist on wasting your money to buy mouthwash (even after I’ve advised you after I researched this at university and got a good grade for my essay), then check the mouthwash contents carefully. Alcohol in the mouthwash (to make your mouth feel fresh) will eventually dry out your mouth, which will eventually lead to bad breath and you will fall into that vicious cycle of using more and more mouthwash!

Bad breath does NOT equate to bad gums.

1.  Check your diet – is it low in fresh fruit and vegetables?
2.  What is your fluid intake?  Drink water, not coffee
3.  Maybe you have underlying illness – see your doctor

(Disclaimer : Ling is not liable for anyone’s dental / eating habits after reading this blog and Ling cannot be sued for any comments made and Ling does not claim to be a guru of bad breath and bad gums)

Teeth And Vomit Equals Erosion

By Ling

Yesterday at around 1am, I rushed to the toilet and vomited into the bin.  It was so gross.

Vomit is acidic and prolonged bouts of vomiting can cause wear and tear on teeth (=erosion).

Being the dentist I am, I was worried for my teeth.

I went downstairs with the bin and my expelled contents, hoping to get sympathy from my Mum.  But she went ballistic at me because I went out for dinner with my friends instead of have a family dinner.  She gave me a whole reel of a long lecture whilst I was still holding onto the bin!!  Mum and Dad have been involved in the restaurant / takeaway business since they first arrived in the UK, so they know how unclean some food places are.  The annoying thing is, none of my friends got food poisoning so her lecture was pointless!!!

The thing is, Mr Geek had contracted food poisoning whilst we were in Dundee visiting Sis 3 on Friday.  He had bad diarrhoea and as a result, we had to stay another night in there so he could recover.  He spent like 5 hours in the loo!!  Sis 3 and I were totally fine…or so I thought…gurr…I blame Mr Geek!!

I trudged upstairs (minus the bin) after the lecture and got back into my bed.  5 minutes later, I jumped out again and the diarrhoea started.  Not pleasant at all.

And as soon as I crawled back into bed, I needed to vomit!! But I didn’t have the bin anymore, so I had to vomit into the toilet, where I had just pooped!!  EWWWW!!!

So it went on like this for the whole entire night… vomit / diarrhoea / vomit / diarrhoea/etc

At one point, I just lay down on my toilet floor on top of the pile of unwashed dirty clothes, suffering from cold sweats.  I felt so weak, tired and lonely…

In the end, vomiting began to reign as the superior!!  I lost count after puking for the 9th time….  I was surprised because I thought that there would be nothing else to vomit!!  Around 10am, I was vomiting up white foam!

I obviously couldn’t go to work, but I felt so bad when I called in sick because I had just had a week off work, thus I had a huge list of patients to see….

I wanted to be pampered by my loved ones…but they had to work / go to uni / go to school…I wallowed in self-pity for like half an hour but then that became pointless…

Thank God – Yes, I feel better today.  Yes, I managed to sleep last night.  Yes, I’m no longer vomiting.  Yes, I had to take another day off work to recover.  Yes, I can go on the internet today.

NO, I HAVE TO GO AND CLEAN MY TOILET NOW!!!!!!!  Wanna give me a hand??

So here’s some dental advice on what to do after vomiting :-

Your mouth will taste and smell disgusting.

Some people make the mistake of brushing their teeth immediately.  I believe that is a big NO NO!  This acidic environment will mean your teeth are at a weakened state and more vulnerable to trauma; thus brushing teeth will cause more tooth wear.

On the other hand, if you do nothing, the acidic taste and smell will fester, which is also not nice.

So here’s my dental tip on what to do to your teeth after vomiting to prevent erosion :-

1.  Rinse with water immediately and gargle with water and spit
2.  Rinse with mouthwash (if you have any), spit and don’t rinse
3.  Put a blob of toothpaste on your finger and run it gently round your teeth -try and coat all surfaces – spit out excess and don’t rinse
4.  Use toothbrush (no toothpaste) and brush tongue to remove yukky taste from tongue

Toothpaste is good because most of them contain fluoride – which helps counteract acid.

Any questions, please ask away…

Upper Wisdom Teeth Extraction

By Ling

If you were fascinated by teeth as a child and you  grow up to be dentist, you’re bound to have good teeth.  That’s me.  I loved going to the dentist for my 6-monthly check-ups.  I actually remember the school dentist checked my teeth and then rewarded me with a SUGAR CUBE!!  Yuk!!  I spat it out when she wasn’t looking!

Anyway, since I started work, I have improved in my technique of pulling out teeth (= extraction, in dental jargon).  I may look tiny, but it’s not all strength, but technique.

But me being weird, I want to personally experience a tooth extraction.  I want to be able to tell my patients how it feels to get an injection to numb the gum (= local anaesthetic), how it feels when I start applying pressure on the tooth to be extracted, what noises to expect, etc…

So last week I opted to get my two upper wisdom teeth extracted.  They were lovely healthy teeth…what a shame!  I also chose that specific day for the extraction for a really good reason.

That night, I was due to go to a party.  Party means highly calorific food and drinks…and remember, I have put on weight so I came up with the idea -  if I get my upper wisdom teeth taken out, I wll be able to control my eating!  Genius!  I would have two gaping holes (= sockets), thus hot/cold foods are NOT allowed and neither is alcohol.  Genius!

Genius, my ass!!!  Teeth extractions are NOT nice!  Do NOT get your teeth extracted unless absolutely necessary.

Here’s an over-exaggerated description of the procedure for upper wisdom teeth extraction experienced by me, the patient (who is also a dentist) :-

1.  Sit on the dental chair

  • The smell of the dental surgery and the anticipation makes me nervous
  • The dental light shines in my eyes and it makes me squint and sweat
  • I don’t like lying so far back…I feel very vulnerable in this position

2.  Dentist wears mask and puts on gloves and picks up some dental instruments “Open wide, please!”

  • Deciphering what the dentist is saying through the mask is probably to distract me from my nerves
  • Cheek is yanked back with a dental tool

3.  Dentist says something in dental jargon to their dental nurse.  She comes near holding something…

  • wait, it’s a HUGE needle!!

4.  Dentist says, “Okay, so I’m going to numb this tooth.  It’s going to be a bit nippy.  Just breathe slowly…” and injects local anaesthetic

  • I can’t understand what the dentist is mumbling about – take the mask off please
  • Ow!  Ow!!  What’s happening??  That hurts!!!  Yuk, tastes horrible too!!

5.  Dentist allows time for anaesthetic to kick in

  • Slow tingling altered sensation and my face feels HUGE

6.  “Can you feel anything?”

  • What thing??  Oh, it’s numb!  Coo-el!

7.  Dentist picks up a funny-shaped dental tool and says, “I’m just going to loosen up the tooth; you’ll feel me pushing…lots of pressure now…”

  • Eh?  Stupid mask…I can’t understand what the dentist is saying…Ooh..I can feel pressure…Wow!  Dentists are strong!!
  • What’s that funny cracking noise?  Is that my bone???

8.  A few minutes pass and the dentist is working away

  • Okay, this is getting boring…when can I go??

9.  The dental nurse asks “Are you okay?”

  • Erm, hello, can’t you see I have my mouth full here and I can’t nod my head so I’ll just you a telepathic message with my eyes

10.  The dentist picks up another instrument which looks like pliers.  “Okay, not long to go now…it’s on it’s way…”

  • About time, my jaw is tired!!!  Did anyone else hear that crunching noise?

11.  “Great, it’s out.  Do you want to see it?”, the dentist says holding up the pliers with bloody tooth

  • Er, do I have a choice?  Gross…blood!!  Yuk!!!
  • Oh yuk, I can taste it too…

12.  “Okay, just bite on this swab.

  • Ouch, tired jaw…metallic taste of blood…my face feels swollen…

13.  Dentist starts the extraction on the other side


14.  Done!  The dentist runs through a list of Do’s and Don’t's….blah blah


15.  5 minutes later, the dentist removes the swabs and checks to make sure both sockets have stopped bleeding, “Great, looks good.”

  • Tongue feels holes – they’re HUGE!!  Gross!

16.  Dental nurse takes off your bib and dental chair is returned to normal position

  • I can’t wait to get out of here…Woah!  Woah!!  Legs feel like jelly..DAMN!  Must sit down…feel light-headed..

17.  “Just take your time”

  • Yeah, I’m sure you want me to take my time so you can charge me more!  Dentists charge an arm and a leg to give you torture!!

Obviously, my colleague didn’t charge me for their dental services.  But it was not a pleasant experience, but at least I will be able to empathise with my patients now.  No more fake “Oh I know what you’re going through…”

Anyway, getting teeth out is good for dieting!  I didn’t get to eat much, although I felt a bit anti-social at the party because all I wanted to do was curl up in bed…