Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome into this week’s edition of AFMC TV. I’m Michelle Rupp. We’re so glad that you are joining us. Kicking us off today is our resident dentist, Dr. Lundy. Dr. Lundy, thanks for joining us today.

Dr. Liza Lundy: Thank you, Michelle. Thank you for having me. 

MR: So, we are a couple of weeks ahead of Valentine’s. So, I have a couple of Valentine questions specifically to ask. But I thought maybe with all the germs and all the crud that’s floating in the air right now, maybe we would start talking first about toothbrushes. And so my first question would be, how often should we be replacing our toothbrush? What we started with in January probably doesn’t need to still be with us on New Year’s Eve. Right? 

LL: Correct. And I am so glad that you asked me that question because often I see patients that come to my practice that only switch their toothbrushes when they come every six months. They get a new one from our office and that’s all they do. But that’s too long to use a toothbrush for. Generally, my recommendation would be every three months or four months. Because, with time, as you use your toothbrush, you notice how the bristles become worn and frey. And they are not as effective in removing the plaque and the debris at that point. So, it’s good to switch it around every 3-4 months. Also, when if we’re sick and we’re having the cold, the Covid, it is good to switch to a new toothbrush once we’re over that. Just to avoid reinfection [and] cross-contamination. Let’s try to keep our toothbrushes in a separate drawer from the rest of the family. And also, one important thing a lot of people don’t think about is let’s not share the same tube of toothpaste because that also can cause cross-contamination. 

MR: Sure, I would have never thought about that. Not to share- but you’re right. That makes perfect sense. 

LL: Maybe keep some travel-sized toothpaste handy, just for this kind of issue. You know, if we get sick, that way we have our own separate tube of toothpaste as well. 

MR: If we are talking- and I’m thinking more along the lines of Children here- but as we are talking about, you know, the germs and everything that’s floating around in the air. Would it be a good idea or a good practice if you’ve got several toothbrushes all dancing around each other in that toothbrush holder- The sick individual, could they cap or do a travel cap on the top of their toothbrush. As a way to keep the germs may be contained or from spreading. 

LL: Oh, absolutely. As long as they keep it somewhat isolated and separate, so they’re not touching. It’s fine, yes. 

MR: Because that would be horrible to be sick, get over it, and then get reinfected. All because of your toothbrush. 

LL: Correct, or pass it around and get other family members sick as well. 

MR: Yeah. Okay. Alright, that’s good to know. Okay, so Valentine’s- we’re coming up on it you know and no one wants bad breath. No one wants offensive breath. And I think the clinical term is Halitosis here. So, what is that, first of all. Halitosis is what we commonly call bad breath. And it’s caused by the bacteria. You know, when we have bacteria in our mouths when we eat, this bacteria feeds off of what we eat. Especially if we’re eating sugar and carbohydrates. And then once we eat, the bacteria eat off of it then they will release this product that it has this foul smell and that’s what causes, generally, the bad breath. 

MR: So it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve eaten a bunch of onions. I mean, that it happens with anything. 

LL: Yes you’re correct. That’s another cause of bad breath. 

MR: Okay so how do we get rid of it? 

LL: Well so it all depends on what’s causing it. So, if it’s just the common, you know, mild bad breath that is caused by lack of oral hygiene, then to get rid of it- brushing really good. Make sure we floss our teeth to get rid of that debris in between our teeth. Brush your tongue as well. Mouth rinse also helps to have fresh breath. Now, some patients do take some medication that makes their mouth dry. Well, the problem with that is they don’t have that amount of saliva flow to flush away the bacteria. So, when those patients have dry mouth the best thing you can do is just keep your mouth hydrated. And that’s also going to help with the breath. There’s also some patients who have what we call Periodontal Disease or Gum Disease. And this particular condition causes this unique kind of strong chronic smell. Well, in this case, the patient needs to have treatment with their dentist, their clinician. Just to get this Gum Disease under control. And like you were mentioning also, food. So, when we go on Valentine’s Day and on our date night, let’s try to avoid foods like garlic, onions, and coffee. Because that also obviously makes it worse. But you can also carry with you know sugar-free gum or a mint, why not? 

MR: And I was going to ask if, you know, breath spray, cinnamon gum, if that really does anything or if it just only does it up here. You know, it makes us think we’re having fresh breath. 

LL: It does help. So, that’s why it’s okay to keep it handy. As long as it’s sugar-free, of course. 

MR: Sure. Let me ask. Could bad breath be a sign of a deeper issue? Not necessarily associated with the food that you’re eating. 

LL: Yeah, absolutely. It could be part of- maybe the patient has some G. I. issues. Or patients that have a sinus infection. That can also cause the smell. If the patient has any infection in their mouth or any large cavity that can absolutely cause unpleasant breath. 

MR: When is it a good rule of thumb to go ahead and talk to your dentist if you are experiencing bad breath. And you keep thinking, gosh, I’m doing a whole bunch of things but it’s just not going away. 

LL: Right, if you know the cause of the bad breath and you can address that individual issue and it goes away then that’s not a problem. But, if you feel like it doesn’t matter what you do, you still have that breath then that’s when we’re here to help to determine what is causing your breath. And sadly, a lot of patients don’t realize- they’re not aware of the breath issues until someone else mentions that to them. Which is not so rare. 

MR: Yes, sure. And this can happen in children, right? Just as easy as adults? 

LL: Absolutely, yes, it can certainly happen in Children. 

MR: Okay. All right, Dr. Lindy, anything else that we need to know? Whether it’s changing our toothbrushes or making sure we have kissable breath for the coming weekend? 

LL: Well, just again, let’s just make sure before your date that you keep your teeth clean. Watch what you ordered for dinner, no onions, no garlic. But generally, you know, my general recommendation is for the patients to come every six months for the dental check-up and cleaning. Okay. That’s critical. 

MR: Perfect. Alright, Dr. Lundy. Thank you for joining us today. 

LL: Thank you, Michelle. Have a good one.