Is Mouthwash an OK Substitute for Brushing?


At my dental office in Lewisburg, we’re occasionally asked if it’s okay to replace brushing with mouthwash, or supplement it with a rinse. Most of the time, mouthwash is used to relieve a bit of bad breath embarrassment. And while quick swish of mouthwash can give you a tingly, minty fresh mouth, could it actually be as good as brushing?

Don’t Toss the Brush

Many people think the main reason to brush their teeth is to get rid of a bit of morning breath or destinkify a day’s worth of coffee drinking and snack eating. In reality, there are many more reasons to brush than simply to freshen your breath. Brushing for at least two minutes twice a day helps remove dangerous plaque and bacteria that could lead to decay, bad breath, and even more serious oral health concerns. Brushing is the only recommended way to keep your mouth healthy enough to avoid bad breath.

A Bigger Problem

Sometimes when bad breath is an issue, it could be caused by some malodorous food or drink. When that happens, try chewing a piece of sugarless gum. But if breath is stinky more often than just after eating garlic pizza, or any other strongly scented food, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Bad breath is a key sign of gum disease, which is a serious health problem. Gum disease can absolutely affect your mouth’s health by loosening teeth, making them more sensitive, and yes, causing chronic bad breath. What’s more, gum disease could also affect your whole body. Gum disease has been linked to many overall health concerns including increased risk for heart disease and stroke. For your oral and whole­body health, don’t let bad breath linger. See your Lewisburg dentist as soon as you can.

Other Concerns

One of the most common ingredients in many mouthwash brands is alcohol. When alcohol is introduced into the mouth, it naturally dries the palate and reduces saliva production. Why is this a concern? Without saliva, bacteria that causes bad breath, decay, and other problems is left to linger and cause damage. So basically, while a quick swish with mouthwash may seem to temporarily relieve bad breath, it could actually be making the problem worse over time.

If you or someone close to you is suffering from bad breath, stop the embarrassment and give my Lewisburg dental office a call today. We’d love the opportunity to help identify the problem and work with you to fix it. You deserve a healthy, confident smile. Let us help. Welcoming patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport.

Combat Bad Breath with These 4 Tips


Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can affect people of all ages. It can be embarrassing, and if it doesn’t go away, it might also be a sign of a serious problem. But what exactly causes bad breath, and how can you get rid of it?

What Causes Bad Breath?

At my dental practice in Lewisburg, we know bad breath can be caused by a lot of things, including some types of food and drink. That type of bad breath usually dissipates fairly quickly and isn’t something to worry about. However, when bad breath tends to linger day in and day out, you should give us a call.

Chronic bad breath (halitosis), meaning bad breath that does not go away after brushing, flossing, and rinsing, is typically an indicator of a bigger problem. Halitosis means there is a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Those bacteria live and feed off tooth plaque, and when they feed, hydrogen sulfide is produced and gives off a malodorous stench. Bad breath is also a top sign of gum disease – a serious concern for your mouth and your body.

Gum disease may also affect your overall health. Untreated gum disease has been shown to cause loose teeth, receding gums, and sensitivity, as well as increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetic complications.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

If you suffer from bad breath, there are few tips you can try.

  1. Proper Oral Hygiene. Maintaining a proper oral hygiene routine of brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day can work wonders to keep your mouth fresh and bacteria free. Make sure each time you brush it’s for about two minutes (hum “Happy Birthday” twice!) and that you reach each surface of each tooth. When flossing, it’s important to clean in between each tooth and under the gum line where bacteria love to hide.
  2. Tongue Scraping. Your tongue can hold a lot of bacteria in each of its tiny bumps and grooves, which is why it’s important to gently scrub it each time you brush. Some patients have difficulty cleaning their tongues with a traditional toothbrush because it makes them gag. If this is a problem for you, try using a tongue scraper instead.
  3. Water, Water, Water. Drinking plenty of water every day can also help keep your mouth stink free. Water keeps your mouth hydrated and rinses away bacteria. If you slack on your H₂O intake, your mouth could become dehydrated. When this happens, less saliva is produced and bacteria isn’t cleared away.
  4. Your Dentist. Bad breath shouldn’t be treated lightly. If you notice a lingering odor, call my Lewisburg dental office as soon as possible. We’ll work with you to determine the cause and talk about the best treatment for you. We also won’t lecture you or make you feel embarrassed. We’re here to help keep your smile and your body healthy.

Welcoming patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport.

How To Eat Vegetarian Without Putting Your Teeth In Jeopardy


Let’s begin with some definitions:  

  • Vegetarians who only eat fish are called pescetarians–people who avoid all meat-based proteins except for fish are at the lowest risk for oral health issues because most pescetarians also eat cheese and eggs, and vitamin D is most often found in fish.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians consume animal products like cheese, eggs, and yogurt. This diet provides more access to calcium, but very little to vitamin D.
  • Vegans also avoid all animal-derived food sources including eggs, cheese, and milk. Some vegans even avoid honey!

Unfortunately, with a vegetarian diet, it can be difficult to get foods rich enough in calcium and vitamin D to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy. So if you’re a vegetarian or thinking about becoming one, check in with your Lewisburg dentist next time you come by for a visit for some advice about how to protect your teeth and gums.

We also recommend the following steps and strategies:

  1. Visit a dietician. Dieticians are trained to help people understand how much of which kinds of food to eat in order to have a healthy vegetarian diet. A dietician can also assess your current health, activity level, and body type to make stronger recommendations.
  2. Don’t skimp on broccoli and dark leafy greens like turnip greens, kale, spinach, and collards to get enough calcium. If you don’t love the dark leafies, a variety of vitamin C-fortified products are available at the supermarket: some brands of orange juice, tofu, soy milk, and cereal are calcium-enriched.
  3. Understand that calcium is useless without vitamin D to help the body absorb it! Many of the products listed above are also fortified with vitamin D.
  4. If you don’t have access to D-enriched products, or prefer to eat raw, it would be smart to use a vitamin D supplement, ask us or your general physician for recommendations.

Anything Else?

Visit us next time you’re near by and talk to us about how to make sure you’re eating a proper diet to maintain your oral health. We absolutely encourage independent inquiry, but while web research is an important starting place, it’s best to work in concert with your health professionals including us: your Lewisburg dentist, your general practitioner, and any specialists you see.

Serving patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, and Williamsport.