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The Scoop on Coffee Breath - More Than Just Coffee


The Scoop on Coffee Breath - More Than Just Coffee

Apparently, the five-year-old son of a friend recently confronted her just prior to his school-driveway departure. He said, "Don't even fink about kissing me when you drop me off at school. Your breff smells like coffee."

Unsurprisingly, caffeine is America's drug of choice. We consume a total of 700 million cups in a single day! We at Soulsmile love our coffee. There's always a fresh pot brewing in the team lounge and don't even get us started on all the awesome coffee joints in town (looking at you, Case, Noble and Mix!). Yes, it stains teeth. Yes, added sugar can contribute to cavities. But we are big believers of enjoying life's treats, especially when coupled with a proper hygiene routine. 

We do, however, care about coffee breath. Coffee breath is not simply the smell of coffe. If that were the case, "coffee breath" flavored ice cream would sound just as appealing as coffee ice cream. Any takers? Not here. Coffee breath is actually the smell of sugar-eating bacteria in your mouth laced with coffee. 

So how does your gorgeous cappuccino become a menacing platform for bacteria? It turns out the chemicals in coffee contribute to a slow down in the release of saliva. Saliva production is usually one of our mouth's best defenses, sloshing around to disrupt bacteria. With coffee, this lapse in saliva flow creates the perfect breeding ground for the more than 500 species of bacteria in your mouth. Studies have shown that showing milk in the mix can increase these effects even more.

Not pretty.

So, to keep your pearly whites smelling fresh, there are a handful of tips to offset the effects of coffee after consumption:

  • Brush your teeth 
  • Chew a piece of gum
  • Drink water
  • Eat something mouth-watering (think fruit, not bread)

Another factor to consider is your mouth's normal bacterial state. Bacteria grows exponentially. So the more bacteria that's present before coffee will contribute to more after coffee (and a worse smell). Come in for regular hygiene visits with Soulsmile, our Ashland OR dental office, and consult with our awesome team members on the best home care routines to keep your oral health in check at all times. 


Pregnancy and Your Oral Health


Pregnancy and Your Oral Health

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, it's likely that you or someone close to you is pregnant. Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy, including changes related to your oral health. These are primarily due to a surge in hormones like estrogen and progesterone. These same hormones which are integral to your growing baby can exaggerate the way your gums react to plaque. 

If plaque is not properly removed, it can cause gingivitis - marked by swollen, red gums which are more likely to bleed. You may notice an increase of bleeding from brushing or flossing. There’s a condition referred to as “pregnancy gingivitis” which affects most pregnant women and can begin as early as the second month. If you have gingivitis prior to becoming pregnant, your condition is likely to worsen. If left untreated, this can lead to periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease and, because it is incurable, it will continue to affect you long after pregnancy. 

Occasionally, women also develop inflammatory, non-cancerous growths when their gums become irritated while pregnant. These growths, called “pregnancy tumors”, are usually harmless and can be left alone. They will generally reduce in size, until they disappear completely, after birth. If you have a tumor that is uncomfortable or interferes with your hygiene routine or chewing, let us know. Dr. Kivel may decide to remove it.  

Preventing Problems

Of course, we recommend excellent oral hygiene at all stages of life. But we understand that pregnancy creates additional risks and additional motivation for staying healthy. During this time, you’ll want to keep your teeth very clean, especially near the gumline. Brush at least twice a day, and after every meal if possible. For some women, brushing can contribute to feelings of morning sickness. If this happens to you, rinse your mouth with water or with anti-plaque mouthwashes and brush when you can. Floss thoroughly each day. 

Feel free to book more frequent than normal cleanings with Soulsmile at this time to supplement your own efforts. 

“Can gingivitis affect my baby?”

Unfortunately, there is research that suggests a link between gum disease and preterm, low-birthweight babies. In recent years we’ve come to realize that bacteria can enter the bloodstream through your gums and is linked to many serious issues, including heart disease. So it is not surprising to find that this can affect your pregnancy as well. The current theory proposes that when the bacteria travels to the uterus it triggers the production of prostaglandins, which are suspected to contribute to premature labor. The best prevention for this is excellent hygiene! 

“When should I visit Soulsmile?”

If you are pregnant or suspect you are, we’d encourage a visit right away! A checkup in your first trimester allows Dr. Kivel to assess your oral health and map out a dental plan for the rest of your pregnancy. A second trimester cleaning will let us monitor any changes and make sure the gums are being properly cleaned. 

“Are there dental procedures I should avoid?”

Routine care can generally be performed throughout pregnancy, but the best time for treatment is the fourth through sixth month. Your obstetrician may be consulted for dental emergencies that require anesthesia or if medication needs to be prescribed. Elective procedures should generally be delayed until after birth. 

Congratulations again! Please contact us if you’d like to schedule a visit or if you have any questions about related to your own pregnancy.