Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What is Your Bad Breath Telling You?

            It doesn’t matter if you call it bad breath or halitosis, worrying about your breath can make you feel anxious and uncomfortable. There are a number of different causes for bad breath, and we will talk about some of the potential reasons and the solutions in making you feel more comfortable in any setting.

            The first potential reason for bad breath is the most obvious: the foods we eat. Garlic, onions, and some others can linger for extended periods of time if we are not diligent about brushing and flossing daily. But even when we don’t eat foods that have a potent aroma, bacteria from any food can stay around in your mouth after eating. The bacteria that remain produce compounds that smell and the only solution to remove the bacteria is diligent home care.

            Dry mouth can also lead to bad breath and we commonly see patients on new medications develop dry mouth. Our saliva helps clean and protect our teeth and gums, and a decrease can lead to more leftover bacteria, which then creates bad breath. There are different rinses, gels and toothpastes that can help with dry mouth, and we also recommend sugar free gum and candy to stimulate saliva flow.

            Persistent bad breath could be a sign of gum disease if changes at home do not improve your issues. A deeper cleaning, referred to as root planning, may be recommended to remove bacteria and buildup that have grown underneath the gums.

            If none of the options above seem to be the answer to your bad breath, it is possible there is a more serious medical disorder. There are some systemic conditions, including diabetes, liver and kidney diseases that can produce symptoms related to bad breath.

            While there are a number of potential reasons for bad breath, an easy first step is to maintain excellent homecare and visit your dentist. You can work together to find solutions that work for your situation. And in more challenging situations, your physician is a great resource in diagnosing any hidden medical problems.

For more information, visit us at


Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dental Insurance Myths: What you need to know

            Trying to decipher the nuances of different dental insurance plans can be difficult. There a so many carriers and then there are different plans within those carriers that it can be overwhelming. Our goal today is to look at some of the common myths of dental insurance and what you actually need to know.

Myth: The insurance company will pay the fees that the dentist charges.

Fact: It has been the experience of many dentists that some insurance companies tell their customers that “fees are above the usual customary rate” instead of telling them that the “insurance benefits are low.” A good thing to remember is that you get back only what your employer puts in minus the profits of the insurance company.

Myth: The new alternative insurance plans are the same as the traditional plans.

Fact: The new plans referred to as PPO’s or DMO’s are simply discount plans. All these type of plans require the dentist to severely discount their fees nearly 50%. In order to take these plans and remain profitable business, the dentist must choose less expensive or faster options that may not provide the same long term results as when they are not restricted by the insurance company.

Myth: Once you reach your yearly deductible, everything else is free.

Fact: Dental insurance does not act the same way as medical insurance. It acts more like a coupon. It typically does not pay for the entire product or service and only pays a vague percentage. And once you have reached your yearly maximum, it no longer pays on anything.

Myth: The insurance will pay for the dental work because I need it.

Fact: Not all procedures that are needed will always be covered by your policy. When your company selects a plan, it is decided which procedures may or may not be covered. The lack of coverage by your insurance company does not mean it is not needed, it just means your plan has chosen not to cover the procedure.

            All of this can obviously be very confusing and even frustrating. If you have questions or concerns on which dental plan may be best for you and your family, please feel free to contact us and we can hopefully help you in deciding which one is best for you.

Brown and Kupper DDS, Inc.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Mouthguards: An Athlete’s Best Friend

          Since April is ‘National Facial Protection Month,’ we thought it would be a good time to reiterate and review the importance of protecting the teeth and jaw bone while playing sports. Parents take so many measures to ensure the safety of their kids, but too often the use of a mouthguard is overlooked. Adding a properly fitting mouthguard into anyone’s sports armament can help protect limit to the teeth, lips, tongue, and face.

So what are some key elements to look for when choosing a mouthguard?

·         It has enough flex not to tear or break

·         Ideally it is custom fit by the dentist

·         It doesn’t restrict breathing or speech

·         It fits well and is comfortable (otherwise you or your child will not wear it)

How do you take care of your mouthguard?

·         Store in a container that lets air in and out

·         Rinse after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste

·         Avoid hot water or the sun which can distort the mouthguard

·         Check for excessive wear and replace when needed

How do I make sure the mouthguard remains effective?

·         Bring it to each dental appointment for the dentist to check

·         Do not cut or chew pieces off of the guard

·         Do not wear any retainers or appliances while wearing the guard

We also recommend children begin wearing mouthguards when they first begin playing competitive sports. This will likely make compliance with the mouthguards better as they get older. The guards can be customized to fit the mixed dentition of their teeth and they come in a wide variety of colors and designs that can make them become more excited to use the guards. But as they continue to lose baby teeth and gain adult teeth, be sure to frequently check the fit of the guards as the changing size and shape of their teeth and jaw can change the fit. And if it doesn’t fit properly it will certainly lose effectiveness.

For more information, go to

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.