Are You Guilty Of This?

As we travel around the country speaking to fantastic groups such as the American Academy of Dental Group Practice in Las Vegas last week, we often notice something that frankly really stinks.

You see, over the last twenty-two years we have been up-close and personal with many dentists and team members. And it’s amazing how many of them have downright rotten breath!

Whether it is from pungent foods, coffee, dehydration, or amazingly, perio disease – it seems like we have seen (and smelled) it all.

Of course we realize that everyone has occasional bad breath, body odor, or other personal maladies. But there is simply no place for that in the dental office.

Your dental co-workers are like your extended family. And everyone must agree that it is our job to alert our fellow team members (doctors included) about things such as bad breath, unsightly boogers, unzipped flies or other wardrobe malfunctions, food on face, eye or ear bunnies – okay, no need to gross you out – you get the picture by now.

It really is important, and all of that stuff reflects on your office and perceived ability to provide high quality dental care. So make a pact that instead of being offended, we will all thank a fellow team member when they say to us

“Your breath smells like freshly ground horse manure, there is something weird in your nose, and plaids and stripes don’t match.”

Actually, it should be said with kindness and caring and received that way as well. It’s all part of being on the team!!

But if you are afraid of insulting a chronic offender in your office, simply print this email out and discreetly place it somewhere where they will see it. You can even use a highlighter if there is a specific condition you wish to point out!

Stress causes bad breath epidemic in Japan

Of all the idiotic, trivial things that can ruin a person’s life, bad breath has to rank high on anyone’s list of the humiliating tricks fate can play on us. A magazine in Japan sounds the alarm: our collective breath, already bad, is getting worse.

Blame stress. High standards and feverish competition make Japan a stressful place at the best of times, which these recessionary times are not. Assuming the diagnosis of recession halitosis holds, our breath should sweeten as the economy recovers—if the economy recovers.

The article opens with a personal anecdote concerning a certain “Mr. A,” a 31-year-old advertising company employee who, always careful about brushing and flossing, was all the more chagrined to note unmistakable signs of repugnance on the face of a female colleague he was chatting up.

How strange. Why should his breath be foul? His health was good, his stomach apparently fine. True, he was in a state of some anxiety over his precarious finances. Also, lately his mouth often felt strangely dry. Could that be significant?

It is indeed, says Ichiro Saito, a dentistry professor at Tsurumi University and author of a book on “dry mouth” syndrome. The number of patients he’s seeing who suffer from it has increased dramatically over the past five years. Based on his own practice and other research, he estimates 30 million Japanese may be afflicted with it.

The usual causes, stress aside, are aging and medicinal side effects. But Saito was noticing a sharp rise in the number of young sufferers, many of them under stress, though not necessarily economy-related. One of his patients, a company man in his 30s, was being persistently harassed by an older subordinate resentful of his relatively lowly status. Another patient, a “desk worker” in his 20s, found his mouth drying as a romantic relationship turned sour.

Why should stress cause bad breath? As a rule, Saito describes in the article, a person secretes 1.5 liters of saliva a day. Salivation is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. Have a relaxing massage and notice the flow increase. Quarrel with your boss and your mouth dries. If you think of saliva as a kind of natural mouthwash, the rest of the explanation is easily inferred—dry equals unclean.

There are those who would say that if bad breath is your biggest worry, your life is on a pretty even keel. But it’s not necessarily so. Surveys consistently show that women are acutely sensitive to a man’s mouth odors. One 20-year-old woman the magazine speaks to sums it up clearly and bluntly: “I don’t care how good-looking a guy is, if his mouth smells like poison gas, I won’t kiss him!”

So chew gum, men, and carry a water bottle with you for emergency sips (not gulps) when you get that dry-mouth feeling. And chew your food thoroughly. That’s something we’re apt to neglect in hurried, stressful times. In doing so, we don’t make our stress any easier to bear.

And perhaps, most important of all, practice meticulous oral hygiene and visit your dentist on a very regular basis!

Sources: Japan Today/GPlusMedia K.K./Weekly Playboy