COMING SOON! More Evening & Weekend Hours
#20-4 Spruce Ridge Drive, Spruce Grove, Alberta
| (780) 962-5538

What should I do if I have bad breath?

September 16, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 1:23 am

Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning.


bad breath
There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent.
What may cause bad breath?
• Morning time – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
• Certain foods – Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
• Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth.
• Periodontal (gum) disease – Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums.
• Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances – May also contribute to bad breath.
• Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.
• Tobacco products – Dry the mouth, causing bad breath.
• Dieting – Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.
• Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away.
• Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.
Keeping a record of what you eat may help identify the cause of bad breath. Also, review your current medications, recent surgeries, or illnesses with you dentist.
What can I do to prevent bad breath?
• Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day with a Canadian Dental Association CDA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable bridges, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning.
• See your dentist regularly – Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits.
• Stop smoking/chewing tobacco – Ask your dentist what they recommend to help break the habit.
• Drink water frequently – Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria.
• Use mouthwash/rinses – Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath, but also kill the germs that cause the problem.
In most cases, your dentist can treat the causes. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but it is persistent, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.

How to Floss Your Teeth

September 15, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 3:19 pm

When you think about, you use them on a daily basis.  Your teeth is used to eat, chew, talk and smile.  Brushing and flossing is an important part of maintaining good oral health; along with regular dental hygiene scaling and cleaning.  It is recommended that you brush at least 2-3 times a day and floss at least once daily before going to bed.


The surfaces between teeth are not easily accessible by toothbrush; therefore, the best way to clean them is by flossing. The ideal frequency for flossing is like brushing: ideally after each meal, though one time a day (before going to bed) is the minimum necessary.

When we brush our teeth we are not very effective in removing food debris, plaque and bacteria from in between our teeth. That is why, adults often develop cavities in between the teeth. Often the bacteria can also habour underneath the gums causing gum (periodontal disease). It is very hard to brush underneath the gums and that is why it is important to visit your dentist regularly to have professional scaling (cleaning) which involves removing plaque, tartar and bacteria underneath the gum to keep both your teeth and gums healthy. There are a lot of studies that show that people who have gum disease, have a higher risk of heart disease. This is because bacteria underneath the gums can enter the blood circulation via the blood vessel in the gums and bone. The bacteria then travel to the rest of the body and returns to the heart to be pumped out again. Therefore the mouth is indeed connected to the rest of the body! A healthy mouth is a healthy body!!!!


To start, cut a piece of dental floss (approximately 2 feet). Wrap both sides of the floss around your middle fingers. Using your index and thumb, glide the floss in between all of your teeth one by one. When flossing, make sure you are not cutting your gums. The goal is to clean the teeth surfaces, not the gums. In the space in between the teeth, press the floss against each side of the tooth (hug the tooth) and gently move it back and forth and up and down. Then move to the opposite surface of the adjacent tooth.

Gum Disease Symptoms

September 14, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 2:52 am

Gum disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease.

However, warning signs of gum disease include the following:

Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth

  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures


Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is caused when bacteria in plaque (a sticky, colorless film that forms in the mouth) builds up between the gums and teeth. When the bacteria begin to grow, the gums surrounding the tooth can become inflamed.

Gum disease

If left untreated, this inflammation can cause the gums and supporting bone structure to deteriorate. This can lead to gum recession or even tooth loss. In addition, research has shown that gum disease may be associated with other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Luckily, periodontal disease can be preventable. Adding these habits to your daily routine can help.

Brush your teeth. Brushing after meals helps remove food debris and plaque trapped between your teeth and gums. Don’t forget to include your tongue, bacteria loves to hide there.

Floss. Flossing at least once a day helps remove food particles and plaque between teeth and along the gum line that your toothbrush can’t quite reach.

Swish with mouthwash. Using a mouthwash can help reduce plaque and can remove remaining food particles that brushing and flossing missed.

Know your risk. Age, smoking, diet and genetics can all increase your risk for periodontal disease. If you are at increased risk, be sure to talk with your dental professional.

Bad breath – causes and treatment

September 13, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 8:17 pm

We’ve probably all encountered someone with beastly breath. Talking to someone with bad breath can be embarrassing and uncomfortable, and then you face the awkward issue: to tell or not to tell.

Bad breath, known in the oral health world as halitosis, affects many of us. Bad breath that’s directly related to certain foods can be easy to solve, but persistent bad breath may be a symptom of a bigger issue.

bad breath

What Causes Bad Breath
Bad breath can occur from a variety of causes. You could experience bad breath from eating certain foods, smoking, sinusitis, decreased saliva, alcoholism, periodontal disease, cavities, impacted or abscessed teeth, certain medicines, medical disorders or relaxed oral hygiene.

Food particles collect in the mouth, and without routine brushing and flossing those particles will remain in your mouth and rot. The lingering food causes an unpleasant smell. The food you eat is also absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches the lungs. Foods such as onion and garlic can cause unpleasant breath to be expelled, as these foods contain strong-smelling oils.

Patients who wear dentures may experience bad breath that can usually be eliminated by a thorough denture cleaning.

Certain medical conditions can cause specific odors in your mouth, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health. Breath that smells similar to urine, ammonia or fish could be a symptom of kidney failure. Patients with diabetes may notice a fruity smell on their breath. Bowel obstruction may cause fecal-smelling breath, and patients may also experience persistent vomiting. Pay attention to your breath’s odor, as it could be telling to an undiscovered problem. Esophageal cancer, bronchiectasis, gastric carcinoma, pharyngitis and lung abscesses also affect breath.

How to Stop Bad Breath
Bad breath cannot be treated with mouthwash, mints or gum. These tools may be helpful in masking or temporarily stopping an odor, but they won’t have lasting effects. Regular or even obsessive oral hygiene may not fix bad breath in every case. It’s important to determine the cause of your bad breath before attempting treatment.

Bad breath can occur from a variety of causes. You could experience bad breath from eating certain foods, smoking, sinusitis, decreased saliva, alcoholism, periodontal disease, cavities, impacted or abscessed teeth, certain medicines, medical disorders or relaxed oral hygiene.

Bad breath caused by medical conditions is just a side effect of a larger problem. Patients should see a doctor to address their medical condition, and the unpleasant odor should be eliminated through treatment.

The Canadian Dental Association gives denture care guidelines that will keep your dentures clean and odor-free. Soak your dentures every night in specific denture cleanser or with a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Treat your dental implants like real teeth as well, and clean carefully around them during flossing and brushing.

Visit the Dentist
The CDA advises patients to see a dentist if bad breath cannot be curbed by daily brushing and flossing. Our dentists will be able to determine whether your bad breath is caused by dry mouth or periodontal disease. We will teach you proper oral hygiene, including flossing daily between each tooth, brushing teeth properly, and brushing the tongue. Our tongues can also collect bacteria and retain odor. Remember to add tongue cleaning to your daily routine.

You don’t need to hide behind Altoids and Tic Tacs. Deal with your halitosis now and get back to your normal life.

Veneers and Laminates

September 12, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 3:23 am

Veneers and Laminates are a thin shell of porcelain or resin that is bonded to the surface of the teeth. This can change their shape, shade, and position to improve the cosmetics of your teeth and smile. They are also used to replace and restore any lost tooth structure where indicated. This is one way to quickly get that beautiful smile.

Your dentist will do a complete examination of your teeth to determine if these restorations are ideal for you. Veneers often provide the opportunity to dramatically transform the aesthetics of your teeth and smile.  During the examination, you personal preference of how you want your teeth to look like, the shape and colour.  You are welcomed to bring photos as examples of the smile that you want.  The shape of your face and personality with be considered in designing your smile.

Veneers can enhance the shape of your teeth, make your teeth as white as you want, and give you the smile you have always desired. Additionally, these restorations are bonded to your tooth structure, which gives them strength.

These restorations are done in several stages.  Usually our dentist will take photos, radiographs and models of your teeth.  An examination will be done to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and you do not have any decay.  The photos will be done to document how your teeth are currently.  The models will be waxed up to show you how your final smile will look like.  At this stage, changes can still be done to the veneers until you are completely happy.  Once you have approved of your new smile then two appointments are required.  The first appointment your teeth are prepared so that a final impression can be taken and sent to the lab to make the real veneers based on your feedback and approval.  You will have temporary veneers on you teeth by the end of the appointment.  This allows you to test-drive your new veneers.  The final appointment will involve removing the temporaries and bonding on the real ones.


Since they are very thin, these restorations are considered one of the most conservative cosmetic treatments available. Most of the time, very little or no tooth structure is removed before placing veneers. Ask your dentist how veneers can improve your smile.

Gum Disease Risk Factors

September 10, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 8:13 pm

The main cause of gum disease is plaque and bacteria that gets trapped underneath the gums.  When we clean our teeth at home, we are able to do a good job with cleaning our teeth above the gums, but it is very hard to reach underneath the gum-line.  Bacteria, plaque, toxins and tartar accumulates underneath the gums, inside spaces call periodontal pockets.  The bacteria will attack the gum and bone and cause gum disease.

gum disease

Other factors affect the health of your gums include:


Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of periodontal gum disease. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that over 70% of Americans 65 and older have periodontitis.

Smoking/Tobacco Use

Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems. Tobacco users also are at increased risk for periodontal gum disease. Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal gum disease.


Research has indicated that some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease. Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be more likely to develop periodontal disease. Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of the disease and getting them into early intervention treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.


Stress is linked to many serious conditions such as hypertension, cancer, and numerous other health problems. Stress also is a risk factor for periodontal disease. Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal gum diseases.


Some drugs, such as oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health. Just as you notify your pharmacist and other health care providers of all medicines you are taking and any changes in your overall health, you should also inform your dental care provider.

Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth

Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these periodontal tissues are destroyed.

Other Systemic Diseases

Other systemic diseases that interfere with the body’s inflammatory system may worsen the condition of the gums. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Poor Nutrition and Obesity

A diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection. Because periodontal disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of your gums. In addition, research has shown that obesity may increase the risk of periodontal disease.

Amalgam Fillings

September 9, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 11:35 pm

Used by dentists for more than a century, dental amalgam is the most thoroughly researched and tested restorative material among all those in use. It is durable, easy to use, highly resistant to wear and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other materials. For those reasons, it remains a valued treatment option for dentists and their patients.


Dental amalgam is a stable alloy made by combining elemental mercury, silver, tin, copper and other metallic elements. However, the mercury in amalgam combines with other metals to render it stable and safe for use in filling teeth.

They are also useful in areas where a cavity preparation is difficult to keep dry during the filling replacement, such as in deep fillings below the gum line. Amalgam fillings, like other filling materials, are considered biocompatible—they are well tolerated by patients with only rare occurrences of allergic response.

Disadvantages of these amalgam include possible short-term sensitivity to hot or cold after the filling is placed. The silver-colored filling is not as natural looking as one that is tooth-colored, especially when the restoration is near the front of the mouth, and shows when the patient laughs or speaks. And to prepare the tooth, the dentist may need to remove more tooth structure to accommodate these filling than for other types of fillings.

Dental Crowns and Bridges

September 7, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 9:04 pm

Crowns (cap) are restorations that is placed on teeth that have lost a lot of their structure. There are various types of crowns, ranging from full porcelain to full metal crowns. Your dentist will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each kind for you.


Crowns may also be used to securely attach a bridge if the structure of the surrounding teeth is inadequate. A bridge is a dental appliance that is used to replace one or more missing teeth. They are designed to be cosmetically appealing and to restore proper occlusion. Like crowns, bridges are fully customizable and made of various materials, including porcelain and metals. Although not as permanent as a cap, bridges are bonded to the surrounding teeth and only removable by your dentist.

Both a crown or bridge requires two appointments.  The first appointment, you are given freezing so that you are completely comfortable.  Than the teeth are prepared and an impression is taken and sent to a lab.  You will leave the appointment with either a temporary crown or a bridge.  Care instructions will be given to you and sometimes medications are prescribed.  Within a few weeks, the lab will return the fabricated crown or bridge.  You are numbed and the temporary  is removed.  The real crown or bridge or tried onto your teeth to ensure it fits well and the colour matches with the rest of your dentition.  Once you are happy with the final result, the restoration is bonded onto your teeth.  You can now eat, drink, floss and brush your crown or bridge just like your other teeth.

Both crowns and bridges are created to match the color, height, texture, and overall appearance of your teeth. Most crowns and bridges will last for life, eliminating the need to replace them unless they fall out or become loose. You may prolong the durability of your crowns and bridges by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.

Dental Emergency

September 6, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 2:20 pm

When a patient experiences a dental emergency, adherence to several steps should result in quicker care and relief:

  1. If the patient currently sees a dentist, s/he needs to call his or her own personal dentist. Most dentists belong to a call group, meaning that they trade call with other dentists. Therefore, a caller may be directed to contact the dentist who is on call.
  2. If a person with a dental emergency does not currently have a dentist of record, s/he should call the local dental association and ask for a listing of dentists who accept dental emergencies. The list is broken down by specialties and by time periods. Patients should expect to be charged for emergency care.
  3. If the dental emergency requires an oral surgeon for immediate care, the hospital emergency room personnel will call the oral surgeon who is on call. Patients will be charged for these services.

Dental Emergency

These problems require an immediate Emergency Room visit:
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Fractured jaws
  • Loss of consciousness
These problems require a dentist’s attention:
  • Broke a tooth
  • Badly chipped tooth/tooth is bleeding (not the gums)
  • Bumped a tooth hard; it used to hurt; it got better, but now it hurts again
  • Chipped a tooth
  • Knocked out a tooth
  • Loosened a tooth, pushed in or hanging out of position
  • Have pain with swelling
    • Swelling of gums around teeth
    • Swelling around the wisdom teeth
    • Swelling around the eye
    • Swelling in the roof of the mouth
    • Swelling in the jaw
  • Experiencing toothache
These problems require a dentist’s attention but not immediate unless accompanied by pain:Treat before pain develops or your bite changes.
  • Broken or lost crown or cap
  • Broken or lost filling
  • Broken denture or appliance
What should I do for a toothache? This pain can be relatively simple or quite complicated. It can be simple because sometimes by biting or chewing, a person can tell which tooth is causing pain. More often than not, biting does not identify the offending tooth; and the pain can be referred to a distant location like the ear, the chin, the corner of the jaw, or even one side of the throat (the same side the pain is on). If a tooth is hypersensitive to thermal stimulation like hot or cold food or drinks or if spontaneous pain from the mouth occurs “out of the blue” or if tooth pain awakens you from sleep, then you most likely have a toothache and should see a dentist as soon as possible.

Periodontal Gum Disease

September 4, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Spruce Ridge Dental @ 7:31 pm

Periodontal Disease (infection of the gum and bone) is now the number one cause of tooth loss in North America.

Periodontal Disease

When we clean our teeth at home it is very difficult to reach underneath the gumline.  Plaque, tartar, bacteria and toxins will start to accumulate in the space between the gum and teeth, called periodontal pockets.  When the bacteria are left there, they will attack the gum and cause gum disease (gingivitis).     Furthermore, with time the bacteria will infect the bone and cause bone loss and bone disease (periodontitis).  The gum and bone provide support for our teeth and help anchor them inside our mouths.  Over time, significant gingivitis and periodontitis will result in inadequate support for our teeth and will result in mobile, painful and infected teeth.  Often periodontal abscesses, bad breath and pus will form.

Regular brushing and flossing at home are important, but are often not enough to prevent Periodontal Disease.  Studies show that most adults require gum therapy (professional scaling and cleaning) at least every 3 or 4 months to adequately remove the plaque, tartar, bacteria and toxins as they accumulate underneath the gumline (in the periodontal pockets).  It just makes sense that if the bacteria are removed on a regular base, they are not allowed time to attack the gum and bone supporting our teeth.

Due to improvement in health care, people are living longer and longer.  It is not unusual to hear of people living into their eighties and even nineties these days.  People are living longer and have a better quality of life compared to their grandparents.  Consequently we just need our teeth to be with us for a longer time.

When you think about it, we use our teeth daily to eat, smile and talk.  Teeth help to support our lips and checks which affect our facial contours and features.  Our smile is often the first thing people notice when they see to us.   Our teeth are such an important part of our daily function and quality of life.

There are numerous researches and studies showing that the mouth is linked to the rest of our body.  Bacteria in our mouth can enter the blood circulation through the blood vessels in our gum and bone.  Blood travels throughout our body and returns to our heart to be pumped out and recirculate again.  Therefore, gum and periodontal disease are linked to various body illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.  In fact, one of the easiest ways for bacteria to enter our body is through our mouth.

Periodontal Disease

Older Posts »
#20 - 4 Spruce Ridge Drive, Spruce Grove, AB T7X 4S3 CA
Dr. Mark Southwood Spruce Grove, AB dentist. (780) 962-5538 (780) 962-4485