Halitosis Causes and Cures

Nov 13

Ever been trapped in a meeting with someone with serious bad breath? Few things are more frustrating and disgusting than having to smell someone else’s foul breath. Knowing that you’re the cause of that frustration and disgust in others is a difficult thing. Let’s learn more about halitosis causes, and more importantly, the cures!woman with halitosis

What Causes Halitosis?

Just like other oral health problems, the cause can always be traced back to bacteria. As the bacteria breaks down the proteins they use for food, they give off volatile sulfur compounds (VCSs). The more bacteria you have in your mouth, the more of these sulfuric compounds will be released.

Halitosis Treatments:

While brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash are all popular treatment methods, these are not the best methods. The bacteria mostly coat the back of the tongue, out of reach of toothbrushes. Mouthwash can mask the scent for a time, but it does not kill off the bacteria. What can work? Tongue scraping can be effective because it can reach the bacteria that brushing cannot. However, the bacteria will continue to multiply, so regular oral care will be necessary.

A Halitosis Cure?

While science has yet to find a permanent cure for halitosis, the use of mouthwash that has the germicide Chlorine Dioxide in it has been shown in this study to significantly improve mouth odors for at least eight hours after use. The reason Chlorine Dioxide rinses are more effective than traditional mouthwash is because they are able to kill the odor-causing bacteria.

While up to 90% of halitosis cases result from this overgrowth of sulfurous bacteria, there can be other causes. If you suffer from halitosis, check with your dentist to make sure no infections or other oral problems could be the cause. At Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, we care about your overall oral health and the effect your oral health has on your well-being. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

The Gum Chewing Habit: Is it a Problem?

Oct 29

There are many reasons to begin a gum habit- bad breath, boredom, stress, hunger, and more. Are you worried your habit is having unexpected side effects? Let’s look at the pros and cons of chewing gum:

Pros:woman chewing gum

Saliva: Saliva is a defensive tool against cavities. Chewing gum can help increase saliva flow. Saliva helps to wash away food particles and bacteria.

Xylitol: Many gums include the ingredient Xylitol as an artificial sweetener. Xylitol has also been studied as a preventative for bacterial growth in the mouth. Read more: http://www.cda.org/Portals/0/pdfs/fact_sheets/xylitol_english.pdf

Heartburn: Some studies have suggested that chewing gum can assist with heartburn, because the extra saliva helps to neutralize the acid in the throat.

Reduced snacking: While the jury is still out, it seems that gum chewing can reduce mindless snacking and the increased caloric intake associated with it.


Sugar: Most gums are sugar free, using artificial sweeteners instead. As long as your gum is sugar free, you don’t have to worry about increased sugar exposure to your teeth. However, some people have adverse gastrointestinal reactions to artificial sweeteners.

Stress: Chewing involves great pressures on your jaw. While your mouth is meant to withstand these pressures, constant chewing has been shown in one study to be related to chronic headaches. It can also cause jaw problems if you consistently chew only on one side of your mouth. Read more: http://www.deardoctor.com/dentistry/blog/chewing-gum-linked-to-headaches-in-kids

Artificial Ingredients: Gum contains many artificial ingredients that may be harmful to your body. Make sure to check the labels to determine your risk.

If you’re concerned about the effect your or your child’s gum chewing habit has on your or their teeth, come in for a consultation. We’ll evaluate the health of your teeth and jaw and give recommendations. The team at Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is passionate about oral health at every stage of life, and is equipped to handle the complicated cases. Contact us today to make an appointment.

Artificial Sweeteners: The “Cure-All” for Cavities?

Oct 23

You love that sugary taste, but you’ve heard this line for years- sugar causes cavities. Surely that means that using artificial love for sweetssweeteners instead will be the cure- no sugar, no cavities. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple.

While you’ve often heard that sugar causes cavities, really the oral bacteria are to blame. The harmful bacteria in your mouth need food to thrive, and their food of choice is fermentable sugar. The more sugar you have, the more prolonged contact it has with your teeth, and your dental hygiene habits all play a role in your likelihood for cavities. This means that using artificial sweeteners, which bacteria are unable to break down, can help reduce your risk of cavities.

However, the sugar and bacteria combination isn’t the only threat to your dental health. Acid is also a danger. Soda and juices are serious contributors of acid, and that acid can erode the protective enamel on your teeth. Many people mistakenly believe that because they are drinking diet soda, or juice sweetened with artificial sweeteners, that they are making the healthy choice for their teeth. Diet sodas and drinks still have plenty of acid and can cause enamel erosion. Without enamel, your teeth are defenseless and will be much more sensitive.

Even if you primarily use artificial sweeteners, it is no replacement for proper oral hygiene. A variety of foods can be broken down into fermentable sugars- the food of the bacteria. You must regularly remove the plaque that continually builds up on the surfaces of your teeth. To prevent cavities, the best course of action is to develop a habit of brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings.

If you have weak teeth, a history of gum disease, or other oral health concerns, our experienced team at Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is here to help. We can make specific recommendations based on your unique oral situation and health history. Call us today to schedule a consultation. We are your oral health experts.

Periodontist Tennessee: What type of floss is the most effective?

Sep 30

Confused about the different varieties of floss available? Let’s do a comparison:

Nylon filament floss: This is the most common type of floss and is widely used. It is made of multiple strands of nylon filament, and some have found issue with this type of floss due to fraying. However, used correctly it is very effective. Those with wider gaps between their teeth may prefer this slightly thicker floss.periodontist Tennessee types of floss

“Glide” floss: These flosses are made with a monofilament (single strand) of rubber or plastic. They are not as likely to have fraying issues and they are slightly thinner than nylon filament floss. Those with tightly spaced teeth may prefer this floss because it is easier to get between teeth.

Un-waxed Vs Waxed: This is only a question if you are using the nylon floss (monofilament floss is slippery enough to not need wax) but it’s purely a matter of preference. Again, those with closely spaced teeth may be more comfortable using a waxed floss because it is easier to get between the teeth.

Water “flossing”: While called by the same name, it’s not the same process and the benefits differ. Flossing with nylon or monofilament floss has the ability to wipe and scrape the plaque off of your teeth. Water flossing does not have that ability, but it can help by washing away plaque that has been loosened. It can also reach difficult places that floss cannot.

When it comes to your oral health, remember that cleaning your mouth for only a few minutes a day can make a huge difference. Flossing can be correctly done in under a minute If you have struggled to form consistent flossing habits, consider changing they type of floss you are using, or try using a water flossing device. There is no noticeable difference between the nylon or rubber flosses. Buy whatever you are most comfortable using, and remember that spending a few minutes a day can prevent incredibly painful and costly oral disease and damage down the road.

If you have any specific risk factors, history of gum disease, or if you are currently battling with weak gums, our periodontist Tennessee team at Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is here to help. Come in for an initial consultation and get the expertise you need to get and keep your mouth healthy.

Gum Stimulators: Can I use it for Periodontitis treatment?

Sep 14

What is a Gum Stimulator?

A gum stimulator is an oral health tool designed to improve blood flow in gum tissue. It consists of an angled handle with a flexible rubber cone tip.shutterstock_28627237

How do I use one?

Gum stimulators have two functions, to “exercise and stimulate” the gums to increase blood flow, and to loosen plaque that has formed along the tooth under the gum line. To use, follow these steps:

  • Moving with a small circular motion, massage the edge of your gums (both on the front and on the back of your teeth) for ten seconds per tooth.
  • Sliding the pointed tip slightly below your gum line, with the edge of the stimulator against the surface of your tooth, gently sweep along the tooth to loosen plaque below the gum line.
  • Flush frequently during the process to remove any loosened plaque
  • Soak your gum stimulator in a solution of one part water, two parts hydrogen peroxide between uses.

What is the benefit?

For those with weak and unhealthy gums, gum stimulation can help with strengthening and firming gum tissue. For those who have shown signs of periodontal disease, the loosening of plaque below the gum line is one of the most valuable ways to reduce the spread of the disease. By rubbing below the gum line, oxygen gets into the periodontal pocket. The harmful bacteria that are the cause of periodontitis cannot survive contact with oxygen.

Do I need to use a gum stimulator?

If you do not have any signs of periodontitis, regular brushing and flossing should be sufficient for your oral health. Your dentist or periodontist will recommend a gum stimulator if they see it is necessary.

Need to find periodontitis treatment in Clarksville TN? Look no further. Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry cares about the oral health of the Clarksville community. Our experienced team can assist in even the more complicated oral health concerns. Contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment.

Oral Hygiene Tips for Starting Good Habits Young: Periodontist Tennessee

Aug 25

When it comes to lasting oral health, prevention is by far the best plan. Teach your children good dental habits early in life, and they will reap the benefits for years to come. Some children are very uncomfortable with having a toothbrush in their mouth, and will fight or scream. It may takeshutterstock_267324710 a lot of patience to make sure your child has clean teeth, but it’s particularly important for young teeth to be cleaned every day. The enamel of baby teeth is thinner than on adult teeth, so problems can arise more quickly if brushing is skipped. Here are some tips for making those habits fun.

  • Make it a game- be creative! Children are easily bored, but are much more willing to learn and participate when they are having fun. Sing a toothbrush song; make up a dance, or anything else your children will enjoy.
  • Use a reward system- let your child earn a point for each time they brush their teeth without complaint, and if they have earned enough points at the end of the week, give them a small prize or do a fun reward activity.
  • Try brushing while your child has a distraction, like when your child is watching a video or listening to favorite music.
  • Use online resources, like the videos at aquafresh.com/aquafresh-kids
  • Teach your child about the dentist- Many pediatric dentists will let you have a tour of the office and let your children see the instruments, chair, and lights before their first appointment. Being familiar with the space and routine beforehand can reduce the anxiety.
  • Ask your child if you can film their first dentist visit because a “friend” of yours is scared of going to the dentist and needs to watch how brave your child is.

At Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, we are a periodontist Tennessee team that want to see healthy gums and happy smiles. Prevention, while the best medicine, is not always enough. We have the tools and expertise to rectify damage to teeth and gums. Contact our office to make an appointment.

Velscope Vx Oral Cancer Screening: Clarksville TN Dentist

Aug 13

The VELscope is a handheld device that scans your mouth using “natural tissue florescence visualization.” In simple terms, we shine a light with a specific frequency in your mouth, and if you have an infection or an abnormal section of tissue, it will light up a different color than the healthy tissue. Non-invasive and effective, the VELscope has been cleared by the FDA to reveal such abnormalities as:shutterstock_278188346

  • Infections (viral, bacterial, or fungal)
  • Squamous Papillomas (masses that are generally benign, but can cause pain or interfere with eating, and are usually caused by the Human Papiloma Virus HPV)
  • Allergy to fillings or other substances (the VELscope detects inflammation)
  • Salivary Gland Tumors (may be difficult to see with only visual exam)
  • Cancer and Pre-Cancerous cell masses that might be too small to notice otherwise

Oral cancer, classified with head and neck cancer, is the 6th most common cancer category. While it does not receive an outpouring of media attention, oral cancer is a legitimate danger. As with all cancers, early detection is key for a favorable outcome. However, oral examinations have historically only included a visual exam, which is not the most effective way to find small irregularities in cell growth.

While the VELscope alone cannot diagnose oral cancer, it highlights areas for further investigation and biopsy, in which conclusive results may be determined. This simple method combined with your regular annual exam will be more effective at finding oral health concerns.

At Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, we are a Clarksville TN dentist team that strives to provide the highest level of service to our patients, and this includes using the latest developments in technology. Ask about our VELscope screening at your next procedure, particularly if you have any elevated risk factors like prior family history of cancer or gum disease, tobacco use, or alcohol use. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

What is the LANAP Procedure? Clarksville TN Dentist

Jul 24

LANAP is a laser procedure used to remove pockets of bacteria that have grown in between the tooth and the gums. These pockets of bacteria are what cause gingivitis and the more serious periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss.shutterstock_234990973


The traditional method of removing these diseased pockets is called scaling and root planing. This involves a dental hygienist using a scaler, a long, thin pointed metal instrument, scraping between the gums and teeth to remove the calculus and plaque. An electronic or sonic scaler may also be used in this process, which remove the calculus with vibrations and sterilize by using oxygen bubbles. The bacteria involved in these infections cannot survive in oxygenated environments.

The LANAP procedure involves sliding a very thin laser wire (thinner than a piece of floss) between the tooth and the gum. This wire produces a high frequency laser that kills the bacteria and sterilizes the area without damaging your mouth. The frequency of the laser is specifically targeted to only kill the bacteria. It also loosens the calculus and plaque on your tooth surfaces, allowing them to be more easily removed.

Benefits of using the LANAP procedure:

  • Faster healing time
  • Not a surgical procedure
  • No sutures or surgical glue required
  • No or minimal bleeding
  • No general anesthetic- only a localized anesthetic is required
  • Less lost healthy gum tissue
  • Less discomfort
  • Less chance of requiring a bone graft
  • Higher chance of complete gum pocket sterilization

Remember, the health of your mouth is an important factor in your overall wellbeing. Prevention of dental disease through proper oral hygiene is always the goal, but if you suffer from gingivitis or periodontitis, you will need the help of a skilled professional to bring your gums back to health. The Clarksville TN dentist team at Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry are here to help. Call us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your oral health needs.

Clarksville TN Dentist | Bone Grafting FAQ’s

Jul 17

What is dental bone grafting?

Bone grafting is a process in which bone is taken from one part of your body and placed in another, where it will grow naturally and strengthen the weak area. If your jaw requires a bone graft, the bone may be taken from another part of your jaw or from another source, like your hip. It may take six months for the graft to sufficiently grow and integrate with the existing bone.


When would I need a bone graft?

If you require a replacement for one or more lost teeth, your oral surgeon will inspect the health of the surrounding jaw to determine whether it is strong enough and healthy enough to accept an implant. Bone grafting is only done when there is prior damage to the bone or poor quality of bone in the implant area. A dental implant cannot be placed into your jaw if your jawbone is too soft, too thin, or has been damaged. Teeth undergo enormous pressures during chewing, and therefore your oral surgeon must ensure that the implant is placed in a bone that is strong enough to withstand these pressures.

Will my body reject the graft?

The graft will generally be done with your own transplanted bone, minimizing the risk of rejection. In the rare circumstance that it is necessary to use donor bone, the risk will be higher. In either case, your oral surgeon will provide you with the medications you need to reduce risks of side effects, infections, or rejections.

Does this mean my new tooth will be made of my own bone?

No. The material for your crown will depend on whether you choose to have a fixed or removable dental implant prosthesis. The replacement tooth will be an artificial material made to the correct shape, size, and look of a real tooth. It will either be attached to your jaw by cementing it to the metal posts that are drilled into the jawbone, or it will be a snap-on model that securely connects with the metal posts. Bone that is collected for your graft will be used to strengthen the jawbone and not to create the implant.


If you have missing teeth, you need the best care to ensure a healthy bite and a dazzling smile. You need a Clarksville TN dentist. Carter Periodontics and Implant Dentistry are experts in complicated and delicate dental work, and will provide the care you need. Contact our friendly staff today to schedule a consultation on your unique needs.

Five Risk Factors of Gum Disease

Jun 26

Gingivitis, the most common type of gum disease, occurs when bacteria gets below the gum line and breeds in the space between your teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing are the first and most basic steps to a healthy mouth, but some of us are more susceptible to gum disease than others. If you have any of these risk factors, consult your dentist in Clarksville TN for extra help in keeping your gums healthy.shutterstock_211849876

  • Smoking is a serious risk factor because tobacco products hinder your gums from properly attaching to your teeth. This leaves gaps that the bacteria can breed in. The best way to avoid this is to quit smoking and the use of any tobacco products.
  • Diabetes threatens your gums by reducing your ability to fight infections. This means if the harmful bacteria gets under your gum line, your body will have a difficult time killing it off. Prevention is the best medicine in this case.
  • Medications may have side effects that are harmful to your gum health. If dry mouth is a side effect of any medication you are taking, remember that saliva actually helps to protect your gums by killing off bacteria. Consult with your dentist about mouth sprays that will counter the effects of dry mouth.
  • Genetics may be a risk factor as well, although we have not discovered a specific “gingivitis gene.” If one or both of your parents has faced a significant battle with periodontal disease, brushing and flossing alone might not be enough for you. Discuss your family history with your dentist to determine what you should be watching out for.
  • Illnesses that reduce your immune system, like AIDS, can affect your gum health because they reduce your body’s ability to fight off infections. If you have an immunodeficiency or are taking any drugs or therapies, like radiation or chemotherapy, your risk for gum disease could be elevated.

The good news is that gum disease is generally preventable by practicing good oral hygiene. If you have any of the above risk factors, the dental team at Carter Periodontics & Implant Dentistry are here to help. Call today or fill out our request form to schedule an evaluation appointment.