Prime Feb March 2014 - Dr D Leong revThis article first appeared in the February - March 2014 issue of Prime magazine. We have reproduced it for the information of those of you who missed it when it was published.

"I have huge gaps between my teeth. May I find out, apart from a lack of aesthetic appeal, will there be other adverse consequences? Will I get bad breath very easily?" asked a Prime Magazine reader Mr. Wong

Dr Daylene Leong, a US Periodontist at Specialist Dental Group®, recommends the following:

Besides the lack of aesthetic appeal, sometimes the adjacent/surrounding teeth can drift or tilt into the huge gaps and hence potentially affect chewing function and increase difficulty in cleaning the teeth. When access for oral hygiene is impaired, problems such as gum disease and tooth decay can happen.

There is no scientific link between huge gaps between teeth and bad breath. However, sometimes food can get trapped between gaps and if one's oral hygiene is inadequate, the food that remains in the mouth becomes a breeding ground for bacteria that can cause bad breath.

There are several possible causes of bad breath. While the subjective condition of bad breath is commonly caused by localized dental problems, such as infection, ill-fitting dental fillings or dentures, there are more factors that can cause objective type of bad breath, such as:

  • Periodontal or gum disease;
  • Consumption of certain foods, e.g., garlic
  • Poor oral hygiene - caused by food particles between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums which collect bacteria;
  • Dry mouth condition (xerostomia) which can occur due to hormonal changes (e.g., menopause) or due to other medications;
  • Smoking;
  • Other medical conditions, such as digestive system problems, diabetes, ear or nose infections, or some forms of cancer

It is crucial that one uses dental cleaning aids such as the interdental brush to clean the teeth surfaces next to these gaps to rid of plaque and food particles so as to prevent the development of gum disease or teeth cavities.

It may also be advisable to see a dentist to determine the cause of the huge gaps between the teeth so as to prevent further dental issues.

daylene

Dr Daylene Leong is a US Periodontist at Specialist Dental Group®, Singapore. She received her training in the specialty area of Periodontology from the University of Michigan, USA. Dr Leong is a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology and a Clinical Tutor with the National University of Singapore. She has a special interest in periodontal aesthetics, gingival plastic surgery and dental implants. For more information, visit www.specialistdentalgroup.com.

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