Category Archives: Oral Hygiene

Oral Yeast Infections

I recently have been diagnosed with asthma and have to use an inhaler. Since I’ve started there is this white stuff on my tongue and cheeks. The affected areas are sore. Do you have any understanding of what could be happening?

Alethea B.- Mississippi


I suspect you have oral candidiasis, which is commonly known as an oral yeast infection. You can find the candida fungus in everyone’s body. Generally in their mouth, skin, and digestive tract. Sometimes, a medication that you are using can cause the microorganisms in your body to go out of balance. In this case your asthma medicine likely caused the candida fungus to grow more quickly, leading to a yeast infection.

It is simple to treat. Either your doctor or your dentist can prescribe and anti-fungal medication for you. What kind and how long you will need to take the medication will depen d on the severity of your case. Don’t leave this untreated, because it will not heal itself and can lead to other problems.

You may also be interested in learning about mercury-free dentistry.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Kevin Peck.

Does marijuana cause tooth decay?

I just found out my son is taking marijuana. I know it is a horrible thing for his brain and that he can get addicted to other drugs becuase of it. I’m trying to deal with all that. But, I was wondering if it affects his teeth as well? I’m trying to get everything taken care of at once.

B.C.- Wisconsin


Your head must be spinning right now. I can’t imagine the worry you are going through. You didn’t mention how old he is. You’ll have a little more control if he is a minor. There are several things to factor in to his oral health knowing that he is smoking marijuana.

All smoking, no matter what kind, contributes to tooth decay for several reasons. First, it hinders saliva production. Many people do not know that saliva production is an important factor in preventing tooth decay. There are minerals in our saliva that fight bacteria in our mouths. Smoking also decreases the oxygen in our bloodstream, which will lead to gum disease.

Additionally, marijuana contributes some additional problems. Not only does marijuana lower our immune system, but the THC in marijuana interferes with the way calcium moves about it our bodies. Calcium is a key ingredient in healthy tooth structure.

Because of the staining on the teeth, you may also be interested in looking into teeth whitening.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Denitst Dr. Kevin Peck.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Sensitivity

I keep getting these canker sores. After doing a lot of research, I think i’ve narrowed it down to the chemical Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in the toothpaste. Can you tell me where I can get a toothpaste that doesn’t contain this? It looks like all the ones in my general store have it.

Serena K.- San Diego, CA


Yes, below is list of toothpastes you can use. You will generally find them in a health food store. Be aware that these will not foam when you brush your teeth. It is the Sodium Lauryl Sulfate that makes the foaming reaction in your mouth. You can be assured your teeth are still getting clean. Here are the toothpastes:

  • Squigle Enamel Saver Toothpaste
  • Rembrandt Gentle White Toothpaste
  • Auromere Ayurvedic Toothpaste  (found on-line)
  • Tom’s of Maine Natural Clean and Gentle Care, SLS-Free Antiplaque plus Whitening Spearmint Toothpaste
  • Herbal Toothpaste Cardamon-Fennel
  • Biotene Dry Mouth Toothpaste Fresh Mint Original Flavor
  • JASON Natural Cosmetics Powersmile Toothpaste Peppermint

You may also want to avoid acidic foods, such as grapefruits and tomatoes, as they can create the same problem.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr.Kevin Peck.

Bad Breath

Can you tell me what causes bad breath? I know I’ve got a bad case of it, but I don’t know why. Breath mints don’t help for long.

Name Withheld

Breath mints don’t deal with the causes of bad breath, they just mask it. Beware of just using breath mints over and over. Many of them contain sugars that not only can contribute to bad breath, but can also quickly lead to tooth decay.

Sometimes bad breath can be the result of acid reflux, or an infection such as strep throat. Those causes have medication that can help, but you need to get them diagnosed by a physician.

Other times it is a matter of the types of food you eat, or even oral hygiene issues. First, I’d make sure you are practicing good oral hygiene. Do you brush and floss regularly? If not, start there. You’ll notice a real difference just from that. Even with good hygiene, your mouth is filled with bacteria designed to help break down the proteins in your mouth. As they break down, a sulfur gas is left behind in your mouth which can have a foul odor. There is a Smart Mouth rinse that can eliminate the sulfur gas from forming and prevent bad breath for about twelve hours.

I hope this helps.

You may also be interested in learning about Teeth Whitening.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Kevin Peck.


Chewing gum and bacteria

Would you be willing to help me with a science experiment? I’m testing four different brands of chewing gum: orbit, trident, Big Red and extra. Will you tell me what the ingredient is in chewing gum that kills bacteria?

Albert I.- Pennsylvania


What a great idea for a science experiment. You’ll have a more successful project if you use cinnamon flavored gums. The main ingredient in these gums that kill bacteria is cinnamic aldehyde, which is a plant essential oil that’s used for flavoring.

Here is the best way to do the experiment. Swab the mouths of a few of your friends and put their samples in petri dishes.Then have them chew a stick of gum for twenty minutes. Afterward, swab their mouths again and put the samples in another petri dish. After 24 hours check to see which gum is best in reducing mouth bacteria.

Also, you might mention that chewing any gum will reduce the bacteria in your mouth, without the ingredient you find in cinnamon gum. The gum stimulates your saliva production. Your saliva has enzymes and minerals that fight bacteria extremely well.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Kevin Peck.

You may also be interested in Mercury-free dentistry.


Contagious Gum Disease

Can you tell me if gum disease is contagious?

Kathy S.- Little Rock, AR


No, gum disease is not in and of itself contagious. However, the bacteria the causes gum disease can be passed from one person to another. Some of the ways this happens is by the exchange of saliva that happens when you share a drink or a toothbrush with someone. Even kissing and sneezing can do it.

The key to avoiding gum disease is good oral hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing are essential. Visit your dental office for cleaning every six months. If you have periodontal disease, you may need to go more often for a while.

You can recognize gum disease at home by swollen and bleeding gums. If this has happened, brushing alone won’t fix it. Your dentist can best describe the course of treatment you need depending on how prevalent it is.

You may also be interested in Root Canal Treatment.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix dentist Dr. Kevin Peck.