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Dental Health And Bad Breath

Dental Health and Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Have you noticed or has someone told you that you have bad breath? Halitosis (the medical term for bad breath) can be embarrassing. But once the cause is known, it can usually be treated. Here are some of the most common causes of bad breath.

Bacteria – Food particles left in your mouth after a meal combine with bacteria to create a bad odor. Bacteria often collect on the back of your tongue.

Gum Disease – Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) can cause bad breath.

Dry Mouth – Saliva cleanses your mouth, washing away many odor-causing bacteria. If your mouth has too little saliva, this can lead to bad breath. Your mouth may become dry when you sleep, when you’re thirsty, or because of certain medications or medical conditions.

Certain Foods – Some types of food and drink can cause bad breath. These include garlic, onions, curry, fish, cabbage, coffee and alcohol.

Tobacco – Smoking or chewing tobacco can make your breath smell, and the odor stays with you even when you’re not smoking or chewing.

Other Causes – Braces, dentures, and other mouth appliances cause halitosis if not kept clean, and so can untreated tooth decay. Sinus problems that cause drainage into the throat may sometimes lead to mouth odor. Other conditions, such as lung, stomach or nasal problems, can cause bad breath. In general, bad breath becomes more of a problem as you grow older.

What We Can Do to Help – We can help in two ways: finding a cause of bad breath, and treating it.

Finding the Cause – Some people think they have bad breath when they don’t. So our first step is to confirm that you do have a problem. Then, we will look for causes, checking for gum disease and other oral health factors, and asking questions about foods you eat, medications you take, medical conditions you have, and how you care for your teeth.

Possible Treatments – Depending on the cause, we may be able to treat the problem. We may also suggest a prescription mouth rinse that can help kill odor-causing bacteria.

What You Can Do

• Brush your tongue and use a special tongue scraper to clean off food and odor-causing bacteria.

• Drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth with water every so often to keep saliva flowing. Sugarless gum or mints can also help.

• Try to avoid eating foods that can cause bad breath.

• Stop smoking or chewing tobacco. You’ll be amazed how much better your breath will smell!

• Ask us about mouth rinses. Most over-the-counter mouthwashes only cover up bad breath for a short time.

• Call Scottsdale Dental Arts to schedule an appointment at 480-860-8282

February Is National Children’s Dental Health Month

For those of you who may not know, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) in the United States. Sponsored by our friends at the American Dental Association (ADA), this special, month-long observance is designed to raise awareness of how important good dental health is for children. All month long, dentists, healthcare providers, educators and more will be speaking to kids and parents about all the benefits children can enjoy when they have good dental health.

Our Scottsdale dentist, Dr. McCargar and his friendly team, will be taking part in NCDHM by speaking to our young patients about how essential it is that they take good care of their smiles. We’ll be offering some useful tips for doing a good job of brushing & flossing and will be reminding parents to bring their kids into our dental office twice yearly for routine checkups and professional cleanings.

Fighting Tooth Decay

One of the main goals of NCDHM is to reduce the prevalence of tooth decay among children. Childhood tooth decay can have devastating consequences on a child’s health and wellness. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, learning and playing. The good news is that tooth decay is preventable. By doing a good job of brushing & flossing, eating right and getting enough fluoride, tooth decay can be avoided.

Scottsdale dentist Dr. Jason McCargar offers dental sealants which are a proven, effective weapon in the battle against tooth decay. Dental sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent teeth wherein they fill in the deep grooves and fissures on teeth that trap bacteria and are difficult to clean well with a toothbrush. Once sealants have been applied, dental plaque is much easier to remove and the risk for developing tooth decay is significantly reduced.

Questions? Contact Us

If you have any questions about how you can help improve the health of your child’s smile, please feel free to contact us as we’re always happy to help! If it’s time for your child to see a dentist for a routine exam and cleaning, please give us a call at (480) 860-8282 or use the online contact form to request an appointment with Dr. McCargar. We look forward to seeing you and your child soon and helping your child achieve and maintain good dental health for a lifetime of amazing smiles!

How Brushing Your Teeth Can Help Prevent a Heart Attack

Toothbrushing is an activity that most people do several times a day without giving it much thought. However, scientists have recently found that brushing teeth thoroughly with a special type of toothpaste can actually reduce the risk of heart attack. Additionally, it may even have a similar effect on the body as cholesterol-lowering medications.

The toothpaste, called Plaque HD, highlights or reveals the plaque on teeth. This special toothpaste has been shown to reduce dental plaque as well as inflammation in the body that can cause a range of illnesses. Plaque HD contains cleaning agents that weaken the structure of the plaque to help keep the teeth free from bacteria.

In a US-based study, 61 participants were given a 2-month supply of either normal toothpaste or Plaque HD toothpaste. Their plaque and inflammation levels were tested before and after the study. The researchers also measured changes in a C-reactive protein called hsCRP, which is a marker for inflammation in the body. It was found at the end of the study that the participants using Plaque HD reduced their plaque levels by 49 percent, compared with 24 percent for the control group. Those using the plaque-revealing toothpaste also had lower levels of hsCRP than those using the standard toothpaste.

This study adds weight to the theory that there is a connection between poor oral health and heart problems. Numerous studies have strongly suggested that there is a link between oral health and inflammatory diseases affecting the entire body – in particular, heart attacks and strokes. While more research is needed to confirm this link, it’s safe to say that if you’re proactive with keeping your mouth healthy, your overall health will improve as well.

To maintain good oral health, you should be brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing once per day. You should also visit your dentist regularly for routine oral examinations and professional cleanings. By doing so, you can enjoy having an attractive and healthy smile and maybe your heart will love it too!

Time for a Checkup? Schedule A Visit with our Scottsdale Dentist

At Scottsdale Dental Arts, Dr. McCargar and his team are committed to helping all of our patients achieve and maintain good oral health. If you have any questions about the connection between oral and heart health or wish to request an appointment for a checkup and professional teeth cleaning, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Top 10 Benefits of Having Straight Teeth

Brushing and flossing everyday are great ways to maintain good oral hygiene, but did you know that having crooked teeth could prevent you from effectively cleaning your mouth? There are more benefits to straightening your teeth, beyond cosmetic. Dr. McCargar has put together a list of the benefits of having straight teeth.

1. Better Oral Hygiene

The hard to reach spaces between crooked or overlapping teeth can start to accumulate oral bacteria and build up plaque. With straight teeth, it is easier to brush and floss.

2. Clear Speech

Certain speech impediments are a result of jaw misalignment. Properly realigning the teeth and jawbone may be a solution to these speech problems.

3. Better Chewing and Digestion

With a crooked and improper bite, you may not be chewing food properly. Problems with digestion can occur as a result.

4. Protection for Your Teeth

Protruding teeth, also known as buckteeth, are more exposed, and thus susceptible to injury. Protective mouth guards are also more difficult to fit for crooked teeth.

5. Lower Risk of Soft Tissue Injury

Protruding teeth and misplaced teeth may poke or irritate the inside of the mouth, causing cuts and sores that could lead to infections.

6. Prevent Gum Disease

Bacteria can build up between hard to reach spaces in crooked teeth. The build up can put you at a higher risk for gum disease.

7. Stop Your Headaches & TMJ Pain

Misaligned teeth will wear down unevenly, applying an unusual tension on the jaw. This uneven tension can results in headaches, migraines, or TMJ/TMD pain.

8. Cost Effectiveness

Individuals with straight teeth generally have a lesser likelihood of developing severe oral health issues in the future. This means a lesser likelihood of needing costly, invasive treatments down the line.

9. Better Overall Health

Straighter teeth lead to improved oral hygiene and less tooth decay. Studies show that gum disease and oral bacteria may be linked to heart disease, arthritis, lung problems, and other poor health conditions.

10. Positive Self Esteem

Of course, one of the most noticeable benefits of straight teeth is the physical appearance, and the confidence it gives you to let your smile shine through everyday.

Book An Appointment With Scottsdale Dental Arts Today!

Get started on your journey to a healthier, happier smile today. Give us a call at our Scottsdale office. If you have any questions about our dental or orthodontic care, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ways To Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

In order to follow a good oral hygiene routine, it’s essential to arm yourself with the tools you need to get the job done right like a good quality soft-bristled toothbrush, floss and toothpaste. If there’s one place that germs like to linger, it’s your toothbrush. One of the best ways to keep your toothbrush germ-free is to clean it regularly. Here are a few ways you can keep your toothbrush clean, compliments of the friendly team at Scottsdale Dental Arts, your leading Scottsdale dentistry practice.

Don’t Let Anyone Else Use Your Toothbrush
Toothbrushes should never be shared and that includes even with your own family members. Everyone should have their own toothbrush to prevent cross-contamination. It is easy to pass a cold or flu to someone via your toothbrush so no sharing!

Be Sure Your Hands Are Clean
Because your hands are constantly coming into contact with all types of germs, you should get into the habit of washing your hands often throughout the day. Doing this can help keep your toothbrush free of germs that can be transferred from your hands to your brush.

Always Rinse Your Brush After Using It
As soon as you’re done brushing your teeth, take the time to rinse your toothbrush off well by running it under water for a few moments. This helps rid it of bits of food, debris and germs that may be lingering in the bristles.

Clean Your Toothbrush Holder Once a Week
Bacteria that builds up on your toothbrush holder will transfer over to your brush and then to your mouth. If you’re storing your toothbrush in a cup, wash the cup out with dish soap and water at least once per week.

Contact Scottsdale Dental Arts
If you have any oral hygiene questions or would like to find out more about the range of dental services we provide, please don’t hesitate to contact us as we’re always happy to speak with you! Our practice is very proud to provide a comprehensive range of dental services that run the gamut from general to cosmetic dentistry to ensure our patients have access to all the dental services they need to keep their smiles healthy and beautiful!

The Cavity Crisis

Did your tot brush this morning? Hmmm…you were in a rush. Maybe he missed last night, too, as you battled over bedtime. These scenarios may be behind the first rise in preschool cavities in 40 years. More than a quarter of kids under 5 now have tooth decay.  Rhea Haugseth, D.M.D., immediate past president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tells how to keep the drill at bay:


Monitor tooth brushing until about 8 years of age for when your kiddo will have the motor skills to really get the job done.


Many parents think bottled water is healthy, but it may not contain the all-important decay-preventing fluoride that’s in your tap.


Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar, producing an acid that attacks your teeth for 20 minutes after your last bite or sip, says Dr. Haugseth.  Keep snacks to a minimum, and wash them down with water.


The under-2 set should brush with a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). Bigger kiddos can have a pea-size squirt.


Your child should begin seeing a dentist around his first birthday.


Article from Parenting.com-October 2012 Issue

Give Children’s Teeth a Healthy and Happy Easter

Easter is almost here and parents often wonder how can they help their kids have a fun holiday without wreaking dental havoc. Dr. Jason McCargar of Scottsdale Dental Arts recommends trading out all the sweets in Easter baskets and eggs for toys, money, stamps, stickers, coloring books, sidewalk chalk or other children’s favorites.

However, if parents still feel they need to give at least a little candy on Easter, Dr. McCargar shares the best and worst types for their children’s teeth and some tips to manage sugar consumption.

Best and Worst Easter Treats for Teeth
(Ranked least to worst)

1.Sugar-free gum and candy provide the best sweet treat for teeth

2.Chocolate bunnies that melt away quickly are also a “better” option

3.Jelly Beans and peeps that get stuck in between teeth aren’t recommended

4.Jollly Ranchers, lollipops or sour candies are the worst culprits – the longer the candy sits in the mouth the worse for teeth, and sour candies eat away teeth’s enamel

How to Eat Easter Candy Responsibly
(Tips to parents)

1.Give Fun Dental Gifts
A favorite cartoon character toothbrush in an Easter basket serves as a great reminder to always brush after eating delicious Easter treats.

2.Location, Location, Location
Put Easter Baskets up high, preferably out-of sight, so children aren’t constantly reminded of the forbidden treats.

3.Easter Dessert
Make Easter candy a true treat by letting children choose a few pieces after a meal. They are already full from their healthy food, and saliva production (which protects the teeth) has already been initiated from the meal.

4.Let Your Dentist Help
Schedule a cleaning for your child and let your dental professional help. At Scottsdale Dental Arts, we teach children moderation and good dental habits to guarantee many years of happy, healthy Easter smiles.

Happy Easter from Scottsdale Dental Arts, Dr. Jason McCargar and Staff!

Dental Detection: Improving your overall health

Dr. McCargar was featured in national news coverage in New York! Who do you see more, your dentist, or your doctor? For millions, it’s the dentist. A growing population skipping annual physicals but keeping at least one dental appointment every year. So now there’s an effort to do double duty in the dental chair to protect your overall health. CBS 2′s Maurice DuBois reports.

Dental Detection: Improving your overall health

3 Surprising Reasons to Give up soda by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding

America has a drinking problem. No, not booze. I’m talking about soft drinks. According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, the average American guzzles 44.7 gallons of the sweet stuff every year. Not sure what 44.7 gallons looks like? It’s about what you’d need to fill a small kiddie pool.

But the truth is, you don’t need me to tell you that soda isn’t healthy. We all know that America’s drink of choice contributes to our country’s ever-expanding obesity problem. But, as Rodale.com writer Leah Zerbe discovered, love handles are just the beginning. Read on for her report on three shocking soda facts that will have you saying “Just water, please” from now on.

Shocking Soda Fact #1: Soda fattens up your organs

A recent Danish study revealed that drinking non-diet soda leads to dramatic increases in dangerous hard-to-detect fats. Researchers asked participants to drink either regular soda, milk containing the same amount of calories as regular soda, diet cola, or water every day for six months. The results? Total fat mass remained the same across all beverage-consuming groups, but regular-soda drinkers experienced dramatic increases in harmful hidden fats, including liver fat and skeletal fat. The regular-soda group also experienced an 11 percent increase in cholesterol compared to the other groups! And don’t think switching to diet varieties will save you from harm: Artificial sweeteners and food dyes have been linked to brain cell damage and hyperactivity, and research has shown that people who drink diet soda have a higher risk of developing diabetes.

Shocking Soda Fact #2: Soda contains flame retardants

Some popular soda brands, including Mountain Dew, use brominated vegetable oil—a toxic flame retardant—to keep the artificial flavoring from separating from the rest of the liquid. This hazardous ingredient—sometimes listed as BVO on soda and sports drinks—can cause bromide poisoning symptoms like skin lesions and memory loss, as well as nerve disorders. If that’s not a good enough reason not to “Do the Dew,” I don’t know what is.

Shocking Soda Fact #3: Drinking soda makes you a lab rat

Many American soda brands are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, a heart-harming man-made compound derived mainly from genetically engineered corn. The problem? Genetically engineered ingredients have only been in our food chain since the 1990s, and we don’t know their long-term health impacts because the corporations that developed the crops never had to test them for long-term safety. Case in point: Some recent findings suggest that genetically engineered crops are linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging, and even infertility!

Jan 24, 2012

Travelers forget everything from passports to false teeth


By Gary Stoller, USA TODAY

Updated: 11/09/2011 11:52am

Frequent business traveler Joyce Gioia forgot more than $20,000 worth of jewelry in her hotel room in Italy last year.

Luckily for Gioia, the jewelry was in a room safe, and staff at the Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora shipped the items to her home in Austin.

“I had done such a dumb thing, and I was very happy to get the jewelry back,” says Gioia, a management consultant.

Travelers annually leave millions of personally important items such as wallets, keys, cellphones and eyeglasses behind in hotels, airports, airplanes and rental cars. Fortunately for the forgetful, many belongings — including very valuable and unusual ones such as Gioia’s jewelry — are returned.

Many, however, aren’t, and they are given away or sold if their owners don’t retrieve them or their owners cannot be found.

Gioia and other travelers scold themselves for their forgetfulness, but psychologists say it’s commonplace even among the most veteran of travelers.

“When traveling, people tend to have lots on their minds, and there are often many unexpected distractions,” says David Meyer, a University of Michigan psychology professor. “The combination of too much to keep track of, limited attention for doing so and being in relatively unusual circumstances outside familiar work and home locations promote forgetting about the small stuff being carried along the way.”

USA TODAY contacted several airlines, airports, hotels and car-rental companies and, among other things, asked how many items are left behind by their customers yearly.

Southwest Airlines, which carried 88 million passengers last year, reported the largest number. The airline takes possession of up to 10,000 items a month that are left behind at airports and in planes, says spokeswoman Katie McDonald.

Books, cellphones, clothing and reading glasses are the most common items left behind, she says.

The most valuable items? A $10,000 diamond engagement ring, an NFL Super Bowl ring and professional video equipment — which all were returned to their owners.

Southwest stores items in a 4,000-square-foot area within a Dallas warehouse. Unclaimed items stay there 30 to 90 days, and the majority is then donated to the Salvation Army, McDonald says.

Most items left behind don’t contain an owner’s contact information and aren’t reported lost, she says. Also, many electronic devices are locked, making it difficult to determine who owns them.

American Airlines tries to reunite items with their owners “for several weeks,” says airline spokesman Tim Smith. And, if that cannot be done, he says, items are sold to a salvage company.

The cost of returning items to owners is “significant,” he says, much more than the income received from the salvage company. “Lost and found is a customer service — not a money maker,” Smith says.

McCarran airport in Las Vegas says about 30,000 items — an average of 82 a day — are left behind each year.

Most are left at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints and turned over to the airport, says McCarran spokeswoman Candice Seeley.

The most common forgotten items: cellphones, eyeglasses, belts, watches, wallets and other belongings that “travelers shed in preparation for screening,” Seeley says.

Most of the 15,936 items logged into the lost-and-found office at Oregon’s Portland International Airport last year also were left at TSA checkpoints, says airport spokesman Steve Johnson.

After 30 days, many unclaimed items are donated to charity, he says. Items valued at more than $100 are kept for 90 days, then auctioned at a state surplus website.

The airport employs a full-time worker to handle lost items and incurs mailing costs of $10,000 to $20,000 yearly to return items, Johnson says.

Many hotels told USA TODAY that at least one item a day is left behind by guests.

Many see more. The Hyatt Regency in Chicago reports about 7,300 items a year, or about 20 a day, are left, according to Shaheryar Adil, a manager at the hotel.

At Hyatt hotels generally, passports, credit cards, state ID cards, computers, wedding rings and other jewelry, MP3 players and cash are most often left behind, says Hyatt spokeswoman Lori Alexander.

Other hotels see other trends. Novotel last year surveyed its 31 hotels in Britain and found that more mobile phone chargers were left behind by guests than any other item.

Phone chargers apparently are easily forgotten. Matthew Humphreys, an assistant manager at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco, says he’s worked at nine Hyatt hotels and the housekeeping staff in each had a large box of chargers.

“If you are traveling and find yourself in need of a phone charger, definitely call down and ask housekeeping,” Humphreys says.

Next to chargers, Novotel found underwear was most forgotten, followed by false teeth and hearing aids, shoes and clothing, keys, toiletries, adult toys, electric toothbrushes, laptops and jewelry.

“We continue to be mystified by the random collection of items left in our rooms by guests,” says Melissa Micallef, Novotel’s marketing manager. “Our lost property departments really are treasure troves.”

Many hotels say they respect guests’ privacy and won’t return an item unless the owner asks for it. That prevents them from getting caught in such sticky situations as a spouse learning that a mate may have spent the night with someone else.

Considering that “intimate apparel” and “adult toys,” according to Adil, are some of the most unusual items left behind at the Chicago Hyatt Regency, the policy may make sense.

The Surrey hotel in New York reaches out to people who leave valuables behind, says Shan Kanagasingham, general manager of the hotel.

About 30% of the roughly 500 items left at the luxury hotel each year are returned, she says. Items are kept for three months. If they can’t be returned, they’re given to the people who found them.

The Ritz-Carlton, which only returns items requested by guests, keeps items up to 120 days, depending on value, and gives unclaimed items to the employees who found them, says Sandra Estornell, the chain’s corporate director of rooms’ development.

Many hotels charge guests for returning items because the costs of returning them can run high.

It’s easy to understand why belongings are left.

Claire Heymann, owner of the small luxury Hotel St. Germain in Dallas, says some rooms are in “such disarray” that guests don’t see an item before leaving and some items are hidden for “safekeeping” and then forgotten.

A guest once lost a $1 million earring in the courtyard during an evening cocktail reception, but it was found, Heymann says.

Among items left at her hotel: sleep masks, keys for handcuffs, boxes of live sleeping butterflies, a mannequin head, a toupee and a five-year sobriety coin from Alcoholics Anonymous left next to an empty bottle of champagne.

Hertz spokeswoman Paula Rivera says “thousands” of items are left behind in Hertz cars annually, particularly mobile phones, laptops and cameras.

Every Hertz location has a person responsible for lost items, and about 75% are returned to their owners, she says. Unclaimed items are donated to charity.

Travel disrupts a person’s habits at home or work, where a coat, keys and briefcase may regularly be placed in a particular place, says Robert Bjork, a UCLA psychology professor.

“We do things in a certain order as we depart from home or work,” Bjork says. “Those habits protect us from forgetting things, and they are disrupted by travel.”

Frequent business traveler Lori DeFurio of Jordan, N.Y., calls herself “the queen of leaving stuff behind.”

In December, she left a new winter coat and leather gloves in the overhead bin on a Southwest jet.

“I remembered five minutes after I left the airport,” says DeFurio, who works in the computer software industry. “I called the airline from the taxi and had the concierge at the hotel keep trying, but I never got it back.”

Some frequent business travelers have formulated strategies, or routines, to prevent leaving things behind.

Flight attendant Jennifer Welch of Hillsborough, Calif., says her last actions before checking out are shutting off her computer and then conducting “a sweep” of the room.

“I’ve noticed that on the occasions when I forgot items, it happened when I was tired and did things in a different order than I normally would,” she says.