Expert Tips for Combatting Bad Breath

By Jane Roots, RDH | Dental Hygienist

According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, while wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID, 34% of participants realized they had bad breath. Guess what? It wasn’t the mask. Just like breathing into cupped hands to check your breath, talking or exhaling through your mouth while wearing a mask traps air causing you to smell your own breath. Thankfully, knowing is half the battle. As we move away from mask requirements in public places, you may breathe a breath of fresh air, but let’s not forget about the the monster in your mouth.

For some, restoring fresh breath can be as easy as grabbing a mint or a piece of gum, but for those with chronic bad breath, or halitosis, the key factor in preventing it is determining the cause. From something as minor as changing your brushing habits to screening for a serious health condition, try these tips for fresher breath.

Brush and Floss

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing between your teeth once a day. Proper brushing means spending at least two minutes brushing all sides of your teeth. Divide your mouth into four sections: upper, lower, left and right and spend 30-seconds brushing the inside, outside and chewing surface of each section. Finally, give your tongue a quick brush as well. Proper brushing and flossing helps to get rid of plaque and leftover food particles that affect your dental health and cause bad breath.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

You should schedule dental visits every six months for routine cleanings and checkups. Removing plaque and calculus buildup keeps your teeth healthy and can detect oral health issues like gum disease and cavities that might be harboring stinky bacteria.

Oral Appliance Care

Be sure to follow care guidelines for cleaning and maintaining any oral appliances such a dentures, retainers, or mouth guards. Failing to properly care for these items can not only cause bad breath but can also make you sick or prevent the appliance from working properly.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping your mouth moist maintains a healthy saliva flow which is important for fresh breath. Be sure to drink plenty of water and consult your health care provider about any contributing factors for dry mouth, such as taking certain medications or any underlying health conditions.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is also a contributing factor to bad breath and can increase your risk for gum disease. Discuss quitting smoking with your healthcare provider, it might be easier than you think.

Diet

Eating a balanced diet is important for fresh breath and oral health. Check out our Mouth-Healthy Cookbook for tips and tasty recipes.

Talk to Your Health Care Provider

Diabetes, liver or kidney conditions and gastrointestinal disorders can cause chronic bad breath. If you have or suspect you might have an underlying health condition, talk to your health care provider.

Profiles in Leadership

Dr. Moe Bell
Dr. Marvin (Moe) Bell, NOAH Board of Directors

Meet NOAH Board Member Dr. Marvin (Moe) Bell

Get to know Dr. Bell, his inspiration for joining the NOAH board and what he hopes to accomplish as part of the group.

Q: When did you join the NOAH Board of Directors?

A: I joined the board in January 2022.

Q: Why are you interested in supporting community health?

A: I strongly believe that community health centers are the best way to improve equity and health outcomes in our community. I worked for NOAH as a physician and have seen firsthand the great benefit NOAH is providing to our community.

Q: What specifically about NOAH motivated you to want to get involved at this level with the organization?

A: I have a long history with NOAH, dating back to 1998 when I was the medical director helping with two school-based clinics. The very first Pap smear we did on an uninsured mother of three found an early-stage cervical cancer that was treatable, and truly saved her life. I have seen NOAH grow to help many more patients, and I hope to help NOAH going forward as I retire from patient care.

Q: What do you like about working with your fellow board members?

A: I am very new to the board, but I am already impressed by the strong commitment the board members have to community health and the wide range of expertise of the members.

Q: What do you hope to collectively accomplish during your term on the board?

A: I hope to help with the transition to fully independent status as NOAH becomes independent from HonorHealth. I also hope my experience both medically and in public health will be of use to NOAH’s leadership and other board members.

Q: In your own words, what does NOAH’s Board of Directors provide for the organization, staff, patients, and the community?

A: I would say oversight, accountability, expertise, and overall support of NOAH’s mission.

Q: What part of the community that NOAH serves matters to you the most personally?

A: I am especially concerned about the underserved members of our community who struggle to get good medical and behavioral health care. NOAH’s strong focus on social determinants of health is very important to me.

The NOAH Board of Directors is a diverse group of volunteers who contribute to the mission of transforming the health of our community. Patients from the communities we serve make up 51% of our board. Learn more about NOAH’s board of directors and how they drive the organization.

Get the Facts: Medication to Treat Opioid Addiction

Five people die from opioid overdose in Arizona every day according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Almost twice as many experience non-fatal drug overdoses. Sadly, the nationwide opioid crisis claims 136 lives per day; accounting for more than 70% of all drug abuse related deaths.  

With 1.27 million Americans now receiving medication-assisted treatment (MAT), this method has the potential to change the course of the opioid crisis. Over the past few years, community health centers, like NOAH, have seen an increase of almost 150% in patients receiving MAT for opioid use disorders, but death rates continue to rise. Help us spread the word; talk about it with your friends and family. You never know whose life you might save.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Connie Tucker answers the most common questions about NOAH’s MAT option to treat opioid use disorders.

Q: What is MAT?

A: Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medication, in combination with behavioral therapy like counseling to treat substance abuse disorders. NOAH uses MAT specifically for the treatment of the use of opioids including heroin, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.

Q: What are the symptoms of opioid use disorder?

A: Symptoms of opioid use disorder include:

  • Withdrawal (excessive sweating, shaking, feeling nervous)
  • Weight loss
  • Using medication that is not prescribed to you
  • Using medication outside of the directions given on the prescription
  • Buying street drugs to stop the cravings

Q: What type of medication does NOAH prescribe for MAT therapy?

A: Suboxone, which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone.

Q: How does it work?

A: Suboxone stops the opioid cravings and prevents the side effects of withdrawal.

Q: How long does treatment take?

A: Most patients feel better less than one week after beginning the medication. There are many factors that affect the length of treatment; some people may complete treatment in a few months where others may take a year or longer.

Q: Can I get addicted to Suboxone?

A: Addiction to Suboxone is highly unlikely. It is important that anyone on a MAT program use it as directed by your medical provider.

Q: Will Suboxone make me feel sick?

A: Not if you use it as directed by your medical provider.

Q: Do I have to see a behavioral health provider?

A: It is not necessary. You can see either a medical or behavioral health provider who has been trained to prescribe Suboxone. NOAH recommends scheduling regular appointments with a behavioral health provider in conjunction with taking Suboxone for the best long-term results.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: Suboxone is typically covered by insurance and you would just be responsible for the regular co-pay. It comes in a brand name and generic (buprenorphine and naloxone) option which is very affordable on a cash-pay plan as well.

Q: How successful is MAT and Suboxone?

A: It is very successful. Most patients feel better in one week and do not have any cravings after one month.

Q: Why does NOAH offer this treatment option to patients?

A: At NOAH, we believe that an important part of whole person care involves offering all methods of treatment to help patients with a substance use disorder in an unbiased way. MAT also provides an option for treatment for patients who are unable to commit to other formal rehab programs.  

Q: How do I know if MAT is right for me?

A: Ask a medical or behavioral health provider if MAT is right for you. Most patients feel it is time to make a change when their opioid use is taking over a lot of what they are thinking about or doing everyday.

To make an appointment to discuss substance abuse disorder questions, or to see if MAT is right for you or a loved one, request an appointment online or by calling 480-882-4545.

It’s Time to Talk About Colorectal Cancer Screenings

If you are over 45 then it’s time to talk to your doctor about Colorectal Cancer Screenings. We know it isn’t anyone’s favorite topic, but it is easier than you may think to get screened.

A few Colorectal Cancer facts to know before we talk about screenings:

  1. Colorectal Cancer is colon cancer and rectal cancer combined because they both begin in the large intestine.
  2. If caught early, around 90% of people survive this cancer diagnosis. Catching it early is critical!
  3. More men than women are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year, but not by much. So everyone should be screened.
  4. It might make you a little uncomfortable to talk about, but discussing Colorectal Cancer and screenings saves many lives!

At NOAH, It’s Our Job to Save Your Butt!

All jokes aside, our providers WANT to talk to you about Colorectal Cancer and get you screened.

NOAH is here to discuss colon and rectal cancers with you. We want all of our patients to know the risks, the signs and symptoms (or lack of!), how easy it is to get screened, and that by talking about this can save lives! We have more details about Colorectal Cancer risks, ways to reduce your risks, and a few more details about screenings here. Our NOAH Nutrition Services team also put together some tips on ways to reduce your risk for Colorectal Cancer with food!

As you saw in the video, there are options for screenings and we will help you find the one that is right for you. Request an appointment with a NOAH provider today online or by calling 480-882-4545.

Colorectal Cancer Risk, Prevention, and Detection

Colorectal Cancer Fact A

March is colorectal cancer awareness month and “It’s Our Job to Save Your Butt!” In all seriousness though, colorectal cancer is the fourth most diagnosed form of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society the overall lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 23 (4.3%) for men and 1 in 25 (4%) for women. The good news is that if caught early nine out of ten people diagnosed will survive.

Risk Factors for Colorectal Cancer

  • Age 50 or older
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Certain types of diets
  • Family history of colorectal cancer
  • Personal history of inflammatory intestinal conditions
Colorectal Cancer Fact B

How to Prevent Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer Screening

NOAH providers recommend people at average risk for colorectal cancer begin regular screenings at age 50. How often you get screened depends on the type of test you get.

Here’s a look at how the different options at NOAH stack up:

TEST NAMETYPEHOW IT WORKSPREPHOW OFTENCOST
VARIES BY INSURANCE

(Often Covered in Full)
Fecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)Stool sample collected at home and mailed to a lab for testingLooks for blood in the stool.NoneEvery yearLeast expensive
Cologuard TestStool sample collected at home and mailed to a lab for testingLike the FIT test, looks for blood in the stool but also checks DNA in the stool for abnormal (possibly cancerous) cells NoneEvery 3 yearsMore expensive than FIT test but less expensive than a colonoscopy
ColonoscopyVisual screening performed in a hospital or specialized clinicChecks for polyps (small growths in the colon or rectum) that may be cancerous or pre-cancerousRequires bowel prep before the procedure and anesthesia duringEvery 10 yearsMost expensive

Talk with your provider about which type of test is right for you. Then, be sure to follow through with your testing, understand your results and even schedule a reminder on the calendar for your next screening.   

Questions? Ask away, we don’t mind because it’s our job to save you’re butt! Request an appointment today!

Fiber and Your Colorectal Health

By Stephanie Olzinski, MS, RDN |Nutrition Supervisor

Fiber is an important nutrient. But why is it important and what can we eat for more fiber are common questions.

Simply put, fiber helps keep us ‘regular’ going to the bathroom more frequently. That is a good thing! When we are regular, stool spends less time in the large intestine. That means less chance of harmful bacteria or carcinogens (substance capable of causing cancer) building up. In a study, The American Medical Association found that when 1,500 patients with early-stage colorectal cancer began eating more fiber-rich foods, it reduced their risk of dying from colorectal cancer by 20%!

Good Sources of Fiber

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Oats or oatmeal
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains or whole wheat products like wheat bread and wheat pasta

A good tip for determining what foods are a good source of fiber is to read the nutrition facts label on products. Grab a package of bread at your house or the next time you’re in the grocery store – if the line for fiber says one serving contains at least three grams of fiber per serving, then it’s a good source of fiber. You can also look for 100% whole wheat as the first ingredient. 

Daily Fiber Intake

Fiber recommendations are different for everyone depending on age and any other medical conditions. In general, achieving an intake of over 20 grams of fiber per day is recommended. Start by trying to add just one extra fiber source daily, like switching to oatmeal for breakfast or adding a larger serving of vegetables at dinner. Not only does a gradual approach make it easier to adapt to new eating habits over time, introducing fiber into your diet slowly prevents bloating and cramping sometimes associated with increased fiber intake.

Kickstart your new eating habits with these tasty, fiber-rich, recipes:

Pozole Verde with Chicken - A Good Source of Fiber

Pozole Verde with Chicken

Hominy is a product of corn and is considered a grain. Low in fat and high in fiber, it has a similar taste to corn though the texture is much different. A main staple in Mexican cuisine, hominy is highlighted in this flavorful soup. We’ve taken it to another level by using chicken instead of the traditional pork shoulder. Also, add in those veggies for an added nutrition benefit and this hearty soup will be a crowd pleaser on any table.

Summer Black Bean and Rice Salad - Good Source of Fiber

Summer Black Bean and Rice Salad

This cold salad is perfect for a warm spring day! It’s packed with protein, high in fiber and delicious flavors that will rock your taste buds. Make this dish ahead of time and keep refrigerated until it’s time to serve! Make this recipe even more fiber-rich by choosing brown rice over white.

Avo Mango Smoothie - Good Source of Fiber

Avo-Mango Smoothie

The bright flavors of the mango and the creaminess of the avocado and banana is a perfect match. Plus you get some amazing health benefits from this smoothie that make it a yummy treat for anyone!

Drink Plenty of Water

Speaking of helping things move through your digestive tract, it is extremely important to drink more water once you start increasing your fiber intake. Constipation can be an unwelcome side-effect of consuming fiber without being sufficiently hydrated. Most people require a minimum of 64 ounces of water per day. You can use the same gradual method here and start by drinking one extra glass or bottle of water each day. It can also be fun to get a special water bottle for yourself, or set a reminder on your phone to remember to take a few extra sips of water throughout the day.

While making just a couple adjustments to your diet can impact your colorectal (and overall) health; there are many other factors like age, family history… that contribute to your risk of colorectal cancer. The next step after prevention is detection. If you are age 50 or older and at average risk for colorectal cancer, NOAH providers recommend you begin your regular screenings now.  It just might save your butt.