Do you notice that regardless of what you do, that you seem to always have bad breath? Or, maybe you notice that your spouse or partner has bad breath? While many people might just
avoid eating certain foods, like garlic or onion, or use more mouthwash throughout the day, there could be a bigger issue at hand, and one that could be costing them their health.
Bad breath is directly related to periodontal disease, which is also connected to systemic health. After all, what enters your body through the mouth affects your organs and operating systems.
It’s important to recognize and treat bad breath because it could be a sign of a more serious mouth disease or an illness in another part of your body, including gastric reflux, diabetes,
kidney disease and liver disease. So if something stinks, it’s a great idea to get it checked out. Here’s why.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, that can be causes by certain foods, health conditions and
habits. Main causes include:
• Food: After you chew food, the breakdown of the food particles in and around your teeth and gums can increase bacteria and cause a bad odor.
• Poor dental hygiene: If you don’t brush and floss daily, plaque forms on your teeth. If it’s not regularly removed, this can cause irritation to your gums and create plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums, which is known as periodontal disease.
• Tobacco products: Not only does smoking create an unpleasant odor, smokers and tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease.
• Dry mouth: Saliva helps to cleanse the mouth and wash away bacteria throughout the day, which is why staying hydrated is so important! If you suffer from dry mouth, possibly due to certain medications or nighttime habits, your mouth isn’t being rinsed as much as it could be.
• Other causes: Certain diseases, cancers and metabolic disorders, as well as chronic reflux, can cause bad breath as a result of the chemicals they products.
In many cases, you can improve bad breath with consistent proper dental hygiene. However, if these at-home steps don’t solve the issue, it’s a good idea to see your dentist to ensure that a more serious condition isn’t causing your bad breath.
How will a dentist help?
Your hygienist and dentist will be able to not only be able to confirm your bad breath, but they will review your complete medical history with you and note any changes in your lifestyle, overall health and any new medications you might be taking. Additionally, your dental team is highly trained in recognizing and diagnosing gum disease. Gums that are red, swollen and bleed easily are a sure sign of inflammation, which is most often causes by a buildup of plaque. Untreated gum disease can lead to periodontitis, which not only damages gum tissue but can lead to tooth and bone loss around the teeth. Without managing this, long-term issues could lead to loose or failing teeth, which is something your dental team will want to help you avoid.
How can bad breath be reduced or treated?
The first step in managing your bad breath is to practice thorough and regular at-home hygiene techniques! To reduce or prevent bad breath, it’s important to:
• Brush and floss regularly, and brush your tongue: Be sure to brush at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and make sure to include brushing your tongue in the mix! Flossing at least once a day, and making sure to floss between each tooth, will help to rid the mouth of any leftover food particles that brushing missed. It’s also helpful to brush after lunch, but if that’s not a possibility, make sure to rinse your mouth with water.
• Avoid dry mouth: Drink plenty of water (and not sugary drinks!) and avoid tobacco. There are also great sugar-free gum options that help promote saliva, and are a great option if you don’t have the opportunity to brush your teeth after you eat.
• Clean dentures or dental appliances: If you have dentures or use retainers, it’s important to brush them as you would your regular teeth.
• Schedule regular visits with your dental team: Not only will your hygienist be able to professional clean and floss your teeth, he/she and your dentist will be able to monitor any changes in your oral care, which could include any issues with your gums and teeth. Most people visit their dentist twice a year, but additional cleanings could prove to be helpful in the long-term if you do find you’re dealing with bad breath.
Overall, bad breath can be managed with the help of your dental team! They will ask you questions such as how long you’ve experienced bad breath, what medications you might be taking, do you have allergies or health conditions, etc. to help determine the cause of your bad breath and how best to treat it. Our team of general and specialty dentists is happy to help you get your breath under control, so please reach out to make an appointment by calling/texting (561) 303-2413 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.