Bad breath can present a problem in social and work settings, potentially leading to embarrassment and loss of confidence. While mouthwash companies advertise to get consumers to use more of their products, the truth of the matter is that bad breath can often be traced to a specific problem with health. Improving oral health is always the best solution when the right cause can be found and eliminated. In this article, we will help you understand the problem and its resolution.
Of course, there are external causes of bad breath that we all know about. Onions, garlic, fish, some spices and cheeses, coffee, alcohol, even orange juice and soda, leave their lingering effects on your breath. Smoking and smokeless tobacco products also cause bad breath. These causes are usually temporary and are handled by eliminating the sources. However, when bad breath becomes chronic, it’s time to look for another cause.
A person who does not properly clean their teeth every day could very easily develop bad breath. Food particles and other remnants of food and drink must be washed away regularly so they don’t provide encouragement for bacteria to multiply in your mouth. Be sure you are brushing your teeth for a least two full minutes (use a timer until you get used to it) twice each day and floss daily to clean out all the remainders of eating. Brushing and flossing also clear away bacteria deposits as much possible between visits to your dentist. Many people also add tongue scrapers to their routine to reduce the number of bacteria on the tongue.
When a person has braces or dentures, it may be harder to keep one’s mouth smelling sweet. Care must be taken to clean braces properly, and dentures may need repair or refitting so they don’t cause irritated spots that could become infected, causing an odor.
A person with a persistently dry mouth is creating an environment in which their mouth bacteria can thrive. Smoking, injuries to the face or jaw, and many medications like antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications, and diuretics cause a condition called xerostomia. Your mouth needs a constant bath of saliva—which actually has anti-bacterial properties—to stay healthy. When your mouth is chronically dry and bacteria proliferate, your teeth will start suffering more decay and your breath can get quite unpleasant.
Some minor health problems and some that aren’t so minor can be reflected in the odor of your breath. Sinus and respiratory infections, tonsillitis, bronchitis, sore throat and thrush (an infection of the mouth) can all sour your breath. It’s also easy to see how something like acid reflux could lead to bad breath.Chronic, serious diseases can also cause a person to experience very bad breath. Cancers, kidney or liver failure and diabetes can have this effect, as does severe malnutrition.
Your dentist is an expert on all aspects of your dental and oral health and can help you resolve your bad breath. Once you have omitted offensive foods, tobacco or alcohol as possible causes, improve your daily care of your teeth and mouth as described above. If that still doesn’t improve the situation, make an appointment to visit your dentist. Your dentist can help by checking for pockets of infection in your teeth or gums and showing you proper home care. The solution could be as simple as your learning how to brush and floss more effectively, or keeping your braces clean.
Your dentist should also check for any signs of mouth cancer and review any medications you’re taking that might contribute to this problem.
In the Rockville, Maryland and metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, visit StarBrite Dental, the office of Maryam Seifi , and let us provide the care that correctly diagnoses the cause of bad breath and helps you eliminate it. Properly identifying the underlying causes does more than just improve your bad breath—it can improve your overall health. Call us at (301) 770-1070 to schedule a visit with Dr. Seifi and start on the road to better oral health today.