Anyone can be affected by bad breath, also known as halitosis. It can be embarrassing but the good news is that it is usually treatable! Let’s get down to the facts on bad breath.
Don’t ignore bad breath
There are many possible causes of bad breath. Among them are tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, dry mouth (xerostemia), tobacco use, certain foods and illness. It can also be a side effect of some types of medications. If you think you have bad breath please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us so we can make sure that it isn’t being caused by tooth decay, periodontal disease, or a medical condition that should be treated by a physician.
Where does bad breath come from?
Bad breath usually begins as bacteria break down food debris in your mouth. The bacteria that cause bad breath require an oxygen-free environment to survive, so they are usually found between your teeth and within the grooves of your tongue. As the bacteria break down the food debris they release volatile sulfur compounds. These compounds produce the bad breath.
How to avoid bad breath
The key to avoiding bad breath is eliminating it at its source. The first thing you can do is to come see us for a professional cleaning so that we can thoroughly remove the plaque and tartar where odor-causing bacteria thrive. We will show you how to brush and floss properly, and we can also provide you with a tongue scraper and special antibacterial rinse if necessary.
Once you have had a professional cleaning, use these tips to keep bad breath at bay:
- Floss between teeth and then brush your teeth, gums and tongue after each meal. You can make this easier by keeping floss, toothpaste and a toothbrush in your desk, purse or your car.
- If you can’t floss and brush, rinse your mouth after eating to dislodge food and moisten your mouth. Use a fluoride rinse, a mouthwash that doesn’t contain alcohol, or water.
- Make sure you drink lots of liquids. Water is preferable because it doesn’t have sugar and other ingredients that could worsen the problem. It is important to keep your mouth moist.
- If your mouth dries out, you can chew sugarless gum to stimulate the production of saliva.
- If you wear dentures or a retainer, clean them frequently and periodically soak them in an antiseptic solution.
- Come in for a professional cleaning at least twice a year.
If your bad breath persists despite following these tips, be sure to let us know. Remember, you don’t have to live with bad breath!