Merion Village Dental Blog

Handling Halitosis – The Causes and Cures of Bad Breath

November 03, 2015

Merion Village

Categories: General Dentistry

Bad breath can have several negative effects on your quality of life. Not only can it be embarrassing, but it can also be a warning sign of more serious health issues.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are brushing and flossing and still have bad breath, you may have an undetected cavity or gum disease. Please contact our office for a private consultation.

But understanding the cause of bad breath, and how to fight it, can quickly get your mouth feeling as good as new. Here are a few of the sources of halitosis and how we can help you get rid of it.

Poor Hygiene

We all know that skipping regular brushing and flossing is hard on our teeth, but it is also the main cause of bad breath. When food particles remain on the surfaces of your mouth, the bacteria that then form carries a bad odor.

Bacteria can get trapped on the surface of your tongue, between teeth, at the gum line, and on dentures as well.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, can also cause potent breath. Since one of the saliva’s purposes is to clean your mouth, a decrease in saliva means particles and bacteria can be left behind.

Aside from dry mouth syndrome, this can also be caused by certain medications, drinking alcohol or smoking, and even snoring. Sleeping with your mouth open also tends to dry out the mouth.

Tobacco Use

Not limited to smoking, any use of tobacco can lead to bad breath. Oral tobacco can leave particles on the mouth’s surface just like cigarettes. Also, the scent of cigarette smoke can stay in the lungs for several hours, making the breath stale.

Tobacco also dries out the palate and contributes to tooth decay and gum disease, again, causing unpleasant breath.

Periodontal Disease

Also called gum disease, periodontal disease can have serious health consequences, including the loss of teeth. Bad breath can be an early sign of this disease.

Bacteria in plaque build up in the early stages of gum disease, resulting in odorous breath. The condition can have a number of causes, but if left untreated, the small spaces between teeth and gums can become infected. Toxins then break down bone and connective tissue, leading to tooth loss.

How to Freshen Your Breath

Bad breath does not have to be permanent. There are a number of things you can do to keep your mouth smelling fresh.

Good oral hygiene is the most obvious method to fight bad breath. Brushing twice daily (along with your tongue) with fluoride toothpaste followed by flossing will keep the bacteria in your mouth to a minimum.

Mouthwashes that contain cetylpyridinium chloride can also cut down the smells of halitosis.

Drinking plenty of water will also promote saliva production and remove particles from the surfaces of your mouth. To keep that saliva flowing, you can also chew sugarless gum.

Obviously, if you use tobacco, quitting will go a long way to improving your breath.

How We Can Help

And finally, the most important way to deal with bad breath is a regular visit to the dentist. Along with regular oral exams and thorough teeth cleanings, we offer a comprehensive periodontal therapy program to treat the early symptoms of gum disease. We diagnose periodontal disease through radiographs and clinical exams, create custom treatment plans, and then clean away calcified bacteria.

Bad breath can be embarrassing, and it can be an indicator of serious health problems. However, it does not have to control your life. Knowing its causes and how to deal with them can get your breath back to smelling sweet. Scheduling your appointment is easy. Call us today!

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