Friday, June 23, 2017

Bad, Bad Breath

Bad breath (or halitosis) is a condition that happens to everyone at one time or another. In this note, we’ll hit on some common causes and how to fix them.
Home Care
As your hygienist will tell you, it’s good to brush your teeth two to three times a day and floss at least once a day. Without a strong homecare routine, little food particles will stay between your teeth, allowing bacteria to grow. All that bacteria can affect how your breath smells, so be sure to brush and floss daily!
There are some obvious food choices that negatively affect your breath. Garlic, onion, and spicy foods are a few offenders. While the foods you eat only have a temporary effect on your breath, digestive issues could cause a long-term halitosis problem.
Tobacco Use
Another obvious cause, smoking cigars or cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and vaping negatively affect your breath (as well as a host of other things). If you’re looking for motivation to kick the habit, we can assure you that quitting tobacco will vastly improve your breath (and your oral health...and your overall health...).
Dry Mouth
Saliva is a natural cleaning agent. It helps to flush out food particles from between your teeth. When little bits of food get stuck and start to rot, an odor will be evident every time you exhale. Dry mouth (or “xerostomia” for you language geeks out there) can be a halitosis factor.
Oral Health Issues
Gum disease, tooth decay, or an abscess (infection) can contribute to bad breath. The bacteria that causes such conditions is the same bacteria we talked about earlier. It’s important to address issues when they are small before they start causing symptoms such as halitosis. It’s also easier and cheaper to fix the smaller issues, so please be sure to complete any outstanding treatment plans you may have.
Medical Conditions
If you notice a problem with bad breath that has popped up suddenly or without explanation, the halitosis may be a symptom of a larger medical problem. Diabetes, eating disorders, kidney failure, and other medical issues can all cause bad breath. We don’t mean to scare you, but if a case of bad breath isn’t caused by one of the above reasons, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.
If you want a temporary solution, you can try over-the-counter aids such as chewing gum, breath strips, or rinses. (For example, if you go out to dinner and have buffalo wings, a piece of cinnamon gum might be a quick fix.) If you experience chronic bad breath, please schedule a consultation with your dentist. The dentist should be able to discern the cause. As always, if you have any questions, please give us a call.