Bad Breath?

Bad Breath?

Bad Breath isn’t something we want to talk about, but what are some common causes for it?

If you or someone you love suffer from chronic, severe bad breath, also known as halitosis, it’s important to determine the cause so that it can be effectively treated and so that your oral health will improve.

Halitosis has many causes, including the following:

Foods you eat –  We all know that foods like garlic can contribute to bad breath but this should only be temporary. Once they are absorbed into the bloodstream, the smell is expelled through the breath.  The odor remains until the body processes the food.  Other foods that can cause temporary bad breath are: onions, coffee and alcohol which create a favorable environment for bacteria to grow.  Some odor causing foods vary from person to person.

Tobacco use.  Your bad breath may be due to other causes, too, but tobacco use is a guarantee of bad breath. Quitting the smoking habit can dramatically decrease the likelihood of having bad breath.  If you are ready to quit, ask your doctor or dentist for advice and support.

Dry mouth.  Some medications cause reduction of saliva which can cause dry mouth.  In this case there isn’t enough saliva to wash away excess food particles and bacteria, which can cause an unpleasant smell if they build up on the teeth.  Some other causes of dry mouth are aging and certain health conditions.

Infections. Bad breath that seems to have no other cause may indicate an infection elsewhere in the body. If you have chronic bad breath and your dentist rules out any oral problems, see your doctor for an evaluation. Bad breath can be a sign of a range of conditions including respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis or bronchitis, diabetes, or liver and kidney problems, so it’s important not to ignore the problem.

How to improve bad breath

The best way to help bad breath is to follow a thorough oral care routine including twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing to remove the food particles and bacteria that can cause halitosis. Mouthwashes only improve bad breath for the short term, and if you have a chronic problem, your dentist may suggest an antimicrobial rinse to help keep bacteria at bay.

Other halitosis fighters are:

Water – Water helps flush from the mouth the bits of food bacteria feed upon. Drinking water promotes the production of saliva, which acts as a constant cleansing agent and dissolves odor-causing substances in food and drink.

Sugarless gum – Chewing gum loosens food from the teeth, gums, and tongue and fosters saliva production. Studies have shown that sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol is effective for fighting bad breath because the sweetener inhibits bacterial growth in the mouth.

Here’s to better oral health and better breath!

Dr. Carlo Arredondo

“It’s never too late to invest in your oral health!”


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