The Causes of Bad Breath (Halitosis) and Your Treatment Options
By Stephen Rogers on May 07, 2014
Undergoing advanced dental care means that you have a smile that looks great and is healthy as well. We combine restorative and cosmetic dentistry at our practice to enhance the health and beauty of patients' smiles. We also do our best to address issues such as dry mouth, jaw joint problems, and even bad breath.
Bad breath is rather misunderstood by many people, so we'd like to take this opportunity to focus on what causes it to occur and how it can be effectively addressed.
About Bad Breath
Also referred to as halitosis, bad breath refers to unpleasant odors that emanate from the mouth. As you are about to learn, these smells may stem from the mouth itself or they may be the result of another health matter.
The Most Common Cause of Bad Breath
The most common cause of bad breath is oral bacteria that naturally occurs in the mouth. This is the same bacteria that causes gum disease and tooth decay to occur. The bacteria feeds on food particles, and in doing so creates foul-smelling odors. Given this, bad breath is a common symptom of tooth decay and/or gum disease.
Some other substances and situations that may contribute to or exacerbate bad breath include the following:
- Chewing tobacco
- Alcohol consumption
- Dry mouth
- Certain medications
- Certain foods (e.g., onions, garlic)
Other Causes of Bad Breath to Consider
Bad breath is not only caused by oral bacteria. It may also be the symptom of a serious health issue of some kind. Bad breath has been noted as a symptom of the following health problems:
- Respiratory infections
- Sinus infections
- Tonsil problems
- Problems with the esophagus
- Issues with the digestive tract
- Liver problems
Bad Breath Prevention Tips
One of the best ways to prevent bad breath is to brush your teeth and floss after every meal. You should at least be brushing twice a day and flossing every night to ensure good dental health.
Oral bacteria sometimes gathers on the tongue and the palate. Be sure to clean both these places to help remove oral bacteria. With regard to the tongue, a tongue scraper is most ideal for removing this oral bacteria comfortably.
Hydration is also important to consider. Be sure to drink water throughout the day. This will keep your mouth moist and it will also remove any food particles that are caught between your teeth.
A good way to mask bad breath in social situations is to use chewing gum or breath mints. It's ideal to use gums and mints that are sugar-free to prevent potential tooth decay.
Treatment Options for Bad Breath
Advanced restorative dentistry treatments are required when general dental care is not enough, and this applies to major tooth decay as well as bad breath. If the bad breath is a byproduct of gum disease, for instance, special rinses may be used to help address the infection of the soft tissues of the mouth and help control the bad breath.
Your dentist will carefully assess your situation and determine the best option to address your chronic bad breath and manage it for years down the road.
Medical Treatment for Conditions That Cause Bad Breath
If you notice persistent bad breath that does not respond to good dental care, it's important that you meet with your physician to discuss your general health. Remember, bad breath may be the sign of a much more serious health issue. Be safe and be sensible with regard to your health and wellness.
Learn More About General Dental Care Treatment
If you would like to learn more about bad breath treatments and many other matters that are related to your dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our Massapequa cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today. The entire team here looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve optimal dental health and wellness through effective treatment.
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