Bad breath, or halitosis, can be unpleasant and embarrassing. It can have many causes, including eating certain foods, poor oral hygiene, dental appliances, and medical conditions. In many cases, doing a better job of brushing and flossing can help, but sometimes you need to take extra steps to deal with the problem.
Possible Causes of Bad Breath
Bad breath is often caused by eating certain foods with strong odors, such as onions and garlic. Food begins to be broken down in the mouth. Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash can mask the odor temporarily, but the food will need to pass through the body before the smell will go away completely.
Poor oral hygiene can also contribute to halitosis. Not brushing and flossing well can leave food particles in the mouth. Bacteria can grow on the teeth, gums, and tongue and cause bad breath. Using an antibacterial mouth rinse can help.
Dental appliances can become breeding grounds for bacteria. Not thoroughly cleaning dental appliances can lead to bad breath. Dentures need to be cleaned daily to remove food particles and bacteria. Mouth guards should be cleaned after each use.
Smoking and chewing tobacco can cause bad breath. They can cause other oral health problems, including stained teeth and irritated gums.
If you have tried brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial mouthwash but you still have bad breath, you could have a more serious dental condition. Gum disease is a frequent cause of persistent bad breath. When plaque builds up on teeth, it can irritate the gums and cause bad breath. Cavities can also contribute to bad breath and need to be treated promptly.
Some medical conditions can cause bad breath. These include bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, post-nasal drip, acid reflux, diabetes, and liver and kidney problems. You might also have a medical condition that is causing dry mouth and leading to bad breath. Dry mouth can be caused by a problem with the salivary glands, or it could be a side effect of a medication you take to treat another condition.
How to Treat Bad Breath
If you have bad breath, work on improving your oral hygiene. You should brush for two minutes twice a day and floss once a day. If you use an oral appliance, clean it thoroughly every day.
You should also see your dentist for an exam and cleaning. He or she will be able to see if you have any signs of gum disease or tooth decay and recommend the appropriate treatment. If your bad breath is not caused by a dental problem, your dentist may refer you to a doctor to look for a medical cause. If you are concerned about bad breath or due for an exam and cleaning, schedule an appointment at Fried Dentistry in Wallingford, Connecticut today.