Bad breath is a serious problem. Not only does it cause embarrassment or even impairment of social interactions; it could indicate an underlying health condition. If you notice persistent bad breath (or someone tells you of it), you should not ignore it.
Here are some important things to know about bad breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath is always the result of bacteria. Some bacteria produce foul-smelling gases that easily come out of the mouth during breathing and speaking. Most (more than ninety percent) of bad breath originates in the mouth. That means the first place to investigate for problems is the oral cavity.
Bacteria in dental plaque are often the source of bad breath. The more plaque present on your teeth and in the crevices of the tongue, the more likely you are to suffer from bad breath.
Bacteria also exist in large quantities in areas of dental disease. Untreated cavities and gum disease are the most common cause of severe bad breath.
Outside of the mouth, bad breath can come from problems in the sinuses and nasal passages, as well as the lungs and gastrointestinal tract. Because the mouth is the most likely source of the bad breath, we must rule out any potential sources of bacteria in the oral cavity before moving on to exploring the airways and GI tract.
How Can I Manage Bad Breath?
The first, and most important, task for someone fighting bad breath is to effectively and consistently remove dental plaque. This means that you must work on perfecting your oral hygiene home care routine.
Make sure that you are brushing your teeth twice daily using a technique that physically brushes plaque away from the teeth and gums. Flossing is essential to removing dental plaque from the areas between two teeth, so you must not skip it. Floss every night before bed.
If you have areas of food collection, talk to your dentist about ways to stop this issue. Collecting food between the teeth at every meal increases the likelihood of bad breath.
Saliva is also an important aspect of oral health, and those who suffer from a dry mouth tend to have bad breath. If your mouth is dry, you must counteract it by drinking plenty of water, using salivary replacement products to moisturize the mouth, and using salivary stimulants to help your body make more saliva.
Many products claim to “cure” bad breath, but some can actually worsen the problem if they contain alcohol and cause dryness in the mouth. Avoid using harsh chemicals and overly strong mouthrinses. You can actually kill good bacteria in your mouth by doing so.
What Should I Do If I Have Tried All of These Things?
If all of your home care is on point, and you have tried a variety of products, and you still suffer from bad breath, it is time to see the dentist. Your dentist will rule out active dental disease and recommend the necessary treatment if any is present. No level of home care can overcome the bad breath caused by a large cavity or deep gum disease.
Your dentist will also refer you to the right specialist once all dental disease is ruled out. You may need to see an ENT to address problems in the nasal passages, sinuses or tonsil region. We may also refer you to a GI specialist if stomach infections are a potential problem.
No matter what, we can help you obtain the right treatment to help you overcome the battle with bad breath!
More Questions about Bad Breath?
Call Prosper Family Dentistry at 972-347-1145 to schedule a visit with one of our skilled dentists or dental hygienists. We can assess your situation and determine the underlying cause of your bad breath. We work closely with ENT’s and family care physicians to help our patients overcome any other health issues that can contribute to the problem of bad breath.