Evidence suggests that bad breath, also called halitosis, affects approximately 25% of people. It is, in fact, one of the most common reasons why people do dental visits and oral care.
Many times, people do not notice that they have foul breath because they have become accustomed to their own scent. This may cause embarrassment. Learn the possible causes of bad breath, how your dentist can help treat it, as well as prevention tips.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Identifying the cause of your bad breath is the first step to treating it.
Bad breath can happen to anyone because many forms of bacteria live in the oral cavity. Your mouth serves as a perfect breeding ground for their growth. Every time you eat, they feed off the food particles left in your mouth. If not cleaned immediately, it leaves a foul-smelling waste behind.
Our mouth produces saliva that should naturally clean off any debris. If your mouth dries up frequently, it may cause halitosis. Some medications can cause a dry mouth.
Gum disease and poor oral hygiene can cause bad breath. If you do not brush or regularly floss, food particles and other debris may accumulate, causing the formation of plaque. This may irritate your gums and cause tooth decay and bad mouth odors.
Tobacco products create a certain mouth odor, and they can stain teeth and increase your risk of serious health problems. Smoking also predisposes you to gum disease, which can cause halitosis.
Certain medical conditions like cancer, liver failure, and other metabolic problems can cause halitosis. Gastrointestinal problems like GERD also produce foul breath because of the regular reflux of stomach acids.
How Do You Get Rid of Bad Breath?
Since bad breath is almost always caused by a dental or oral problem, visiting your dentist regularly can help treat the condition. Here’s how your dentist can help you bring back your confident smile.
1. Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue. It starts with gingivitis, which is very much treatable. However, if ignored and not treated properly, this can cause the formation of small pockets around your teeth. Small pockets are perfect craters for bacteria and food particles. They are hard to clean without professional help. Visiting your dentist will help diagnose gum disease and treat it.
2. Removal of Tartar and Calculus
If it has been a while since your last dental cleaning, it is time to visit your dentist for one. Professional cleaning works best in removing hardened plaque and calculus from your teeth. It helps prevent problems like tooth decay and gingivitis, which are common causes of bad breath.
3. Replacement of Old Restorations
In some cases, halitosis is caused by older restorations. An old dental crown or bridge can start to loosen, causing bacteria to develop underneath. They will start to produce odors that are impossible to remove with simple brushing and soaking. Have your dental restorations checked regularly. Opt for a replacement if necessary.
4. Tooth Decay Treatment
Tooth decay can cause halitosis, but it can be easily remedied by regular dental visits. Dental fillings can help remove tooth decay. In severe cases, a root canal may be necessary if the damage has already reached the pulp or nerve of the tooth. A severely decayed tooth requires extraction.
Visit your dentist regularly for an oral examination. He or she will create a specific treatment plan to address tooth decay and other oral needs.
5. Oral Cancer Screening
Though rare, oral cancer can cause persistent foul mouth odors. Aside from bad breath, oral cancer is often accompanied by lesions and lumps in the mouth, constant oral pain, and tongue numbness.
Regular dental visits can help check for signs of oral cancer. If the symptoms are detected early, you can prevent it from progressing.
How Do You Prevent Bad Breath?
Poor oral hygiene and an unhealthy lifestyle can easily affect how your breath smells. Aside from regular dental visits, learn how to get rid of bad breath at home via any of the following recommendations:
Brush and Floss Regularly
Brush your teeth twice daily, preferably after meals. Couple it with flossing to help remove food particles between teeth.
Clean Your Tongue
Do not forget to clean your tongue when brushing. You will notice a white coating when you stick your tongue out. Scrape it off using your toothbrush to prevent halitosis.
Mouthwash can help neutralize or kill bacteria, temporarily masking bad breath. Choose a mouthwash with chlorhexidine, triclosan, and zinc chloride. These ingredients have been clinically proven to reduce halitosis.
Giving up nicotine is beneficial to your health. Aside from preventing mouth odors, you are also reducing your risk of lung diseases and cancer.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Food and drinks with high sugar content can promote the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Cutting down on these foods can help to stave off halitosis.
If you are concerned about your breath and overall oral health, make a point to visit a dentist regularly. Have your teeth checked for tooth decay, dry mouth, gum disease, and other dental issues that may cause bad breath. Book an appointment with Sunrise Dentistry now. Call us at (970) 247-3303.