Most people are aware when they have bad breath (halitosis). If you have been told that you have bad breath, ask your dentist if he or she can help you identify the cause.
How can I reduce my bad breath?
If it is found that your bad breath is due to an oral condition, your dentist may be able to develop a treatment plan to help eliminate it. The most common reasons for bad breath are:
- Food: Specific spices and foods such as garlic contribute to breath odor. Here is how the food you eat can cause breath odor. The food you eat is absorbed into your bloodstream and is transferred to your lungs. Your lungs process the air and this air absorbs the odor of chemicals in the food from the blood and carries it out as you exhale. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash are only temporarily solutions. The odor will continue until the body eliminates the food.
- Irregular brushing and flossing: Without daily flossing and brushing, food particles may stay inside your mouth, causing bacteria to grow. This will cause bad breath. Food particles typically collect between your teeth, on your tongue and around your gums. As these particles rot they create an unpleasant odor in your mouth.
- Dry mouth (Xerostomia): Dry mouth occurs when the flow of saliva decreases for some reason in your mouth. Most people are unaware that saliva actually cleans the mouth and remove particles that cause odor. Reasons for dry mouth include taking medications, problems with salivary gland (see our oral cancer screening issue,) or breathing through the mouth continuously. Talk to your dentist, if you are unsure if you suffer from dry mouth. Your Absolute Dental dentist may suggest various alternatives including an artificial saliva, using sugarless candy, or increasing your fluid intake.
- Tobacco: Not only does tobacco can cause bad breath, it is harmful on your mouth and body in multiple ways including increased chance of oral cancer. Talk to your dentist for tips ceasing completely the use of tobacco.
- Medical disorder: Bad breath may also be caused by a local infection in your respiratory tract, postnasal drip, chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, he or she may refer you to a doctor or a specialist to further investigate the cause of bad breath.
A few final tips to maintain good oral health and avoid bad breath: Schedule regular Absolute Dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup. Also brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Finally, brush your tongue, which many people do not do on a regular basis and floss once a day to clean between your teeth.
Truth about mouthwash: Contrary to popular belief, mouthwash liquids are cosmetic and do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath. If you find yourself using a breath freshener regularly to hide unpleasant mouth odor, talk to your Absolute Dental dentist. He or she may recommend special types of mouth rinse to prevent tooth decay or decrease plaque build-up.