Bad breath, known as halitosis, is a common oral-related problem that affects millions of people. Unfortunately, having bad breath can affect your self-esteem and confidence. You may find that you avoid talking to people or laughing because of your breath. While you can chew mints and gum to help with bad breath, many underlying causes need to be addressed to actually get rid of the problem altogether. Here’s how visiting your dentist can help in preventing and getting rid of bad breath so that you can feel confident in your smile.
1. Treat Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, more commonly referred to as gum disease, is an infection of the gum tissue. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, which is completely treatable and reversible. If gingivitis is ignored and allowed to get worse, the infection causes small pockets to form around the teeth. These small pockets act as craters for bacteria, food particles and odors to reside, and it is difficult to clean in these areas without professional care. This can result in chronic bad breath that is difficult to treat on your own. The benefit of visiting your dentist is that they won’t just help in diagnosing gum disease, but they can help in treating it.
2. Remove Calculus and Tartar Buildup
If it’s been a while since your last routine dental cleaning, it’s time to visit the dentist to have one done. Professional dental cleanings work by removing hardened plaque and calculus from your teeth. Even with the best dental techniques and tools, plaque can harden on different surfaces of the teeth and is impossible to remove without the help of a hygienist. This hardened plaque and calculus not only causes bad breath, but it can create problems with gingivitis and even tooth decay.
3. Replace Old Restorations or Appliances
In some cases, the cause of your bad breath involves older restorations or appliances. An older bridge or dental crown can begin to loosen, causing bacteria and odors to reside underneath the restoration. Old dentures or partials may begin to have odors that are impossible to remove with soaking and cleaning alone. Most dental restorations are not meant to last a lifetime, so having them replaced regularly can benefit your oral health. Your dentist can check for loose restorations and replace older appliances.
4. Improve Poor Oral Hygiene Habits
Poor oral hygiene habits can easily affect how your breath smells. In fact, one of the most common causes of bad breath involves not flossing. Bacteria and food particles can get stuck between teeth, causing severe bad breath and even tooth decay. Your dentist can help with this particular problem by offering advice on how to better care for your teeth. They can provide product recommendations like special toothbrushes, flossing devices, kinds of toothpaste and mouthwashes to help clear away bacteria and freshen your breath. With a simple oral examination, your dentist can help in determining if your teeth are as clean as they should be and what measures you can take to improve the quality of your oral health.
5. Treatments for Tooth Decay
Decay can cause bad breath but can be remedied with a simple oral exam and filling. The goal is to remove the decay from the tooth and replace it with a dental filling. In some cases, a root canal is necessary if the decay has been allowed to reach the inner pulp, or nerve, of the tooth. Teeth that have broken off and have become severely decayed may need to be extracted. Your dentist can examine your teeth and create a treatment plan specific to your needs. By taking care of broken, decayed teeth, it can have a significant impact on improving your breath.
6. Screen for Oral Cancer
While less common, oral cancer can cause persistent bad breath. There are many other marked signs of oral cancer, like lesions and lumps within the mouth as well as constant oral pain and tongue numbness. However, a dental exam can help in checking for signs of oral cancer. If clinical symptoms are detected, you can receive treatment early to help prevent cancer from progressing. It is important to note that most cases of bad breath are not oral cancer-related and are typically caused by another problem like gum disease, poor oral hygiene habits or tooth decay.
Benefits of Seeing a Dentist Regularly
Your dentist is responsible for providing quality dental care in a calm, inviting environment. It is crucial that you keep your bi-annual appointments to keep up with your dental health. Your bi-annual appointment will involve a professional dental cleaning to remove hardened plaque and calculus as well as an examination. The examination will check for a variety of different issues, which include:
- Tooth decay
- Loose or old restorations
- Oral cancer screening
- Product advice and recommendations
- Hygiene technique advice
- Periodontal disease screening
Even after solving the cause of your bad breath, it is important to continually visit your dentist twice a year to prevent it from coming back. Your routine dental appointments are your best defense against bad breath and other more serious oral health problems. Your appointments can be pre-scheduled for you, making it easy to remember when you need to go in for a checkup. Your dentist can help in providing care when needed as well as help in giving you recommendations on products and techniques that are essential for keeping your breath fresh.