I Was Told That I Have Bad Breath. What Causes It And How Can I Get Rid Of It?
Bad breath or halitosis, can be embarrassing. You may not realize it at first, but eventually someone close to you will work up the nerve to tell you.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath can be caused by a number of sources or a combination of them.
- Gum or periodontal disease
- Dry mouth
- Sinus drainage
- Smoking/ tobacco
- Medical conditions
Food- we’ve all heard about onions and garlic causing bad breath. This is only temporary while the odors from these foods are still in your stomach and are being digested. Eventually, the odor is expressed in your breath. But if you don’t brush or floss food particles can remain in your mouth and this odor can linger.
Gum disease- The bacteria in plaque that causes gum disease gives off noxious odor causing toxins. As debris collects between teeth and under gums, these toxins can build up in sufficient strength to give off an unpleasant odor. Brushing, flossing, and seeking regular dental cleanings can help reduce bacterial build-up and the gum disease it causes.
Dry mouth- This occurs naturally with age but it is also caused by certain medications and salivary gland problems. Saliva is necessary to moisten and cleanse the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, cheeks and gums. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Your dentist can recommend artificial saliva products or may suggest using sugarless candy to help stimulate salivary flow.
Sinus drainage- People with chronic sinus conditions are all familiar with sinus drainage that can drip down the back of the throat. This drainage can cause a characteristic odor. Your doctor can recommend medication to reduce this drainage.
Smoking and tobacco-You are familiar with “Smokers Breath”. In addition to staining teeth and being bad for overall health, tobacco can add to bad breath. Tobacco reduces your ability to taste foods and it irritates gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease and are at a greater risk for developing oral cancer.
Medical conditions- Some systemic diseases have symptoms that can be related to bad breath. Sinus and lung infections, bronchitis, diabetes and some liver or kidney diseases may be associated with bad breath. Speak to your Dr. if you have one of these conditions.
Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating gum disease and seeking regular dental cleanings are all important to good oral health and reducing bad breath. Brush at least twice a day and use dental floss. Brush your tongue also. Mouthwash may help, but often masks the problem and gives only temporary relief.
Ask your Vestal dentist and we can help get to the root of the cause of bad breath.
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