Halitosis, or bad breath, is a common and embarrassing affliction that can have many varying causes. These include tooth decay, odoriferous foods, gum disease, tobacco products, chronic dryness of the mouth, poor dental hygiene, respiratory or sinus infections, some medicines, and certain medical conditions. With the help of a dentist, you can identify the source of the odor and develop a plan to kiss your bad breath goodbye.
Bad Breath Causes
Some foods, including onions and garlic, can cause halitosis. The food, once it enters the bloodstream and passes to the lungs, creates a foul odor when exhaled. Flossing, mouthwash, or brushing will only work temporarily, meaning the odor will continue until the food is eliminated from the body.
Neglecting to floss and brush on a daily basis allows food particles to sit, rot, and collect bacteria within the mouth, causing bad breath. The same can result in patients with dentures who do not clean them adequately.
Bad breath can also be a sign of periodontal disease. The sticky bacterial film called plaque that causes gum disease causes toxins to be released that irritate the gums. If the condition becomes severe, the gums and teeth can become seriously damaged. If you are exhibiting some of the symptoms of gum disease, visit your dentist who can confirm the diagnosis and get you started on treatments.
Saliva acts as a mouth cleaner that removes food particles and odor. Without it, bacteria may develop, leading to bad breath. Persons with dry mouth may be told to increase fluids or use artificial saliva.
Tobacco can both cause bad breath as well as increase your risk of oral cancer and periodontal disease.
Respiratory infections, chronic bronchitis, kidney or liver conditions, diabetes, gastrointestinal difficulties, and postnasal drip are some medical disorders that can also cause halitosis. If the dentist finds the cause to be medical in nature, you will likely be referred to your primary physician.
Preventing gum disease, having good dental hygiene, and attending regular visits to the dentist can go a long way to eliminating bad breath. If you believe you may have bad breath, make a list of the foods you eat and medications you use to help give the dentist a better ideas as to the cause of your halitosis.