Bad breath happens to many of us at one time or another. In fact, studies show that 50 percent of adults have had halitosis — more commonly known as bad breath — at some point in their lives.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There many reasons you might have bad breath. Although most of these causes are harmless, some can be indicators something more serious.
Bacteria-most of it perfectly harmless- live in your mouth since it’s like a natural hothouse that allows them to flourish. When you eat, the bacteria feed on the particles of food left in your mouth. This feeding process leaves a foul-smelling waste behind that causes bad breath.
Your mouth may not be making enough saliva leaving it dry. Saliva is vital because it constantly washes out your mouth. If your mouth isn’t making enough saliva, it and your teeth aren’t being cleaned out as much as they should be. Dry mouth can be triggered by certain medications, untreated salivary gland issues or by breathing through your mouth. Keeping properly hydrated is important to prevent a dry mouth. Doctors suggest drinking 2 liters of water, or eight 8 fluid ounce bottles per day to prevent dehydration.
Chronic bad breath that will not go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a sign of advanced gum disease. Gum disease occurs when sticky, cavity-causing bacteria form plaque which causes your gums to become infected and inflamed.
Smoking and Tobacco Use
Not only do tobacco use and smoking cause bad breath, they also stain your teeth and increase your risk for a host of health problems including gum disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease and various types of cancer. They also reduce your sense of taste and irritate gum tissues. Since smoking reduces your sense of smell, smokers may not be aware of how bad their breath smells.
While it makes logical sense that gum disease and other mouth infections can cause bad breath, other medical conditions can cause it also. If you brush and floss as directed and your dentist has ruled out other dental or oral health issues such as an abscess, your halitosis could be the result of another problem. These problems include sinus conditions, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. If your dentist cannot find the cause, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
Brush and Floss
Brushing twice daily and flossing between your teeth every day will help kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can kill some of the bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. However, this solution is only temporary. The longer you wait between brushing and flossing, the more likely your breath will be offensive.
Clean Your Dentures
If you wear removable dentures, take them out every night, and clean them before their next use.
Keep Saliva In Your Mouth
Eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples, and staying hydrated will keep your mouth moist with saliva. You can also chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candies to help with dry mouth. Your dentist may even prescribe artificial saliva if these quick fixes do not help.
Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Dentist
If you’re in the Bradenton FL area and you’re concerned about what might be causing your bad breath, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Nish Patel at Manatee Advanced Dentistry. Regular check-ups will help your Dr. Patel to spot any impending problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your your mouth is healthy, you may need to see your primary care doctor. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Patel at Manatee Advanced Dentistry, call 941.209.4315 or make an appointment online.