Do you receive daily offers of gum and mints? Does your dog run away when you bend down and say hello? Do you find yourself having an odd smell from time to time when you open your mouth? If the answer is yes to any of these questions … you probably have bad breath, also called halitosis. These days having a nice healthy smile is more than just having pearly white teeth. Having bad breath can be an indication that there might be something going on within your mouth.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath is a very common problem and there are many different causes. Persistent bad breath is usually caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat your teeth, gums, and tongue. If you don’t have a daily oral care routine, the accumulation of food and bacteria will make your breath smell like you ate gym socks for lunch. There are other reasons for bad breath. One of the reasons why your breath is stinkier than usual can be due to gum related issues. Gum disease and cavities can produce halitosis, and so can systemic illnesses such as diabetes, acid reflux, and sinus infections. If you have attempted to cure your bad breath with all the over the counter tools and it still persists, you may have a larger health concern and should make an appointment with your dentist. The bacteria on our teeth and gums are also known as plaque can cause gum disease and tooth decay. One of the warning signs of gum disease is that you always have bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth. Again, your dental team will be able to see and treat the problem during your regular check-ups. The earlier the problems are found, the more effective the treatment will be.
Another cause for bad breath can be due to a medical condition known as dry mouth. Dry mouth or xerostomia is a condition that means your mouth produces less saliva. This causes bacteria to build up in your mouth and this leads to bad breath. Dry mouth may be caused by some medicines, salivary gland problems or by continually breathing through your mouth instead of your nose. Older people may produce less saliva, causing further problems. If you suffer from dry mouth, console your dentist since they may be able to recommend or prescribe an artificial saliva product.
If you’re experiencing bad breath and you don’t suffer from dry mouth or cavities, these other reasons may be why you’re struggling with bad breath. Other medical conditions that cause bad breath include infections in the throat, nose or lungs; sinusitis; bronchitis; diabetes; or liver or kidney problems. If your dentist finds that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family GP or a specialist to find out the cause of your bad breath.
Smoking tobacco is naturally already a stinky substance. Tobacco smell tends to linger in your hair and skin long after smoking, and the same goes for your teeth. Tobacco causes its own type of bad breath. The only answer, in this case, is to stop smoking. As well as causing your mouth to have a lingering unpleasant smell, smoking causes other issues such as; staining, loss of taste, and irritates the gums. People who smoke are more likely to suffer from gum disease and have a greater risk of developing cancer of the mouth, lung cancer, and heart disease. If you have stopped smoking, but still struggle with having bad breath, then you need to see your dental team or doctor for advice.
How to Prevent Bad Breath
Now that you know some of the reasons why you’re experiencing bad breath, here are some tips on how you can prevent bad breath from happening in the future. To keep your breath fresh, you must get rid of any gum disease, and keep your mouth clean and fresh. If you do have bad breath, try keeping a diary of all the foods you eat and list any medicines you are taking. Take this diary to your dentist, who may be able to suggest ways to solve the problem. Here are some other tips on how to maintain a healthy smile and keep bad breath away for good:
-Brush your teeth and gums last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste.
-Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well, or use a tongue scraper. Cut down on how often you have sugary food and drinks.
-Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.
-Clean in between your teeth with ‘interdental’ brushes or floss at least once a day, brushing alone only cleans up to about 60 percent of the surface of your teeth. There are other products you can buy to clean between your teeth.
-Use a mouthwash some contain antibacterial agents that could kill bacteria that make your breath smell unpleasant.