THERE IS NOTHING WORSE than being in the middle of a social situation and suddenly realizing you have bad breath. Whether it is a first date or a job interview, having bad breath can steal away a person’s confidence and ruin a wonderful moment. But why does this happen?
How Bad Breath Works
Sometimes bad breath is the temporary result of eating a particularly pungent meal. Bacteria in our mouths break down leftover food particles, resulting in unpleasant smells. Simple dental hygiene practices like daily flossing, twice-daily brushing, tongue-cleaning, and chewing sugar-free gum will minimize the bad breath effect of food. Some people struggle with a more chronic form of bad breath, also called halitosis. Halitosis can be caused by a variety of factors and is not always easy to get rid of:
- Tooth decay and gum disease. Cavities and periodontitis are both caused by the bacteria that produce nasty-smelling chemicals, so poor dental health and halitosis often go hand-in-hand.
- Medications. Many medications can cause dry mouth, and dry mouth leads to a host of oral health problems including halitosis because there is not enough saliva to wash away food and neutralize acids.
- Mouth, nose, and throat infections. Infections that cause an increase in mucous can also increase the amount of oral bacteria and contribute to bad breath.
- Tobacco products. No matter what form it comes in, tobacco leaves smelly chemicals in the mouth and can cause dry mouth. It also increases the risk of gum disease or oral cancer, which are other causes of bad breath.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and morning sickness can cause bad breath, as can eating disorders like bulimia.
- Mouth-breathing. Breathing through the mouth dries out saliva and leads to all the usual problems of dry mouth, including bad breath.
- Chronic conditions. In some cases, bad breath can be linked to conditions that have little to do with your oral hygiene, such as acid reflux, diabetes, or liver or kidney disease.
How To Stay Minty Fresh
The first defense against halitosis is your regular oral hygiene habits. Brushing, flossing, and cleaning the tongue all help get rid of smelly plaque and bacteria lingering in the crevices between and around teeth. Sugar-free gum and mints are great solutions for when you are on the go (but they are not substitutes for brushing and flossing). Quitting smoking will also eliminate a major source of bad breath. If you are in the habit of breathing through your mouth, try to breathe through your nose more.
Come See Us
If you are still struggling with halitosis even when maintaining an impeccable dental hygiene regimen, there is no reason to suffer in silence. Schedule an appointment with us so that we can discover the cause. We want to help you stay healthy and confident!
Thank you for being part of our practice family.
Top image by Flickr user fiverlocker used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.