How To Combat Chronic Bad Breath
Who would you rather be: The friend telling a friend they have bad breath? OR The friend being told they have bad breath? NEITHER!!! Not only is chronic bad breath embarrassing, it can be indicative of a health issue. Nobody needs to suffer with bad breath, not you or your friends. There are solutions if you look for them. Chronic bad breath has a medical name: halitosis, and it can be a side effect of some dental issues. You may have plaque buildup on your teeth which can develop into gingivitis or periodontal disease. When plaque is allowed to remain on your teeth for a period of time, bacteria forms and can create cavities and advanced periodontal disease which can damage your teeth and gums, or even your jawbone.
Bad breath can be caused by any number of factors such as the foods you eat, poor dental health habits, an unhealthy lifestyle, dry mouth from certain medications, postnasal drip, chronic acid reflux, tooth decay, pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, diabetes, or kidney and liver problems. Consider which of these may apply to you:
- As foods digest they are absorbed into your bloodstream; gases are carried through your blood to the lungs and given off in your breath. Eating spicy foods, onions, garlic, fish, some cheeses, and acidic beverages can create a strong odor in your breath and will not go away completely until after the foods have thoroughly digested and passed through your system.
- Sporadic or poor oral hygiene habits, such as not brushing and flossing regularly, or not properly cleaning dentures, will allow food particles to remain in your mouth. Food particles trapped in and around your teeth can promote odor causing bacterial growth around the gums, teeth, and on your tongue. Bacteria stinks!
- Lifestyle habits: smoking or chewing tobacco not only cause bad breath, but can also stain your teeth, irritate your gums, and affect your ability to taste foods properly. Not to mention the increased risk for oral cancer.
- Xerostomia, or dry mouth, can be a side effect of some medications. Antihistamines and diuretics, insulin shots, breathing through the mouth, salivary gland problems, can all lead to dry mouth. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids, and wash away dead cells. If saliva is inhibited or decreased, which naturally occurs when you sleep with your mouth open, decomposing cells can cause bad breath.
Whether any of these conditions apply to you or not, if you suffer from chronic bad breath, see your dentist. Keeping up with regular dental exams and cleanings at your dentist’s office, combined with healthy at-home oral hygiene habits is the best way to prevent chronic bad breath. Before and after you see your dentist about your bad breath, there are some steps you can take to minimize your risk of bad breath and maintain a good oral hygiene regimen:
- Brush your teeth and tongue after each meal; if brushing isn’t practical when you are out and about, rinsing with water will help to dislodge food and drink residue from your teeth until you can brush properly. Always choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and change your toothbrush every three to four months.
- Use dental floss daily to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth. There are several options when is comes to dental floss, find the brand and type that works for you. Throw a container of floss into your hand/book/man/bag and take it with you.
- Drink plenty of water each day and try chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugar-free mints or hard candy to stimulate the production of saliva. Remember though, gum and candy and even mouthwash only temporarily mask bad breath.
- Limit the amount of sticky or sugary foods and drinks you consume, they will stick to your teeth. When you do indulge, be sure to rinse well with water if you cannot brush right away.
- Find yourself an antibacterial toothpaste and/or mouth rinse that will help to kill plaque-causing bacteria. For dry mouth issues, there are artificial saliva preparations and oral medications that can help stimulate saliva production.
At Bonnie Doon Dental Associates, our dentists and staff can help you to determine what is causing your chronic bad breath. If dental issues are not the cause of your bad breath, we can point you in another direction to find the answers you need. Call us today!