What causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath (halitosis) can be caused by many things. It may be the result of odour-causing foods, tooth decay, (periodontal) gum disease, continued mouth dryness, use of tobacco products, sinus or respiratory infections, some medical disorders, inadequate oral hygiene or some medications. Your dentist can help identify the cause and, if it is due to an oral condition, can develop a treatment plan to eliminate this common source of embarrassment. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to objectionable breath odour. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odour temporarily. Odour continues until the body eliminates the food. Dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating. If you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odour. Dentures that are not cleaned properly can also harbor odour-causing bacteria and food particles. Bad breath is also caused by dry mouth (xerostomia), which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odour. Dry mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe an artificial saliva, or suggest using sugarless candy and increasing your fluid intake. Tobacco products cause bad breath, stained teeth, reduces one's ability to taste foods and irritates gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease and are at greater risk for developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco, ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.
Bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract (nose throat, windpipe, or lungs), chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause of bad breath.
What is the treatment for Bad Breath?
- Eliminating periodontal disease and maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath.
- Schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup.
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too.
- Once a day, use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth.
- If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night. Clean them thoroughly before replacing them the next morning.
- Mouthwashes are generally cosmetic and do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath. If you need extra help in controlling plaque, your dentist may recommend using a special antimicrobial mouth rinse.
- Proper care and regular visits to the doctor along with brushing and flossing can help prevent tooth decay.