Do you suffer from bad breath? There can be several factors linked to bad breath. Halitosis, the medical term for bad breath, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.
Basically, all the food you eat begins to be broken down in your mouth. As foods are digested and absorbed into your bloodstream, they are eventually carried to your lungs and given off in your breath. If you eat foods with strong odors (such as onions or garlic), brushing, flossing and even mouthwash merely covers up the odor temporarily. The odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.
If you don’t brush and floss your teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, which promotes bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue.
Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products can also cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods, and irritate gums.
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth may be warning signs of gum (periodontal) disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. The bacteria cause toxins to form in the mouth, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone.
Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth and dental caries.
Several ways in which you can reduce and even prevent bad breath:
- Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, too. Replace your toothbrush every month. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque between your teeth once a day.
- See your dentist regularly – at least twice a year(more frequently if you have gum disease).
- Stop smoking/chewing tobacco- based products. Ask for tips on kicking the habit.
- Drink lots of water. This will keep your mouth moist. Chewing gum (sugarless) also stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria.
In most cases, we can treat the cause of bad breath. If the odor is gum disease, for example, we can either treat the disease or refer you to a periodontist.