You brush your teeth and floss daily, but are still left with bad breath. Does this happen to you? If so, it’s likely you suffer from halitosis.
What is Halitosis?
Halitosis is the medical term for a persistent case of bad breath. While it isn’t pleasant, it is common and millions of Americans suffer from it.
What causes Halitosis or bad breath?
There are a number of factors that can cause bad breath, including:
- Infections in the mouth and gum disease
- Getting food trapped in the mouth by cavities, cracked fillings, a tooth abscess or bad dentures
- Your diet – food with strong odors and certain diets, including low-carb diets, can cause bad breath
- Poor dental hygiene, which can allow odor-causing bacteria to build up in the mouth
- Internal health issues such as diabetes, liver or kidney problems, bronchitis, acid reflux, sinus infections and others
- Dry mouth, which might be caused by a drug prescription or salivary gland problems
Treatment at the Dentist
When treating bad breath, we examine your teeth, gums and mouth and ask about your medical history to ascertain the cause. We make recommendations based on our exam and might also prescribe treatment and/or a prescription mouthwash to help kill odor-causing bacteria.
The type of odor may point to other illnesses as well. For example, a fruity smell is linked with those who have diabetes, while a urine-like smell may indicate uremia or kidney problems. If there are signs of internal illnesses, we refer you to your primary care doctor for further tests.
How to Get Fresh Breath
If you suffer from halitosis, take comfort in knowing you don’t have to suffer forever. There are various ways to fight bad breath and the methods are pretty simple.
- Practice good oral hygiene
If you’re a patient of our office, you know the importance of good oral hygiene. This includes flossing before brushing your teeth (and your tongue) a minimum of twice a day. Also, don’t forget to see us twice a year (or more often if recommended for you) for cleaning and checkups.
- Watch your diet
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Diets high in strongly scented foods can cause bad breath, as can low-carb diets. Snack on foods that combat odors and help avoid buildup throughout the day, like apples and raw carrots.
- Drink plenty of water
Dehydration can cause dry mouth, leading to bad breath (and increased tooth decay). Water can also help cleanse your mouth of odor-causing bacteria.
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco
Smoking or using tobacco products can foul your breath as well, and are also linked to other health conditions.