Halitosis, (bad breath) can be a result of poor oral hygiene or may be a sign of other health problems. Other dental causes of bad breath can be from smoking or chewing tobacco, poor fitting dental appliances such as partial and full dentures, infections in the mouth, and dental caries (cavities).
As Muncie dentist Dr. Pyle explains to his patients “if you don’t brush and floss your teeth daily, the food particles left in your mouth promote bacteria growth between your teeth, around the tongue and along the gums”
If you eat foods with strong odors (like garlic or onions) , then brushing, flossing, and even mouthwash merely cover up the odor, but it may not go away completely until these foods have passed through your body.
A Warning Sign of Gum Disease
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste may be a warning of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. The bacteria causes toxins to form in the mouth that irritate the gums. If periodontal disease (gum disease) is left untreated it will damage the gums and jawbone and you can lose teeth.
Xerostomia (dry mouth) is a medical condition that can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten and cleanse the mouth. Your saliva neutralizes acids produced by plaque and it washes away dead cells that accumulate on your cheeks, tongue, and gums. Dry mouth can be a side effect of medications, salivary gland problems, or something as simple as continuous breathing through the mouth.
Other diseases and illnesses can cause bad breath also. Some to be aware of are:
- Respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia
- Chronic sinus infections
- Acid reflux
- Liver or kidney problems
Bad breath can be reduced or prevented if you:
- Practice good oral hygiene-Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too! Floss daily. Replace your toothbrush about every 3 months. Dentures and partials should be removed and cleaned daily
- See your dentist, Dr. Pyle, regularly-at least twice a year.
- Stop all tobacco based products– Ask Dr. Pyle for tips on kicking the habit
- Drink lots of water-This will keep your mouth moist. Sugarless gum or mints will also help stimulate saliva flow
Many over the counter mouthwashes claim to eliminate bad breath. However, keep in mind that these usually only provide a temporary way to mask mouth odor. There are some antiseptic mouth rinses available that will kill the germs that cause bad breath. Ask expert cosmetic dentist Dr. Pyle or anyone of his helpful team which is best for you.