Suffering from bad breath can be incredibly embarrassing and surprisingly challenging to treat. However, persistent bad breath is often an indication of a more significant underlying issue. The sooner you deal with what is causing your bad breath, the closer you will be to redeeming your self-esteem.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Halitosis, or chronic bad breath, isn’t something that can be solved by breath mints, mouthwash, or better brushing habits. Halitosis remains for an extended period and isn’t a result of eating certain foods or an extension of “morning breath.” If quick bad breath fixes are only masking the problem for a short period, something more serious may be happening to your body, including one of these main contributors.
Bad breath-causing bacteria live naturally in your mouth regardless of your dental care routine, and everyone is susceptible to it. Your mouth acts like a natural hothouse, allowing this type of bacteria to produce. When you eat foods, the existing bacteria feed on the left-behind food particles in your mouth and on your teeth. Certain types of food can leave a foul-smelling waste product behind, causing bad breath.
Saliva is essential for maintaining your dental health. Rinsing and removing unwanted pieces of food from your mouth with saliva enables food to break down after you eat. Saliva also provides disease-fighting substances to help prevent cavities and other infections. One significant indicator of dry mouth may be halitosis. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, medical conditions, alcohol use, excessive caffeine intake, and tobacco use.
Consistent bad breath that is also accompanied by a bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease. The sticky cavity-causing bacteria called plaque feeds off left-behind food particles. Gum disease can be prevented by proper brushing and flossing techniques, and it can even be reversed if caught early enough.
Some foods are commonly known as bad-breath offenders. While the list of foods is quite long, the main foods that have the ability to affect the air you exhale are garlic, onions, and coffee. Brushing and flossing, and even mouthwash, merely cover up the odors temporarily. This type of odor will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.
Tobacco products not only cause damage to your body, but they also lead to bad breath. Tobacco leaves behind foul odors on your breath in addition to drying out your mouth. Smokers are more likely to develop gum disease with halitosis being one of the first indications of the disease.
If your dentist has been able to rule out infections of the mouth and other potential causes, your bad breath could be the result of another more severe medical condition. Sinus conditions, gastric reflux, diabetes, and liver and kidney disease are all accompanied by bad breath as a side effect or indication. If your mouth isn’t causing your bad breath, your healthcare provider should be notified for further examination.
Keeping Bad Breath At Bay
If you begin to notice persistent bad breath, check-in with your dentist. Together, we can determine what the cause may be and rule out any potentially-related issues. With proper cleaning and examination, any lingering oral health problems can be addressed in addition to other recommended treatments for keeping bad breath at bay.
Boost the freshness of your breath by doing the following:
- Brush and floss twice a day
- Clean your tongue
- Use mouthwash
- Increase your saliva production
- Quit smoking or other tobacco products
- Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams
Take Control of Your Oral Health
Whether your goal is to correct persistent bad breath or address a cavity, being in charge of your mouth means being comfortable and confident in your smile. There’s nothing like the knowledge in knowing that your oral health is on track and your teeth are cavity-free. Schedule your next dental exam today with Premier Dental Center if you’re feeling less-than-confident about the freshness of your breath.