Treating bad breath
What Is Bad Breath?
Bad breath, halitosis, or malodorous breath, refers to an unpleasant odor released from the mouth. Bad breath can be caused by bacteria in the mouth or gut, certain foods, smoking, dry mouth, or certain medical conditions.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath originates in the mouth due to oral bacteria. Bacteria are tiny organisms that live in the mouth. These bacteria stick to surfaces in the mouth and form a film called plaque. Brushing and flossing help to prevent plaque buildup. When teeth are not cleaned regularly, plaque forms along the gum line. When plaque is not removed, it hardens into a substance called tartar that collects on tooth surfaces.
Bad breath is often caused by food particles that become stuck between the teeth. This is especially the case with foods that contain strong odors, such as onions, garlic, and coffee. Poor oral hygiene can also cause bad breath. When food particles become stuck between teeth and are not removed by brushing and flossing, these food particles rot inside the mouth, causing a foul odor.
Some medical conditions and illnesses can also lead to bad breath. For example, it is not uncommon for halitosis to occur as a result of an underlying respiratory or sinus infection. If you suffer from bad breath, it is essential to visit your dentist. They can help determine the cause of your bad breath and recommend appropriate treatments.
How To Prevent Bad Breath?
- Practice good oral hygiene: Be sure to brush and floss your teeth after meals. Brushing your teeth removes food particles and plaque from your teeth, while flossing helps to remove plaque from between your teeth. Your homecare routine should also include the use of an antibacterial mouthwash. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth, bacteria in your mouth will feed on the leftover food particles and can cause bad breath.
- Brush your tongue: The tongue is covered with tiny bumps called papillae. Bacteria can hide deep within these bumps and cause bad breath. Toothbrushes often can’t get deep into the tiny bumps on the tongue, so it’s important to brush your tongue gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush daily.
- Regular dental visits. Having a professional cleaning and examination twice a year can also help prevent bad breath. During a professional cleaning, the dental team will clean your teeth and remove any plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth. This can help remove bacteria from your mouth and prevent it from being reabsorbed.
- Nutritional advice. Some foods can cause halitosis. If you eat a large amount of these foods, you will have bad breath. Some foods that cause bad breath include garlic, onions, and Brussels sprouts.
- Tobacco cessation. Smoking can have an effect on your breath. It can cause dry mouth, which can bring about bad breath. In addition, smoking can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and root canal infections. These conditions can cause halitosis.
- Clean your dentures or dental appliances: It’s important to clean dentures or dental appliances daily. Clean them first thing in the morning before putting on your dentures or dental appliances. Then brush and floss the rest of your mouth. This will help prevent bad breath.
- Drink lots of water to avoid dry mouth: Dry mouth is a common cause of bad breath. A lack of saliva means that foods don’t break down properly, allowing particles to linger in your mouth. The acids in foods then start to break down the enamel on your teeth, causing tooth decay. To avoid dry mouth, drink plenty of water and avoid caffeinated beverages. You also may need to brush your teeth more frequently to ensure food particles are removed from your teeth and mouth.
- See your dentist: If your bad breath is caused by a health condition, such as a respiratory infection, see your dentist for a treatment plan. You might need a prescription antibiotic or rinse. Your dentist might also recommend over-the-counter (OTC) products, such as chlorhexidine.
To learn more about the procedures offered at Short & Vlosich Family Dental, call us at (806) 374-8011 or visit our dental office located at 3503 S Soncy Rd, Amarillo, TX 79119.