We all suffer from bad breath sometimes, whether it’s “morning breath” or caused by eating certain foods. Temporary bad breath that goes away with a mint or brushing your teeth is common and generally nothing to worry about (unless you’re at a business meeting or out on a date!). However, when bad breath is chronic, meaning brushing or mouthwash doesn’t solve it, it’s referred to as “halitosis, ” and it’s a sign that there’s something wrong. Over 80 million people suffer from halitosis, but just because it’s common, it is still a condition you should discuss with your family dentist. To help you understand it, we’re sharing everything you need to know about halitosis and how to avoid it.
The #1 Cause of Halitosis is Poor Oral Hygiene
Bacteria is the leading cause of halitosis and it’s often caused by poor oral hygiene. When you eat, food and particles get trapped around your teeth and turns into plaque, which is a thin, sticky film of bacteria. Plaque trapped around your teeth is enough to cause unpleasant breath. If not removed, plaque eats away at tooth enamel and causes inflammation at the gum line, leading to gingivitis. As tooth decay and gum disease worsen, bacteria can build up in the pockets of decay, causing severe halitosis. Even worse, these pockets are difficult to clean when you are brushing and flossing. Preventing Halitosis Tip: Practice good oral hygiene. This means brush twice a day using the right kind of toothbrush and ADA-approved toothpaste, flossing daily, and reducing sugar in your diet. If you have dentures, make sure you’re cleaning them thoroughly daily. Just as important as daily upkeep is visiting your Cary family dentist for regular dental checkups and professional cleanings as well as having cavities treated with dental fillings as needed.
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Dry Mouth Contributes to Halitosis
Saliva is a powerful tool to keeping your teeth healthy and your breath clean. It naturally rinses particles away from your teeth and gums while also fighting bacteria that causes bad breath. Having a dry mouth can cause bacteria to build up, again, leading to unpleasant breath. Dry mouth is often caused by drinking alcohol, excessive caffeine, tobacco use, or taking certain medications. While occasional dry mouth is nothing to worry about, having a mouth that’s often dry, even when you drink plenty of water and take care to stay hydrated, is a symptom of a more serious problem. Preventing Halitosis from Dry Mouth: Avoid excess alcohol or caffeine consumption and drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you find your dry mouth is caused by medication, speak to your doctor or family dentist about prescription mouth rinses that can alleviate dry mouth problems.
Avoid Tobacco Products
There are dozens of reasons to either avoid or quit using tobacco, whether it’s smoking or chewing tobacco, and avoiding halitosis can be added to the list. Not only does smoking and chewing tobacco leave a stale odor on your breath, tobacco use is a leading cause of gum disease and tooth decay. Plus it can cause dry mouth. This is a triple whammy of bad breath! Preventing Halitosis Tip: Quit using tobacco products (or don’t start!).
Halitosis Caused by Illness and Allergies
Having chronic sinus problems, allergies, or colds can lead to halitosis due to the postnasal drip. If there is infection such as a sinus infection, bacteria will feed on the mucus your body is producing. On the other hand, tonsil stones caused by particles of food getting trapped in your tonsils and feeding bacteria, will also lead to unpleasant odors. Preventing Halitosis from Illness: If you suffer from allergies and sinus drainage, talk to your doctor about managing your symptoms and alleviating that post-nasal drip. A sinus infection or other illness may require antibiotics or medication.
Fad Diets Can Cause Bad Breath
Have you noticed bad breath since you started the keto diet or a fasting program? This isn’t a coincidence. Diets high in fat and protein and low in carbs cause fat in your body to break down and produce chemicals called ketones. When your body is in ketosis, the ketones are partially released through your breath, which has a strong smell. Preventing Halitosis from Ketosis: Before starting any diet, you should talk to your doctor.
Contact Our Cary Family Dentistry Practice to Avoid Halitosis
Halitosis not only impacts your confidence, it can be a sign that there’s something wrong with your dental health. If you worry about chronic bad breath or want to make sure you prevent it, contact our Cary family dentist office today by calling the number provided below or schedule an appointment today!