Bad breath, morning breath, dragon breath, or halitosis – however you refer to it, dealing with a bad smell coming from your mouth can be embarrassing. Whether or not you’ve realized it, there’s a good chance you’ve had bad breath at some point in your life. More than 50 percent of adults regularly experience halitosis (source). Although halitosis is a nuisance, there are preventative measures you can take to fend off foul odors. Keep reading to learn more about the causes of bad breath and how you can ensure that your breath smells fresh for a special occasion, like an upcoming job interview or first date.
Causes of Bad Breath
Bacteria is the root cause of many cases of bad breath. There are hundreds of bacteria that live in your mouth. These microorganisms thrive off of the leftover food on your teeth, gums, and tongue and leave a foul-smelling waste.
What to Do: Although most bacteria are harmless, practicing good oral hygiene and getting cavities treated can cut down on the bad smell. If you wear dentures or a retainer, make sure you clean your dental device regularly. Drinking green tea can also help kill bacteria in your mouth. Since green tea is acidic, be sure to rinse your mouth out with water afterward to avoid damaging your enamel.
Have you ever noticed how the smells of certain foods tend to linger in your mouth? Onions, garlic, coffee, fish . . . Although the bacteria that breaks down the food in your mouth plays a huge role in halitosis, digestion is also to blame. Once food enters your bloodstream, a few particles get inside your lungs, which affects the odor of the air you exhale.
What to Do: Avoid starchy foods that leave a residue in your mouth. If you have a big event coming up, stay away from onion, garlic, seafood, spicy food, coffee, and other foods with long-lasting smells.
Saliva is crucial to your oral health. It cleanses your mouth by removing food particles, which prevents bad breath. Dry mouth occurs naturally while you sleep because the production of saliva decreases when you aren’t alert. This is why “morning breath” is a common phenomenon. Certain medications, diseases, and issues with your salivary gland can cause dry mouth.
What to Do: Drink plenty of water, and chew sugar-free gum. However, keep in mind that chewing gum too often can damage dental work like fillings and crowns. If you breathe with your mouth open, make a conscious effort to breathe through your nostrils. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are experiencing dry mouth to ensure that it isn’t a sign of a larger health issue.
Decay and Gum Disease
Untreated tooth decay is another cause of bad breath. When plaque builds up in a cavity, it can spread to the pulp of your tooth, causing it to emit a foul odor. Plaque tends to accumulate along gum lines, generating gingivitis and recession of the gum tissue. Bacteria can begin to accumulate in gum pockets, which can create a bad smell.
What to Do: Brush and floss twice a day, and pay special attention to flossing under your gum line. Consider using a Waterpik if you are struggling with gingivitis or gum disease, and consult with your dentist to build an effective care plan.
Bacteria, certain foods, dry mouth, and decay are all common causes of bad breath. However, there are numerous other causes of bad breath, including smoking, sinus conditions, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. If you are experiencing constant or severe bad breath that is not related to your oral health, your dentist might refer you to a primary care doctor or specialist.
Have you been struggling with bad breath? Call your dentist for help. If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist in Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. Schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or request an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!