Halitosis happens. It’s a fact of life. It’s really nothing to be ashamed of. Research shows that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath, also known as halitosis, at some point in their lives (and those are just the ones being honest).
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath can have a number of causes. While most of these are harmless, some can be warnings that something more serious is at work.
Our mouths are naturally full of bacteria since it acts like a natural hothouse, allowing them to flourish. When you eat, these bacteria feed on the particles of food left in your mouth. The byproduct of this is a foul-smelling waste that causes bad breath.
Saliva is vital because it is supposed to constantly wash out your mouth. If you don’t have enough saliva, your mouth and teeth are not being cleaned as much as they should be. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, untreated salivary gland issues or by breathing through your mouth. Keeping properly hydrated is important to prevent a dry mouth. Doctors recommend drinking 2 liters of water — eight 8 ounce bottles per day — to prevent dehydration.
Persistent bad breath that will not go away or a constantly having a bad taste in your mouth can be a sign of advanced gum disease. Gum disease occurs when sticky, cavity-causing plaque is allowed to host bacteria, causing your gums to become infected and inflamed.
While it stands to reason that gum disease and other mouth infections can lead to bad breath, other medical conditions can also play a part. If your dentist has already ruled out dental or oral health issues and you brush and floss every day and stay hydrated, your halitosis could result from a medical problem, such as a sinusitis, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, see your family doctor as soon as possible.
How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
Brush and Floss
Brushing twice daily and flossing between your teeth daily will help you reduce the bad breath-causing in your mouth.
Take Care of Your Tongue
Don’t forget to also keep your tongue clean while you’re brushing your teeth. If you stick out your tongue, you’ll see a white or brown coating at the very back. This is the place that most of bacteria that cause halitosis are found. Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clean them off your tongue.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes will kill some of the bacteria or at least neutralize and temporarily mask the odors. However, this is only a temporary solution. The longer you go between brushing and flossing, the more likely you are to have bad breath.
Keep Saliva In Your Mouth
Eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing such as carrots or apples will help you stay hydrated by keeping plenty of saliva in your mouth. You can also chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candies to moisten your mouth. Your dentist may also suggest an artificial saliva if these solutions do not help.
Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Dentist
If you’re in the Asheville, NC area and you’re concerned about what might be causing your bad breath, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Shawna Hoffert at Red Maple Dental. Regular check-ups will help Dr. Hoffert to diagnose any impending problems before they become more serious. If your your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor to investigate the cause. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Hoffert at Red Maple Dental, call (828)-358-1925 or make an appointment online.