Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you had to step back because their breath was so bad? Have you ever noticed that someone did that when they were talking to you? Hopefully not, but if they have, the problem could be bad breath or halitosis.
There are many causes of bad breath, but often it stems from an infection or an abundance of bacteria in your mouth that produces a foul odor. Whatever the reason, your dentist, is there to help you find the cause – and the solution – to your bad breath problem.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There are a number of causes of bad breath, that include infection or odor-causing bacteria in your mouth, medications, certain foods, and health conditions (i.e., sinusitis, postnasal drip, bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders or liver/kidney ailments).
If the cause is not dental-related, the dentist will refer you to your physician for proper diagnostic testing.
Tips to Sweeten Your Breath
If the dentist determines that the cause of your bad breath is a dental problem, a thorough cleaning and scaling (plaque removal from all tooth surfaces) will be advised.
To keep your breath fresh, do the following:
- Brush twice (for at least two minutes) and floss once daily. Remember to brush your tongue too! Use an antibacterial/antimicrobial mouth wash to cut down on bacteria.
- Drink plenty of water each day to help wash down food particles and keep your mouth from becoming too dry.
- Avoid tobacco products and drinking too much coffee or alcohol. Watch your diet and keep fatty foods and dairy products to a minimum as they affect the acidity in your mouth and tend to produce an overabundance of odor-causing bacteria.
- Check your medications. Many prescription medications, including pain relievers, antidepressants, diuretics, high blood pressure medications and decongestants limit saliva flow and cause “dry mouth,” which causes bad breath. Your doctor may be able to prescribe a substitute that is less drying.
By all means, ask for help with this embarrassing social problem, rather than sitting in your home, afraid to go out and speak with anyone. Give a participating dentist near you a call to set up an appointment for an examination. Often, the dentist can diagnose the problem just by the type of smell your breath has. Once you take charge of the problem, you can start living again!