While halitosis (or bad breath) is a very common oral health issue, not many people like to talk about it! That said, halitosis is nothing to be ashamed of and, thankfully, it can often be addressed by your dentist. To learn more about halitosis and its potential causes, read some of our answers to your most frequently asked questions.
What causes bad breath?
Halitosis is a common problem with many possible causes. Sometimes, bad breath can occur as a result of food particles that linger in your mouth and leave an unpleasant odor. Another common cause of bad breath is dry mouth—a condition that occurs when your body produces less saliva. Without saliva, your mouth doesn’t effectively wash away the odor-causing bacteria that reside in your mouth and lead to bad breath. Additionally, you may be surprised to find that a number of seemingly unrelated illnesses can cause bad breath—from gastrointestinal issues, to liver problems, to diabetes. Therefore, if your dentist finds that your mouth is in good health, you may want to address the issue with a general practitioner.
How does smoking cause bad breath?
The cause of halitosis in smokers is actually two-fold. First, cigarette smoke can get trapped in your lungs and throat to leave an unpleasant odor on your breath. Secondly, cigarettes can diminish your ability to produce saliva. Therefore, your body is less capable of washing away bacteria, food particles, and dead cells that build up in your mouth. The best way to prevent this damage and other health issues is to quit smoking altogether.
Can my dentist cure bad breath?
Depending on the cause of your halitosis, your dentist may be able to help! During your check-up, you will receive a professional cleaning to remove the build-up of plaque, tartar, and food particles that are lingering in those hard-to-reach places of your mouth. They will also be able to help you identify places you may be missing regularly with a toothbrush or floss that could be the culprit behind your halitosis. If your halitosis is occurring as a result of decay, gum disease, dry mouth, or another oral health issue, your dentist will be able to create a treatment plan to get your mouth back into great condition.
How can I prevent bad breath?
A thorough dental hygiene routine is one of the best defenses against bad breath. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss every night, and add an antibacterial mouthwash to kill any lingering bacteria. If you suffer from dry mouth, chew sugar-free gum with xylitol to help boost your saliva production and prevent tooth decay. If your halitosis persists, be sure to visit your dentist to discuss the issue so they can look for underlying oral health problems.
Does mouthwash really help bad breath?
While mouthwash can be beneficial for certain causes of bad breath, it is not always a cure. Thankfully, there are many different kinds of mouthwashes to help with various oral health issues—from gum disease, to bacteria build-up, and more. Speak with your dentist about mouth rinses so they can determine which type will be the most beneficial to you.
To fight bad breath and restore your oral health, schedule your next appointment with Fairview Dental Group in Westmont today!