Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is an embarrassing condition that can impact your social life. Products like mints, mouthwashes, and gum are supposed to help bad breath, but the best way to get to the root of the problem is with a general dentist in Webster.
Health conditions, certain foods, and oral hygiene habits can all contribute to bad breath. Fortunately, most causes of bad breath can be corrected with good dental hygiene.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There are many potential causes of bad breath, which include:
Your oral health is linked to the types of food you eat. Foods like garlic and onions are absorbed into the bloodstream, affecting your breath. Usually, the bad breath subsides once that food is metabolized.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is important for preventing bad breath. Regular brushing and flossing and routine dental cleanings remove odor-causing bacteria in your mouth and food debris.
Without brushing, food collects on the teeth, gums, and tongue and with bacteria form plaque, a colorless, sticky film. If you don’t brush and floss it away, it can irritate your gums and create a buildup of bacteria that causes odor and an unpleasant taste.
Improper Denture Cleaning
Similar to oral hygiene, if you don’t clean your dentures properly, they can harbor debris and bacteria that cause odor. Dentures can accumulate bacteria, fungi, and food particles, causing persistent bad breath.
Periodontal disease is a serious infection and inflammation of the gums and bone surrounding and supporting the teeth. In its early stage, it’s called gingivitis and may cause swollen, red, or bleeding gums. As the disease progresses, the gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that collect food and bacteria, causing bad breath, swollen and bleeding gums, and gum recession.
Left untreated, periodontal disease progresses and may cause severe swelling and bleeding of the gums, further gum recession that exposes the tooth’s root, and tooth sensitivity. The bone and connective tissue that secure the teeth erode.
Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, is a condition that often causes bad breath. When there’s a decrease in saliva production, the mouth can’t clean itself and remove bacteria or food debris left behind. Dry mouth may be caused by certain medications or health conditions.
Using cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco stains the teeth and causes oral health conditions like gum disease. In addition, tobacco products themselves have an unpleasant odor on their own that contributes to bad breath.
Bacteria on the Tongue
Food can build up on the tongue and causes a film that harbors bacteria. Certain bacteria on the tongue interact with the amino acids in foods, producing sulfur compounds with a strong odor.
Tonsil Stones or Throat and Nose Conditions
Bad breath can sometimes be caused by small stones that form on the tonsils and harbor bacteria. Another possible cause is chronic throat or sinus infections, which cause postnasal drip and an unpleasant odor.
Though less common, diseases like cancer, metabolic disorders, or chronic reflux of the stomach may cause bad breath. If your dentist suspects any of these conditions, they will refer you to your physician for diagnosis and treatment.
How to Treat Bad Breath
The first step in treating bad breath is good hygiene and a trip to a dentist in Webster. The most common causes of bad breath stem from poor oral hygiene or oral problems, such as gingivitis and periodontal disease.
The dental treatment for bad breath depends on the condition, but it may include the following:
If you have periodontal disease, you will need professional cleaning to remove the bacteria. Depending on the gum disease’s progression, you may need more extensive cleanings or treatments. Your dentist may also recommend filling any cavities and replacing old restorations that form a breeding ground for bacteria.
Mouth Rinses and Toothpaste
If your bad breath is due to plaque on your teeth, your dentist may recommend an antiseptic mouth rinse that kills the bacteria and toothpaste with an antibacterial agent. You may also need to reevaluate your oral hygiene practices to keep your mouth clean and free of plaque and bacteria.
How to Reduce Bad Breath at Home
In addition to visiting your dentist and doctor, if needed, you can reduce your bad breath at home by practicing good oral hygiene.
- Brush your teeth after eating with fluoride-containing toothpaste.
- Floss at least twice a day to remove plaque and food particles.
- Brush your tongue or use a tongue scraper to remove the bacteria on the tongue that may be causing odors.
- Clean your dentures or bridge at least once a day.
- Clean dental retainers or mouthguards every day.
- Avoid tobacco and drink plenty of water.
- Chew gum to stimulate saliva for dry mouth.
- Change your toothbrush every three months.
- Schedule regular dental checkups.
Treat Bad Breath with a General Dentist in Webster
If you’re struggling with bad breath due to poor oral hygiene or gum disease, Empire Dental Care can help. Contact us today to schedule your appointment at 585-671-1650!