Bad breath is one of those things most people have occasionally as a result of eating certain foods such as garlic. There is very little that can be done about this type of bad breath, as it is due to the foods entering the bloodstream before being exhaled. In this case it’s simply a matter of waiting until the food is eliminated. While it might be annoying it’s hardly serious. However true bad breath, or halitosis can be a completely different matter. It can be caused by a number of different things including:
- Poor oral hygiene. This is one of the most common causes of bad breath, and is simply down to neglect. If you don’t brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day then you’re far more likely to have little particles of food trapped in between your teeth, and these will gradually begin to rot creating a sulfurous odour.
- Periodontal disease. If you have poor oral hygiene you’re also more likely to suffer from gum disease or periodontal disease. This is caused by plaque bacteria building up in the mouth and creating toxins that irritate the gums causing inflammation and infection. In fact one of the earliest signs you may have gum disease is noticing you have bad breath.
- Dry Mouth. There are some medical conditions that can make bad breath more likely, including dry mouth, a condition where someone is unable to produce sufficient saliva. Saliva is essential in helping to keep them mouth clean and free from bacteria, and it also helps to neutralize acids created by plaque bacteria. In addition saliva is useful for helping to wash away excess of food and old skin cells. Dry mouth can be caused by a number of different things as it can be down to taking certain medications, or it may be due to damage to the saliva glands, or it can be caused by certain cancer treatments.
- Poorly fitting dental appliances. Older dentures often fit badly due to the fact that the gums gradually change shape once teeth are removed. This can lead to food becoming trapped underneath them, increasing the risk of infections and halitosis.
Lessening the Risk of Bad Breath
Most people will find it pretty straightforward to lessen their risk of suffering from bad breath. The main thing is to ensure your oral hygiene routine is the very best it can be through regular brushing and flossing. It’s important to brush your tongue regularly as this can harbour large amounts of bacteria and old food particles.
Regular trips to the dentist are also essential, and a professional cleaning will not only help to whiten teeth slightly, but will also help to freshen breath by removing old hardened plaque bacteria. If you have dry mouth then your dentist will be able to recommend methods of helping to increase the flow of saliva. This may mean using an artificial saliva substitute, although some people find it helpful to make sure they are well hydrated, or to suck sugar free gum or lozenges.
It’s definitely worth making an appointment with your dentist if you do think you’re suffering from bad breath. This is because they’ll be able to see if there are any dental problems that could account for your halitosis. If they don’t think the problem is dental related then they’ll recommend you visit your doctor. It could be due to some underlying medical reason, or it might be that your doctor is able to describe different medications to help alleviate this problem.