Bad breath is a fact of life. Research shows that 50 percent of adults have dealt with bad breath, also known as halitosis, at some point in their lives. And these are just ones being honest! But there’s no reason to be ashamed. Bad breath can happen to anyone. But Dr. Leonard Hess, a respected dentist in Monroe, NC, would like to help you beat bad breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There are a number of common causes for bad breath. While most of these are relatively harmless, some can be a warning of something far more serious.
Our mouths are home to bacteria, most of them harmless. These bacteria flourish there as it’s warm and humid like a natural hothouse. When you eat,these bacteria feast on the particles of food left in your mouth. This digestive process leaves behind a foul-smelling waste product that causes bad breath.
Your mouth may not be producing enough saliva. Saliva constantly washes out your mouth so if you don’t have enough, your mouth and teeth aren’t being cleansed as much as they should be. Dry mouth can also be caused by certain medications, untreated salivary gland ailments or by breathing through your mouth. Keeping yourself 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.
Chronic bad breath that won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease. Gum disease can result when bacteria living in plaque on and between your teeth cause your gums to become infected and inflamed.
While it stands to reason that gum disease, abscesses and other mouth infections can cause bad breath, other medical conditions could also be the culprit. If your dentist has ruled out other dental or oral health issues and you brush and floss as recommended by your dentist, your halitosis could be the result of a medical condition, such as a sinus infection, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
Brush and Floss
Brushing twice daily and cleaning between your teeth every day with floss will help clear your mouth of bacteria and your breath should improve.
Take Care of Your Tongue
Don’t forget to also brush your tongue while you’re brushing your teeth. If you stick out your tongue and check out the very back, you may see a white or brown coating. That’s the area where the majority of bacteria that cause halitosis can be found.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes sold in drug stores can eliminate some of the bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. However, this is only a temporary solution and the problem will return unless you also brush and floss regularly. The longer you go between brushing and flossing, the more likely you will be to have bad breath.
Keep Saliva In Your Mouth
Eat healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples to stay hydrated to keep plenty of saliva to clean out your mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies may also help. Dr. Hess may also recommend artificial saliva if these quick fixes do not solve the problem.
Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Dentist
If you’re in the Monroe, NC area and you’re concerned about what might be causing your bad breath, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Hess. Regular check-ups will help Dr. Hess to spot any emerging problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor for further medical testing. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Hess, call 704.240.5045 or make an appointment online.