Bad breath! It can be embarrassing and make you self-conscious about talking to people. But it can happen to anyone. Research shows that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath — also known as halitosis — at some point in their lives and those are just the people being honest. Drs. Clement and Kamron Monroe of Monroe & Monroe Implant & General Dentistry in Pinehurst, NC would like to help you rid yourself of bad breath today!
What Causes Bad Breath?
Halitosis can be caused by a number of things. Although most of the causes are harmless, some could be warnings of something more serious.
Our mouths are alive with bacteria that live there because it acts as a natural hothouse, allowing them to flourish. When you eat, bacteria feed on the remnants of food left behind in your mouth. This digestive process leaves 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.
Persistent bad breath that won’t go away no matter what steps you take or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a sign of advanced gum disease. Gum disease is when the bacteria living in plaque between your teeth cause your gums to become infected and inflamed. It can lead to tooth and bone loss if not treated.
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 clean your tongue when you’re brushing your teeth. If you see a white or brown coating when you stick out your tongue, you should use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clean it off. This spot is where most of bacteria that cause bad breath can be found.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can kill some of the bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. However, this solution is only temporary. The longer you wait between brushing and flossing, the more likely your breath will be offensive.
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. Monroe or your area dentist may also prescribe artificial saliva if these quick fixes do not solve the problem.
Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Dentist
If you’re in the Pinehurst, NC area and you’re concerned about what might be causing your bad breath, schedule an appointment to see one of the dentists at Monroe & Monroe Implant & General Dentistry. Regular check-ups will help us to spot any impending problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious.
If your oral health is found not to be at fault for your bad breath, you may be referred to your primary care doctor. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Monroe, call 910.420.3670 or make an appointment online.