Uplus Dental – Bad Breath Causes, Prevention & Treatment
Halitosis known as bad breath to most is an embarrassing condition that can affect anyone at anytime, and is caused by several factors. The most common causes of bad breath are preventable and easily treated, however certain medical conditions may also cause bad breath. Chronic halitosis may indicate an underlying medical concern that should be addressed by your dentist or may be medical doctor. Learn about the most common reasons why you may experience bad breath, and when you should see a dentist for your halitosis.
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Causes of Bad Breath
The Food We Eat and Digestion
The food we eat can adversely affect our breath. Odours from garlic, onions, cabbage, and certain spices may result in halitosis when the suspected food is absorbed into the blood stream after digestion. When the blood has transferred to the lungs, the smell from the food is evident when you exhale. With eating comes digestion, another cause of bad breath. Gasses produced during the digestive process may escape through your mouth, emanating the odour it produces. Poor digestion resulting in constipation and disorders of the bowel may contribute to bad breath again, from the gasses that are produced during this process.
Infrequent Brushing and Flossing
It may seem like an obvious factor, but when you examine how limited and neglected brushing and flossing habits contributes to bad breath, the cause hits you like a brick wall – decaying food particles and bacteria trapped in your mouth. When the food we eat is left behind either because it is trapped in hard to reach places such as the wisdom teeth, the tiny hair-like follicles on the tongue, or simply because brushing and flossing is neglected, it begins to decay in your mouth. The human mouth is 37 C, an ideal temperature for food to begin to decompose. When you exhale, the odour from the decomposing food, bacteria, and plaque causes the offensive odour.
Oral Diseases and Infections
Periodontal disease is directly related to improper or neglected brushing and flossing. One major sign of this potentially irreversible oral disease is halitosis. The accumulation of plaque, bacteria, and decomposing food particles contribute to bad breath as they destroy the delicate tissue that surrounds our teeth. The same bacteria that cause gum disease, tooth decay, and abscessed teeth are also responsible for halitosis.
Xerostomia is a condition that causes a decrease in the production of saliva, resulting in a dry mouth. Several factors cause xerostomia, some of which may need to be treated by your doctor. Saliva is necessary to provide lubrication the mouth to allow for proper chewing and swallowing. Saliva naturally cleanses the mouth and helps prevent cavities. If you are experiencing dry mouth, bad breath may occur because the food particles remain trapped in the mouth to rot and cause the unpleasant smell when you exhale.
The effects of smoking on our overall health and wellness are frightening. Over 4,000 chemicals have been identified in cigarettes, 200 of which are poisonous. Lung cancer and COPD are obvious diseases that come to mind when you consider the health risk associated with the habit. But did you know smoking is also a major cause of periodontal disease? How does this relate to halitosis you ask? The smoke produced from a cigarette is inhaled into the lungs, and then exhaled through the nose and mouth. This causes an immediate effect on your breath because the chemicals and residue from the smoke remain in your mouth and airways. Continued use of cigarettes contribute to gum disease, a major cause of bad breath.
Unexplained or chronic bad breath may be an indication of an underlying medical condition or disease. Ketoacidosis occurs in diabetics when there is insufficient glucose in the blood for the body to use as energy. An obvious sign of this is a fruity-smelling odour in the breath. People with eating disorders may experience halitosis, as well as frequent dieters. Breath that has a fishy smell or is reminiscent of urine or ammonia may be obvious in people with chronic kidney failure. After prolonged vomiting or if an obstruction is in the bowel, the breath may smell like faeces. Sinusitis and lung infections also cause bad breath. Children with a foreign body trapped in their nose may experience halitosis. If suspected, see your doctor.
Treating and Preventing Bad Breath
Uplus Dental recommends that you brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste and clean between your teeth at least once a day by using an interdental cleaner such as floss. Brush your tongue, too, to remove bacteria that contribute to oral doors (especially in the back, where most of these bacteria are found).
If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night and brush them thoroughly with a denture cleanser before replacing them the next morning.
If your problem seems to stem from a dry mouth, consider chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies to help stimulate salivary flow. There also are artificial salivas on the market that may help.
Over-the-counter breath fresheners such as gum, mints, breath strips, breath sprays, and certain mouth rinses will only provide a temporary relief from bad breath. These general guidelines will assist you in managing, and hopefully eliminating, your experience with bad breath.
What Uplus Dental can do for you
In order to treat your bad breath, the root cause of halitosis needs to be identified. Visit us at Uplus Dental if you experience chronic bad breath (in other words bad breath that never goes away) and talk with your dentist about your concerns. A thorough health history, including a list of medications and supplements you are taking, may be helpful in determining whether the cause of your bad breath is localised to the mouth or might be a systemic condition, in which case a physician should be consulted.
If your breath problems stem from an oral cause, your dentist can work with you to develop a treatment plan that minimises odour. This might include scraping the plaque off your tongue, using a special antibacterial mouth rinse or both.
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