A Center For Family Dentistry

The Causes of Bad Breath and How It Can Be Successfully Treated

April 20, 2014 — by Keith Kelley, DDS
Tags: Bad Breath General Dental Care

Bad Breath (Halitosis) - Causes, Treatment, PreventionNot all dental problems involve damage to the teeth, harm to the gums, or problems with the jaw joint. In fact, there are some dental health issues that people take for granted and don't even consider dental problems. Patients visit our cosmetic dentistry practice to address numerous dental health issues, even ones that they think are trifles. One example of this is treatment for bad breath. Let's take a moment right now to consider the nature of bad breath and what can be done to treat it.

What is bad breath?

Also known a halitosis, bad breath refers to any foul odors that emanate from the mouth.

The Most Common Causes of Bad Breath

The most common cause of bad breath is oral bacteria. This bacteria occurs naturally in the mouth and also causes tooth decay and gum disease to occur. The bacteria feeds on food particles in the mouth, and in the process result in sulfurous and malodorous smells.

If patients suffer from tooth decay or gum disease, these can cause or exacerbate bad breath as well given the presence and effects of the oral bacteria.

Other common contributing factors to bad breath include:

  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Dry mouth
  • Certain medications
  • Certain foods (e.g., onions, garlic, durian)

Bad Breath: A Potential Symptom of a Serious Health Problem

In addition to oral bacteria, bad breath may actually be a symptom of several serious health problems, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Sinus infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Tonsil problems
  • Issues with the esophagus
  • Liver problems
  • Carcinoma

Tips for Prevention of Bad Breath

There are a number of things that you can do to prevent bad breath on your own. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth after every meal
  • Flossing after every meal
  • Use a scraper to clean food and bacteria from the tongue
  • Visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups
  • Stay hydrated with water
  • Use sugar-free mints and chewing gum
  • Quit smoking/use of tobacco products
  • Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation

Treatment Options for Bad Breath

Sometimes professional dental treatment is necessary to improve your dental health and the quality of your breath. There are numerous general dentistry treatments that can enhance your overall dental wellness, including treatments for tooth decay and gum disease. Professional treatments for oral bacteria problems may involve antiseptic rinses and other advanced therapies.

What to Do If Your Bad Breath Persists

If your bad breath persists despite good dental health, it's important to meet with your physician to find out if you are suffering from a serious health problem of some kind. Getting the medical attention you need right away will restore your overall wellness and prevent serious issues later on in life.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatment

For more information about treating bad breath and other options for improving your overall dental health and wellness, be sure to contact our Troy, MI cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve the very best with regard to the look and health of your smile.

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