Bad breath is something all of us worry about having, and it's a fact of life that most of us will suffer from it at least occasionally. Bad breath, or halitosis, is frequently caused by eating certain foods. Although the odors can be temporarily masked, there's really nothing else to do but to wait until the offending food has been eliminated from the body. Suffering from continual bad breath is quite a different matter, and it does need investigating.
Bad Breath and Poor Oral Hygiene
Bad breath is something that is often caused by poor oral hygiene. If you don't brush and floss on a daily basis then food trapped in between your teeth will gradually rot, causing noxious odors. If you have any dental appliances such as dentures or braces, then failing to clean them properly will also create bad breath as they'll trap rotting food and bacteria.
Bad Breath and Gum Disease
If you have poor oral hygiene you’re more likely to suffer from gum disease due to the buildup of plaque bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria create toxins, irritating the gums, and eventually causing them to pull away from the teeth. One of the most common signs of gum disease is a persistent bad breath.
Medical Causes of Bad Breath
Sometimes bad breath can be caused by certain medical conditions, including dry mouth, also called xerostomia. This is a condition where insufficient saliva is produced, making the mouth a uncomfortable and dry. Without saliva the mouth is far more prone towards developing dental diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease, both of which will cause bad odors.
Bad breath can also be caused by other illnesses and diseases, especially those that affect the respiratory tract such as bronchitis and pneumonia. It can also be a common side effect of other diseases such as diabetes, and may be a symptom of liver or kidney problems.
Getting Rid of Bad Breath
If you do have bad breath then the first thing to do is to look at your oral hygiene routine, and to make any necessary improvements such as brushing more thoroughly and regularly, making sure you floss once a day, and replacing your toothbrush at regular intervals. You should also take care to brush your tongue as this can harbor bacteria.
The next thing to do is to book an appointment with your dentist. They will be able to let you know if your bad breath is dental related. Treatment for any dental diseases will help remedy the problem, but if they can't find the cause then they'll probably recommend that you see a physician in case you have any medical problems that could be causing your halitosis.
You can also help yourself by making small changes to your lifestyle habits. If you smoke then think about quitting, as this will definitely help improve your oral health. Drinking plenty of water will help to keep your mouth clean and odor free.
For more information about bad breath or other dental issues, contact your Midlothian, VA dentist Dr. Alex Hawkins at Hawkins Family Dentistry today.