It may not contribute to global warming, but bad breath can definitely have an impact on your surrounding environment.
At some point or another, everyone has had ‘bad’ breath. Sing along during the seventh inning stretch at a Mariners game after eating some garlic fries, and your breath might create some seating adjustments.
Having chronic bad breath, however, is something else. And it’s actually one of the top 3 reasons patients seek dental care, besides gum disease and tooth decay.
Chronic bad breath, also referred to as Halitosis, is not like having a strong mouth odor that temporarily lingers after you eat something spicy. Halitosis remains for an extended period. Not even mints, mouthwash and even a good brushing can remedy. Why? Because it’s usually a symptom of something more serious going on with your mouth or overall health.
Here’s what could be causing your bad breath to linger longer than it should.
Dry Mouth – Your saliva is good for the health of your teeth and your breath. When it flows properly, your saliva rinses and removes unwanted leftovers from your mouth. It also provides disease-fighting substances to help prevent cavities and infections, and it helps break down the food you eat. But when you suffer from chronic dry mouth, it reduces your saliva flow. This may promote dental issues like cavities and on-going bad breath. What causes it? Many medications (allergy medications, etc.), certain medical conditions (diabetes, acid reflux), alcohol, tobacco and recreational drug use; even drinking too much caffeine every day can cause dry mouth. If you do have on-going dry mouth, we can help treat by offering some dental remedies to improve your saliva flow (scroll down!) – learn more about dry mouth here.
Mouth, Nose and Throat Infections – Nose, sinus and throat issues that cause postnasal drip can contribute to bad breath. Bacteria feeds on mucus your body produces when it’s battling something like a sinus infection, or nasal congestion from an allergy, leaving you with the sniffles and bad breath.
Dental Issues – Having cavities and deeper pockets around your teeth from gum disease can promote bad breath, as bacteria have extra places to hide within the mouth. Bacteria that cause gum disease live below the gumline and can produce a sulfur compound that’s responsible for bad breath. Because these places are usually difficult to properly clean when you brush, the lingering bacteria will contribute to your on-going halitosis.
If you have chronic bad breath, we have good news for you, and anyone near your air space. It can be treated. There are some simple things that you can do to help improve your breath, as well some remedies we can offer to improve your living environment.
Get Diligent With Your Oral Hygiene – When you have Halitosis, you need to be even more diligent to brush and floss after each meal and snack. Use fluoride toothpaste and brush your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush, for 2 minutes. Adding a Waterpik to your daily hygiene can also better improve your ability to flush bacteria out from under your gum line.
Brush Your Tongue! – Your tongue is home to a lot of the bacteria that promote bad breath. Carefully brushing it can help reduce odors. People who have a coated tongue from a significant overgrowth of bacteria (from smoking or dry mouth, for example) may benefit from using a tongue scraper, or use a toothbrush that has a built-in tongue cleaner.
Don’t Skip Your Teeth Cleanings – Don’t miss your twice-a-year cleanings. Plaque build up promotes tooth decay and cavities, and it’s also one of the biggest causes of bad breath. Teeth cleanings help keep the cavities and the bad breath away!
Boost Your Saliva Flow – Keep your mouth moist and give your hard working saliva a boost. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Rinse your mouth with water when you can after snacks or meals, or use a prescribed or over-the-counter moisturizing spray whenever your mouth feels dry. Add some foods to your daily diet that increase your saliva flow too – cucumbers, snap peas, apples, etc.
Get Extra Protection With a Fluoride Rinse – Patients with chronic dry mouth are more likely to get more cavities than normal, so a little extra protection like a fluoride rinse during your office visit can offer an anti-cavity boost.
Try an Anti Cavity Mouth Rinse – If your bad breath is due to a buildup of bacteria (plaque) on your teeth, we may recommend a mouth rinse that kills the bacteria. An alcohol-free mouthwash, such as Biotene Oral Rinse helps specifically for dry mouth, and also removes cavity causing plaque.
Brush with a Prescription Toothpaste – If your halitosis is due to having chronic dry mouth, we might suggest a prescription strength toothpaste that we can provide for you right here at our office. It will reduce your dry mouth symptoms that also promote bad breath, while protecting your teeth from cavities.
While bad breath is bad news for everyone, the good news is that you (and those around you) don’t have to live with it. We can help diagnose the cause and treat it. If you suspect that you might be dealing with bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away, no matter what you try, please call us for a consultation at (425) 957-4700 or request an appointment online.