Suffering from bad breath, or Halitosis, is a potentially embarrassing situation. It is quite possible that you may not even realize that you have bad breath. However, it is almost impossible to not have bad breath at one point or another—in particular when you wake up in the morning.
Bad breath can be a result of numerous things. If you are healthy, however, your bad breath is likely the result of microbial deposits on your tongue. There are studies that show that simply brushing your tongue can reduce bad breath by as much as 70%.
What are some causes of bad breath?
- When you wake up in the morning: Saliva is one of our greatest protectors against bad breath. While we sleep, the flow of saliva in our mouths almost completely stops. When your saliva stops, it has a reduced cleaning effect and permits bacteria to grow and cause bad breath.
- Consuming certain foods: Eating foods like garlic, onions, and the like, can all be a cause of bad breath. These foods contain compounds that cause a foul odor. The compounds enter your blood stream and are transferred to your lungs, where they are exhaled.
- Bad oral hygiene: If you do not thoroughly brush and floss your teeth, and use mouthwash, food particles remain in your mouth and cause bacterial growth.
- Gum (periodontal) disease: If your gums are inflamed as with periodontal disease, your gums can offer a safe harbor where bacteria and food particles can reside.
- Tooth Decay: Caused by bacteria, tooth decay develops when your teeth (typically your back molars) are not cleaned when brushing.
-Dry mouth: Sometimes referred to as xerostomia, dry mouth can be a result from many different factors. If you suffer from dry mouth, you will have inadequate salivary flow, and will be unable to keep your mouth healthy and free from odor.
- Dieting: When your body is burning fat, a chemical called ketones is released and causes bad breath.
- Dehydration and missing meals: As we have stated a few times above, saliva is a key defense against bad breath. If you are not drinking enough water your mouth will dry out. Additionally, if you miss meals, or are not eating often enough, your mouth will not produce as much saliva. Chewing on food actually stimulates your salivary glands.
If you want to identify what causes your bad breath, we suggest starting a food log, identifying what medications you take, noting any recent procedures as well as any illness that you may be suffering from.
Is there anything I can do to treat my bad breath?
- Focus on practicing good oral hygiene: It is critical to brush your teeth twice per day. It is also important to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and a toothbrush that has bristles that are not too stiff. Flossing is critical in removing particles of food and plaque from your teeth and mouth. Don’t forget about your tongue either; brushing or using a tongue scraper will suffice. If you have dentures or bridges, you should clean them thoroughly overnight and replace them in the morning.
- Keep your routine dental appointments: Yes, you still need to visit the dentist twice per year. We cannot stress this enough. Your routine visits will keep your mouth healthy, save you from unnecessary time and treatment, and eliminate many causes of bad breath.
- Quit using tobacco: We can offer some helpful hints and tips to kick the habit!
- Drink more water: Increasing your water intake will keep your mouth from drying out. Additionally, tap water contains fluoride as an added bonus.
If you have tried the above, and have not solved the problem behind your bad breath, we can treat most cases. If we find that your mouth is healthy, we may need to refer you to a physician to make a determination about what might be causing your bad breath.