Bad Breath: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Bad breath can be quite embarrassing and may even lower your self-esteem. But the good news is bad breath can be easily treated.
Bad breath or Halitosis is often caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow inside the mouth. By not brushing and flossing regularly, bacteria accumulate on the food particles left in your mouth and between your teeth. These bacteria produce sulfur compounds that leave your mouth smelling bad.
What causes bad breath?
- Strong foods - Certain foods like onions and garlic can cause bad breath. The oils produced by these foods are absorbed and passed into your bloodstream. They travel to your lungs and cause the bad breath in your mouth. This foul smell can last up to 72 hours.
- Smoking- Smoking is a major cause of bad breath. Smoking also dries out your mouth, making things worse.
- Sinus and other conditions – Bad breath can develop if you have an infection in your upper or lower respiratory system, postnasal drainage, a sinus infection, or chronic bronchitis.
- Dry mouth – If your mouth does not produce enough saliva, a bad breath problem is bound to occur. Saliva helps to clean and wash away any food particles present in your mouth, thereby reducing bad odor.
How to diagnose bad mouth odor?
To diagnose bad breath, your dentist will ask you questions regarding your oral health, food intake, diseases or allergies, and medications, if any.
Your dentist will diagnose your nose, tongue, and mouth to understand your problem better. There are advanced detectors to help in identifying the chemicals responsible for bad breath.
If your mouth or teeth is not the source of bad odor, then the dentist will advise you to visit your family doctor to rule out any possibilities of an underlying condition or disease.
Bad breath treatment
- Brushing and flossing: To prevent bad breath, the best thing to do is regular brushing and flossing. Brush twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Flossing removes food particles and plaque between your teeth.
- Scrape your tongue – Use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue as bacteria usually grows on its surface. It is beneficial for those who have a dry mouth or smoke excessively.
- Healthy diet – Eat healthy food, especially crunchy vegetables, and nuts. Drink a lot of
water. Avoid sugary food and drinks.
- Clean your dentures – If you have dentures or wear a bridge, clean them thoroughly, once a day. If you wear a mouth guard or a dental retainer, clean it before putting it in your mouth.
- Chew gums – If you have dry mouth, try chewing sugarless gum, it stimulates saliva and keeps the bad breath away.
- Healthy gums – Gently massage your gums with a soft-bristled brush to keep them healthy. Bad breath is often caused by gum disease. Gum disease causes gums to pull away from your teeth, leaving spaces filled with odor-causing bacteria. Visit a periodontist in such a case for treatment.
Follow these remedies to easily cure bad breath. If the odor persists, then visit your dentist in Ames. Ames dentistry offers the best treatment for your mouth and teeth. Half-yearly dental checkups are advised to maintain healthy teeth and gums.