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Bad breath is so widespread that it affects about 1 in 4 people around the world. While the most common cause is a lack of oral hygiene, there can be other factors at play. Because of this, our Cadillac dentists are committed to helping you determine why your breath is less than stellar.
Here are 5 reasons why you may have, or halitosis, and what you can do to get rid of the smell.
What is Halitosis?
In the medical field, bad breath is known as. This commonly shared condition can result from a range of causes such as poor oral hygiene habits and diet. Certain lifestyle choices, like smoking, can also exacerbate current bad breath and make it harder to treat.
Some cases of halitosis can be simple to remedy at home while more severe instances can hint at an underlying disease. Oftentimes, those will require medical intervention either by a family physician or our dentists. If you feel as though you have tried everything, please contact our Cadillac dental office and we’ll get to the bottom of your bad breath.
Bad Breath Can Occur Because Of:
1. Recently Eaten Foods
A major culprit of bad breath is food. Depending on what you’ve eaten recently, the smell could linger for hours and brushing your teeth only masks the odor temporarily. The source of the bad breath is generally linked to the type of food and its breakdown in your mouth.
When you eat something, the food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria buildup and cause an unpleasant smell. Digesting the food also results in them entering your bloodstream and being carried to your lungs which can affect your breath.
Common foods that can give you lasting bad breath include:
- Onions, garlic, and spices
- Dairy products like milk or cheese
- Cured meats like pastrami or pepperoni
- Canned fish
- Peanut Butter
2. Neglected Oral Hygiene and Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Another reason for foul-smelling breath can be your lack of oral hygiene. Even if you brush and floss every day, there is a chance you may not be cleaning thoroughly. This inattention or improper technique can unfortunately lead to the development of gum disease and worse breath.
Without daily brushing and flossing, food particles sit in your mouth and promote bacterial growth in between teeth, around your gums, and on the tongue. When plaque forms on your teeth and is not cleaned, inflammation of the gums can occur, and deep pockets will form between the teeth and gums. Eventually this can transform into early-stage gingivitis, or severe periodontitis down the road.
Our dentists recommend that you brush at least twice a day and floss once daily. Be sure to use a fluoride toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush. You can also integrate a mouthwash into your oral care routine.
In addition to cleaning your teeth and gums, you shouldn’t forget to brush your tongue. Bacteria located on your tongue can contribute to bad breath so it should be adequately cleared off when brushing.
3. Prolonged or Occasional Dry Mouth
Many people take the saliva in their mouth for granted but when it’s gone, issues can arise. Saliva helps to cleanse the mouth and remove food particles that cause less than desirable odors.
If you have dry mouth, there is much less natural saliva produced than normal and bad breath can occur. This condition can happen during sleep or may be the result of disease and medication. Ask our dentists today about treating dry mouth.
4. Medical Conditions Related to Nose, Throat, or Mouth
Certain infections or inflammation present in the nose, sinuses, or throat can cause post-nasal drip and subsequently, bad breath. Also, small stones covered with bacteria, known as tonsil stones, can form in the tonsils and produce a bad smell. The “stones” typically fall out themselves and are harmless but if you’re concerned, feel free to ask our dentists or your primary physician.
5. Underlying Disease
The chemicals produced by some forms of cancer and metabolic disorders can result in a distinctive breath smell. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also be linked with bad breath due to the chronic reflux of stomach acids.
If regular oral hygiene and professional teeth cleanings with our dentists every 3-6 months do not treat your breath problems, you may need to visit your doctor to investigate possible disease.
How You Can Fight Bad Breath
Aside from regular check-in appointments with our dentists, there are ways that you can fight bad breath at home. Reduce or prevent odors by:
- Practicing good oral hygiene every day
- Refraining from smoking or using chewing tobacco
- Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your mouth moist
- Eating a healthy diet that includes fruits and vegetables
- Treating cavities or gum disease promptly
Schedule a Cleaning Today
Our dentists in Cadillac, MI, know how frustrating it can be to deal with stubborn bad breath. That’s why, on top of a cleaning, we will do all that we can to find the root cause of your halitosis and recommend appropriate treatment. Call LifeSmiles Dentistry at (231) 775-8281 to request an appointment today.