Bad Breath – Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Bad Breath Causes, Prevention and Treatment
Everyone at some point in his or her lives has likely had the embarrassing problem of bad breath. Luckily for most people it is not a chronic condition and can be rectified easily. Most of the time bad breath comes from bacteria, which tends to thrive in dark, oxygen deprived environments.

There are a variety of conditions that cause bacteria build up that lead to bad breath.

  • Poor oral hygiene – When someone does not brush or floss regularly, plaque can build up in the mouth. Bacteria thrives in this environment and if left untreated can lead to gingivitis.
  • Ignoring the tongue – The tongue harbors bacteria and food particles trapped under a layer of mucus.
  • Tooth decay or periodontal disease – These conditions cause bad breath because not only are dead cells (caused by the diseases) metabolized by anaerobic bacteria, but also living tissues and bone are eaten away by the bacteria, producing large amounts of odor causing compounds.
  • Illness – Potent breath can signal certain illnesses such as kidney failure, diabetes and respiratory tract infections.
  • Medications – Some medications react with the body’s chemistry in a way that can increase bad breath. Also, some medications like diuretics and antidepressants can dry the mouth, which encourages bad breath.
  • Diet – Low carb, high protein diets cause your body to burn fat instead of carbs for fuel, triggering ketosis, a chemical reaction that leaves your breath smelling slightly sulfuric. Also, skipping meals, or going hungry causes the same reaction. Saliva flow decreases and therefore it cannot wash away odor-causing bacteria.
  • Food – Foods such as curry, fish, coffee or garlic can leave a lingering smell. Other food may get stuck between the teeth, promoting the growth of bacteria.
  • Smoking – In addition to causing bad breath, smoking or chewing tobacco can yellow the teeth, and lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Bad Breath Prevention and Treatment

Most of the time you can get rid of bad breath on your own without having to visit the dentist.

  • A sound oral hygiene routine. This includes brushing with a fluoride tooth paste and flossing twice a day.
  • Until you learn how to clean your tongue, you may not be able to get rid of lingering bad breath. Brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. If a brush is ineffective in removing film from the tongue, use a tongue scraper.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and eat regularly.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Use a mouthwash for temporary relief of bad breath. Swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
  • Avoid eating foods such as onions or garlic. If you do, chew a sprig of parsley soon after to help neutralize the odor and/or chew a piece of sugar-free gum
  • Visit the dentist regularly to make sure you do not have any underlying oral issues.

If bad breath persists, the cause may be related to periodontal disease, or another serious issue that needs immediate medical attention. In this case please contact your dentist to seek treatment as soon as possible. Contact Delicate Smiles Dental with any questions you may have by calling (303)-340-3330 or schedule an appointment!