November 12, 2018
All of us suffer from bad breath at one time or another. Common causes of this problem include spicy foods, tobacco products, and infrequent brushing or flossing. While most cases of halitosis require only simple self-care, persistent or severe bad breath may need treatment from a family dentist.
Common Causes of Halitosis
Some of the more likely sources of bad breath include:
- Brushing before, rather than after, meals. For example, many people brush as soon as they get up, and then go on to have breakfast. This can leave food particles stuck between your teeth, promoting bacteria growth and souring your breath.
- Eating strongly flavored foods. Garlic, onions and spicy dishes may delight your taste buds, but it can also make your breath something to dread.
- Dry mouth. When your body fails to produce enough saliva, bacteria can grow unchecked, affecting your breath.
- Certain health conditions. For example, diabetics sometimes develop “fruity” breath due to changes in their blood sugar levels. Other conditions that can lead to halitosis include gum disease, acid reflux, and sinus problems.
- Tobacco use. Smoking is notorious for causing bad breath.
- Improper brushing frequency or technique. Controlling bad breath takes a minimum of twice-daily brushings. It also requires proper brushing technique, including brushing your tongue.
How to Tame Your Halitosis
Most cases of bad breath can be controlled by simple self-care steps such as these:
- Watching what you eat. Try substituting less spicy foods for strongly flavored dishes. You can also finish each meal with a sprig of parsley, which freshens breath and is good for you.
- Brush and floss after each meal. Keeping your teeth clean benefits not only your health but your breath as well.
- Try sugar-free mints and gums. Not only can these products mask bad breath odors, they also encourage healthy saliva production.
- Treat your acid reflux symptoms. Your dentist can help by recommending medications or suggesting helpful lifestyle changes.
- Controlling your blood sugar. Talk to your regular physician or other healthcare professional about ways to keep your sugar levels in check.
- Stay away from tobacco products. Cigarettes, cigars, and chewing tobacco hurt not only your breath, but your overall health as well. Kicking the habit is challenging. But the benefits you’ll enjoy make the effort more than worthwhile. New medications can ease the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
When Bad Breath Turns Serious
Sometimes halitosis is a warning sign of a more serious underlying condition. See a healthcare professional right away if you notice any of the following problems:
- Bad breath accompanied by unexplained coughing or sore throat.
- Bad breath associated with changes in your bladder or bowel habits.
- Bad breath along with pain or sensitivity in your teeth or gums.
- Bad breath that continues after trying the self-care tips mentioned in this post.
Your dentist can give you more information for managing halitosis. Make an appointment with him or her today if you have any concerns about this common condition. Taking charge of your well-being is a sure way to put a smile on your face.
About the Author
Dr. Jacinthe Giroux is an expert on preventive dental care as well as an outstanding general dentist. Her expertise in oral health issues means that she’s able to address may causes of bad breath. You can reach her office online or by calling (781) 337-6644.
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