Though it’s not unusual in small, isolated instances (like in the morning), persistent bad breath is often a telltale symptom of poor dental hygiene. Since it can also indicate a number of dental and health issues, treating halitosis is usually different for everyone. Treatment can range from improving your dental hygiene to receiving complex restorative treatment to restore your smile’s good health, depending on the exact cause of your bad breath.
The Process of Elimination
You might not know that your chronic bad breath, or halitosis, is a symptom of a dental disease until you visit your dentist for a comprehensive checkup. Even before a dental infection develops, however, the masses of bacteria that dwell in your mouth can overwhelm your oral tissues, and your breath, if your hygiene routine isn’t up to par. The most effective method of preventing bad breath, as well as other bacteria-induced dental conditions, is to eliminate excessive bacteria and the plaque they form. Dr. Fondriest advises carefully brushing and flossing bacterial plaque from on and between your teeth twice or more a day, and attending a dental checkup and cleaning at least once every six months.
Halitosis is most-often a dental condition, though not always. Even if it does originate in your mouth, it can result from a wide variety of different issues, including;
- Tooth decay—as the disease that leads to cavities (holes in your teeth), tooth decay describes a bacterial infection that eats away at your tooth’s structure. As it progresses, the infection can release chemicals that cause your breath to smell less-than-fresh.
- Gum disease—gum disease is also a common dental infection, though not as common as cavities. When germs gather along your gum line, they can irritate the tissue until it begins to separate from your teeth, creating pockets to house more bacteria. When your gums are infected, they can exhibit a number of symptoms, including redness, swelling, and bleeding, along with chronic bad breath.
- Dry mouth—saliva is your mouth’s natural defense mechanisms against gathering oral bacteria, which are largely anaerobic (thrive without oxygen). Dry mouth indicates a condition where your saliva flow is significantly reduced or stopped due to medications, a health condition, or a number of other reasons. As your mouth dries out, bacteria can gather in force, leading to bad breath and an increased risk of cavities or gum disease.
How to Eliminate Bad Breath
Like most dental treatments, curing bad breath depends on what’s causing it. If your problem runs deeper than just bacteria accumulation, then you may require professional treatment. In most cases, however, you may be able to improve your bad breath with a few tips, such as;
- Brush your tongue—the bacteria that cause bad breath by releasing volatile sulfur compounds tend to cling to the surface of your tongue. When brushing and flossing your teeth, use your toothbrush or a tongue-scraper to clean the top, sides, and bottom of your tongue of malodorous microbes.
- Floss first, then brush—many people floss their teeth after brushing; however, the bacteria and food debris that you pluck from between your teeth can linger in your mouth afterwards. Dr. Fondriest advises flossing first, then brushing, to ensure that you completely rid your mouth of food particles and bacteria.
- Stick to your routine of checkups & cleanings—even the most diligent tooth brushing and flossing routine isn’t a guarantee against bad breath and dental disease development. Effective dental care requires routine checkups and cleanings at least once every six months, or more often if specifically recommended. If you happen to miss the six-month mark, then call our office as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.
About Your Lake Forest Dentist:
Aside from providing expert family, general, and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds highly-respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, and knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from all surrounding communities. To schedule your consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.