Do you occasionally have halitosis? Do you frequently catch yourself having to do a sniff test, to see if your breath smells bad? Most people want to have minty fresh breath, but not all realize that bad breath could be much more than just a superficial problem. Chronic halitosis could actually be a warning sign of an underlying health problem, such as gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, or even a tooth infection. So, if your breath is consistently in need of freshening, put down the mouthwash or breath mints. Now is the time to talk to your dentist about whether your oral health is causing the bad breath, and if so, how your smile can be protected and your breath can be improved.
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 nasty breath 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 mouth odors.
Chronic Halitosis Can Be a Symptom of an Underlying Oral Health Problem
Like chronic dry mouth, which can contribute to increased acid erosion, chronic halitosis is often the result of an underlying issue, such as a tooth infection or even gingivitis, which is the first stage of gum disease, a dangerous health condition which affects millions of Americans.
When halitosis is a regular problem
While occasional halitosis is no reason to be concerned, if you notice you have had bad breath for several weeks, consistently, or suddenly notice your breath smelling different or worse, it is best to schedule a dental appointment, to determine if there is an oral health threat causing the changes.
In some cases, your breath can even be a warning sign of a health condition. Diabetes, for instance, can cause changes to the breath.
In the mean time, we would suggest ramping up your hygiene. Pick a quality toothbrush and learn how to brush your teeth the right way. So few actually are shown by their hygienists. Also learn how to floss properly. Also consider tongue scrapers which have been shown to be the most effective means of removing bacteria from the tongue.
Caring for Your Teeth and Gums Can Help Halitosis
A simple preventive dental cleaning could be all your smile needs, to restore its health. However, in many cases restorative treatment or gum therapy might be needed to best improve the smile’s health.
The Process of Elimination
You might not know that your chronic 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 mouth. Breath odors develop if your hygiene routine isn’t up to par. The most effective method of preventing nasty 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.
Most common things that contribute to bad breath
Foul mouth odors are 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 causes a bad smell.
- Gum disease—periodontal 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 nasty breath and an increased risk of cavities or gum disease.
How to eliminate halitosis
Like most dental treatments, curing foul odors 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 nasty breath with a few tips, such as;
- Brush your tongue—the bacteria that cause halitosis 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 with a good brush. Learn the choices of toothbrushes. 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 foul 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.
Learn more about the common causes for halitosis
If you commonly have nasty breath, it is important to identify what is causing it. Aside from providing expert 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 a former Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. 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.