Make Bad Breath a Thing of the Past
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, can be embarrassing and cause a lack of confidence. While gum, mouthwash, and other products can help, they are temporary solutions that don’t resolve the root cause of bad breath.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath can be caused by a variety of factors, including particular foods, smoking, health concerns, and poor oral hygiene.
- Bacteria build up on the teeth, tongue and/or dentures
Food particles can break down and be stuck in and around your teeth, causing a build-up of bacteria and a bad odor. Without brushing and flossing every day, these food particles remain in your mouth. Bacteria on your tongue can become trapped and cause bad odors. Certain foods such as onions, garlic and spices can cause bad breath too.
Dentures can be a cause of bad breath if they aren’t regularly cleaned or if they don’t fit properly. The result is a build-up of odor-causing bacteria and food particles.
- Dry mouth
Saliva works to remove particles that cause bad odors. Dry mouth, a condition in which the production of saliva is decreased, can lead to bad breath. This is a natural condition when you sleep, which is why we get “morning breath.” This condition is worse if you sleep with your mouth open.
Chronic dry mouth is a problem that can be caused if there is a problem with your salivary glands. In other cases, certain diseases cause dry mouth. Some medications contribute to dry mouth, resulting in bad breath.
- Infections and other health conditions
Areas of the mouth can become infected after oral surgery or because of mouth sores or tooth decay.
Bad breath can also stem from small stones that form in the tonsils. These are covered with bacteria that produce a bad odor.
Infections and chronic inflammation in the mouth, nose, or throat contribute to postnasal drip, which also causes bad breath.
Chronic acid reflux, called GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), and other diseases can cause bad breath.
How can you get rid of bad breath?
There are some key ways that you can fight bad breath on your own. These include the following:
- Practice good oral hygiene
To improve bad breath, it’s important to brush your teeth after you eat and floss at least once a day. While brushing your teeth, also brush your tongue to clear away bacteria there.
If you have dentures or dental appliances, ensure they fit properly. Keep them clean and free of bacteria.
Schedule regular dental checkups to have your teeth and dentures professionally examined and cleaned.
- Avoid dry mouth
Stay hydrated and don’t smoke to help you avoid dry mouth. Chewing gum can also help to stimulate saliva. If your dry mouth is chronic, we can help by prescribing an artificial saliva preparation or oral medication.
Your breath evaluation at Hardin Dentistry
To help get to the bottom of bad breath, we will start with an evaluation of your oral health and medical history and ask questions to help determine what might be causing the concern.
We will evaluate the breath that comes from your mouth and the breath that comes from your nose and rate the odor of this breath on a scale. The back of the tongue will be scraped, as it is often the source of the bad smell. The odor of the sample from the back of your tongue will also be rated on a scale.
We will want to know when you first started having bad breath, how consistent your bad breath is, and what your oral health habits are (flossing, brushing, frequency of cleaning your dentures). We will look into which medications and supplements you take and any health conditions or sinus problems. We will also look into your breathing, determining whether you breathe through your mouth and if you snore.
Treatments for bad breath at Hardin Dentistry
In addition to helping with oral hygiene remedies at home, such as anti-bacterial mouthwashes and cleaning agents, we will treat dental disease, which is often the cause of bad breath. Professional cleaning is required to treat gum disease. We will evaluate your tooth restorations or dentures, which can also be breeding grounds for bacteria.
For chronic dry mouth, we will prescribe an oral medication to stimulate saliva or an artificial saliva preparation.