“What Crawled in There and Died?”

August 27, 2014

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Halitosis!  Some may not know that this word is the specific medical term for bad breath.  Yet it still holds an ominous ring to it.  Halitosis, to be sure, is an unpleasant condition that is cause for embarrassment in many.

If you are concerned about bad breath or you have reason to think you have bad breath, start by understanding that there are a number of sources.  Then ask your dentist.  We can help alleviate your fears and/or identify the cause and determine the best treatment.

What causes bad breath?

Foods – What you eat affects the air you exhale.  Think garlic and onions.  If you don’t brush and floss effectively, particles of food can remain in your mouth collecting bacteria, which leads then to bad breath. 

Gum disease – Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth can also be a warning sign of gum disease.  Ineffective brushing and flossing can lead to food accumulation, to an accumulation of plaque, then to inflammation of your gums, tartar or calculus, then bone loss and more inflammation and infection of your gums.  Yuck!

Dry mouth – This occurs when the flow of saliva decreases and can be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems, and mouth breathing.  Without enough saliva flow food particles are not washed away.  Gum inflammation can result.

Smoking and tobacco – In addition to staining teeth and being bad for overall health, tobacco can reduce your ability to overcome gum disease and can lead to its  inflammation, and thereby bad breath.

Medical conditions – Some diseases have symptoms related to bad breath.  Sinusitis or lung infections, bronchitis, diabetes, and some liver or kidney diseases can cause bad breath.  A physician may be needed for diagnosis and treatment of oral systemic conditions.

Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating gum disease, and scheduling regular professional cleanings and exams are essential to reducing bad breath.  Most mouthwashes are purely cosmetic and only mask the odor temporarily. Make an appointment to schedule a cleaning and exam, and discuss with us what may be the root of bad breath for you.

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