BAD BREATH – HALITOSIS

 

Halitosis can be embarrassing. Did you know…80 million people suffer from chronic bad breath. It remains one of the top 5 most common reasons to visit the dentist!

Although it is often caused by oral problems; typically originating from the gums and tongue, other causes are associated with other health problems; and it can be a sign of serious disease:

  • About 85% of people with persistent bad breath have a dental condition that is to blame
  • About 5 -10% of causes are due to disease outside of the mouth. 

WHAT CAUSES BAD BREATH?

  • The Food We Eat & Digestion – Yes, what you eat can adversely affect your breath. Odors from garlic, onions, cabbage, and certain spices may result in halitosis when the suspected food is absorbed into the blood stream after digestion. When the blood has transferred to the lungs, the smell of the food is evident when you exhale.
  • Infrequent Brushing & Flossing – When the food we eat is left behind either because it is trapped in hard to reach places such as the  wisdom teeth , the tiny hair-like follicles on the tongue, or simply because brushing and flossing is neglected, it begins to decay in your mouth. The human body is 98.6 degrees, an ideal temperature for food to decompose and then for you to exhale the offensive odor. 

  • Oral Diseases & Infections – Periodontal Disease is directly related to improper or neglected brushing and flossing. One major sign of this potentially irreversible oral disease is halitosis. The accumulation of plaque, bacteria, and decomposing food particles contribute to bad breath as they destroy the delicate tissue that surrounds our teeth.
  • Dry Mouth – Saliva naturally cleanses the mouth and helps prevent cavities. If you are experiencing dry mouth, bad breath may occur because the food particles remain trapped in the mouth due to the lack of saliva not washing them away. This leads to the unpleasant smell when you exhale.
  • Cigarette Smoking – The smoke produced from a cigarette is inhaled into the lungs and exhaled through the nose and mouth. This causes an immediate effect on your breath because the chemicals and residue from the smoke remain in your mouth and airways. Continued use of cigarettes contributes to periodontal disease.
  • Medical Conditions – Unexplained or chronic bad breath may be an indication of an underlying medical condition or disease.

WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?

In order to treat bad breath, we have to first identify the root cause. If it’s a short-term problem, take comfort in employing a short-term solution. If your bad breath is the result of food particles or dry mouth, stimulate saliva production to help wash away bacteria and freshen breath. Chew some sugar-free gum, or rinse with an alcohol free mouthwash which helps wash away the germs and bacteria contributing to bad breath. There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about; your overall health could be at risk. 

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