You’re at an office happy hour, PTA meeting, or your local grocery and you can’t help but notice that, no matter how many times you approach someone, they take a step back. It occurs to you that they may be reacting to (*GASP*) your breath! You slip off to the restroom and do the test: you cup your hand over your mouth and nose then exhale forcefully as you inhale. This age-old diagnostic tool confirms that you have horrible halitosis. You haven’t eaten anything offensive recently, so what could be causing your offensive oral aroma? At Marcus Dental Practice, we want you to be fully informed about the causes of bad breath as well as possible treatments.
The Reasons Behind Bad Breath
Bad breath is fairly common, which means that there are many potential causes, such as:
- Bacteria — The warm humidity of your mouth creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. While your mouth is host to both good and bad bacteria, the bad bacteria can overtake the good, leading to bad breath.
- Gum Disease — This is also a bacteria issue. When you have gum disease, plaque and bacteria collect beneath the gum line, making them hard reach. As the bacteria accumulates, a sulfur-like smell is produced. You may also experience a foul taste that is difficult to escape.
- Tonsil Stones — If you still have your tonsils, you’re susceptible to tonsil stones. These pale-yellow stones occur when the debris, bacteria, and mucus in your mouth calcify in the tiny pockets of your tonsils where they emit a terrible smell.
- Dry Mouth — Saliva is nature’s liquid gold; not only does it help with digestion, it also helps naturally rid your mouth of microscopic food particles and bacteria. If you tend to snore at night or are on certain medications, dry mouth could be the reason behind your bad breath.
No Need to Feel Defeated
If your bad breath is chronic, it’s likely that you’ll need to be diagnosed and treated by a dentist. In the meantime, there are interventions that you can use at home, including:
- Brushing and Flossing — The key to preventing tooth decay and gum disease is brushing after every meal and flossing AT LEAST once a day; if you favor foods that tend to stick between your teeth or on the chewing surfaces of your molars, then you may need to brush and floss with more frequency. Regardless, having clean teeth is the easiest way to prevent bad breath.
- Clean the Back of Your Tongue — The conditions in the back of your mouth create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria! To minimize your chances of bad breath, brush the back of your tongue every time you brush your teeth or use a tongue scraper as part of your daily dental health routine.
- Drink Water — In the absence of saliva, water can help with dry mouth, flush out food particles and bacteria, and rinse away the debris that leads to tonsil stones. If dry mouth is a persistent problem, consider using a mouthwash intended to relieve symptoms of dry mouth and avoid toothpastes with sodium lauryl sulfate, which tends to amplify dry mouth.
If you live near the Chicago Loop and fear that you have chronic bad breath, let us help! Contact our office today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you have the smile (and breath) you’ve always wanted.