If you are not keeping up with your daily brushing and flossing regimen, you increase the risk of developing oral health problems like gum disease and bad breath. Bad breath can be a result of poor dental hygiene but can also be a sign of other health problems. The medical term for bad breath is halitosis. You may need to work with a qualified dental professional for halitosis treatment and to restore or improve your overall oral health.
Bad Breath from Food
In some cases, bad breath is just a side effect of eating foods with very strong odors, such as garlic, onions, cheese, fish, and spicy foods. Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash after eating these foods can mask the odor temporarily but your bad breath will not go away completely until the foods have passed through your body.
Bad Breath from Poor Oral Hygiene
For many people, bacterial growth between the teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue is the primary cause of bad breath. If you are not brushing and flossing regularly, using a tongue scraper to keep your tongue clean, and using an antibacterial mouth rinse on a daily basis, your mouth could be full of bacteria that will cause bad breath.
Lifestyle Habits Causing Bad Breath
In addition to poor oral hygiene, your daily habits and lifestyle could be contributing to halitosis. If you smoke or chew tobacco-based products, you may always have bad breath. Smoking and chewing tobacco-based products can also affect your taste buds and cause gum irritation.
Bad Breath from Gum Disease
Persistent bad breath is one of the signs of gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease. When there is excessive plaque buildup on the teeth, the bacteria will create toxins in the mouth and will eventually start to irritate the gums before breaking down the gum tissue and jawbone. When there is a living infection growing and spreading in your mouth, you may have very noticeable bad breath.
Other Causes of Bad Breath
Some other causes of bad breath include:
• Yeast infections of the mouth
• Cavities (dental caries)
• Poorly-fitting dental appliances
• Dry mouth
• Illnesses and diseases such as chronic sinus infections, respiratory tract infections, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems
Preventing Bad Breath
The best things you can do to prevent halitosis are to see your dentist regularly for cleanings and make sure you get periodontal disease treatment as early as possible. Other ways to prevent bad breath:
• Practice good oral hygiene by brushing teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly
• Have teeth professionally cleaned according to your treatment plan
• Stop smoking or chewing tobacco-based products
• Stimulate saliva flow in the mouth by drinking lots of water, chewing gum, or sucking on sugar-free candy
• Maintain a food log to identify any foods with strong odors
If you are self-conscious or concerned about bad breath, set up a consultation with your dentist. Your dentist will create a treatment plan to address bad breath symptoms and also determine whether any gum disease treatment is necessary to improve your oral health.