Bad breath can happen to anyone. In fact, studies show that 50 percent of adults – and those are just the honest ones – admit to having had bad breath, clinically known as halitosis, at some point in their lives.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There are a variety of reasons you might have bad breath. While most of these causes are more or less harmless, some can be a warning of something more serious.
Our mouths are full of bacteria that naturally live in this dark wet environment, feeding on food particles. Although harmless to us, the digestive processes of these bacteria leaves behind a foul-smelling waste product that causes bad breath.
Your mouth may not be producing enough saliva to thoroughly clean it. If you don’t have enough saliva, your mouth and teeth aren’t being cleaned as much as they should be. Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medications, untreated salivary gland issues or due to breathing through your mouth. Keeping properly hydrated is an important step to take to prevent a dry mouth. Doctors suggest drinking 2 liters of water, or eight 8 ounce bottles per day to prevent dehydration.
Persistent bad breath that won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease. Gum disease is when sticky cavity-causing plaque is allowed to harden on your teeth causing your gums to become infected and inflamed.
While it makes sense that gum disease and other mouth infections can cause bad breath, other medical conditions can also cause it. If your dentist has ruled out other dental or oral health issues and you brush and floss every day, your halitosis could be the result of another problem, such as a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
Brush and Floss
Brushing twice daily and flossing between your teeth daily can help you to rid your mouth of bacteria that are causing your bad breath.
Take Care of Your Tongue
You may notice a white or brown coating at the back of your mouth on your tongue when you stick it out. That’s the area where most of the bacteria that cause bad breath can be found. Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clean them off your tongue.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can kill some of the bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. However, this solution is only temporary. The longer you wait between brushing and flossing, the more likely your breath will be offensive.
Keep Saliva In Your Mouth
Eat healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables, that require a lot of chewing. Carrots or apples are good examples. Also, be sure to stay hydrated to keep plenty of saliva in your mouth. You can chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candies to help with this. Your dentist may also prescribe artificial saliva if these quick fixes do not help.
Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Dentist
If you’re in the Bala Cynwyd area of Philadelphia, PA and you’re concerned about what might be causing your bad breath, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Weinstock. Regular check-ups will help Dr. Weinstock to spot any impending problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your mouth is healthy but you still have bad breath, you may be referred to your primary care doctor for a health examination. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Weinstock, call (215) 857-8054 or make an appointment online.