Bad breath (medically known as halitosis) is a very common, but very embarrassing dental problem that millions of Americans have at some point in their lives. Some of the most common “remedies” for bad breath actually make the problem worse. If you suffer from chronic halitosis, our cosmetic dentistry can treat your embarrassing problem.
An estimated 40 million Americans have chronic bad breath, and there is no cure for 90% of halitosis cases. However, with long-term management, this problem can be controlled with professional fresh breath treatment.
No matter how often you brush and floss, you may have had a loved one or friend tell you that you have bad breath. Don’t panic! This is a highly manageable dental problem that we see every day in our dental office. Many people erroneously believe that bad breath is due to lack of good dental hygiene. That is usually not the case. In fact, bad breath can be a sign of a serious medical disorder, and you may need the help of a medical doctor to get to the root cause of halitosis. After a thorough evaluation in our office, we will be able to suggest treatment options for you or we may recommend that you visit your general practitioner for a medical diagnosis.
Causes of Halitosis
The four most common causes of bad breath are as follows:
- Stomach problems
- Mouth and sinus ailments
- Missing teeth
In these four cases, regardless of how much you brush and floss, the bad breath will always be there. Treatment for bad breath is contingent upon the cause of the bad breath, and only an experienced cosmetic dentist can accurately diagnose the cause of your halitosis so you have come to the right place. The most common cause of chronic bad breath is bacteria in the mouth that produce sulfur-containing gases that give the mouth a “rotten-egg” smell. Definitely not a pleasant odor for your partner or colleagues to smell when in close proximity to you.
Treatment of Halitosis
Treatment for bad breath is usually simple; the real challenge lies in finding out what has caused the bad breath. Another problem is that people can become accustomed to their own breath, so they may not even be able to smell their own breath. This is when it is nice to have loved ones who can be honest with you and point out your problem. Since the causes of halitosis vary so much and some causes have to do with medical issues, we really cannot offer many “cures” here for this common problem. We can, however, offer some remedies for the problem that do work for some (but not for everyone):
- Brush your teeth and rinse your mouth after every single meal.
- Brush your tongue along with your teeth as the tongue is covered with tiny hairs that can trap and keep bacteria in place.
- Have regular check-ups with your dentist prevent gum disease and to correct any faulty restorations, overhanging fillings or leaking crowns. These problems can trap food in the mouth and lead to bacteria and a malodor.
- Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless lozenges as these products increase the flow of saliva.
- Drink lots of water.
- Avoid breath mints and mouthwashes that contain alcohol. Alcohol dries the mouth making it more conducive for bacteria growth.
- Snacking on vegetables such as raw celery or carrots can keep plaque from forming.
- Avoid smelly foods such as onions and garlic, especially before a big meeting or date.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption; both can dry the mouth, allowing bacteria to thrive.
- Quit smoking for all of the obvious reasons.
- Baking soda has a long history of being used to maintain good oral health and to fight halitosis.