Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is breath that has an unpleasant odor.This odor can strike periodically or be persistent, depending on the cause. In many people, the millions of bacteria that live in the mouth (particularly on the back of the tongue) are the primary causes of bad breath. The mouth’s warm, moist conditions make an ideal environment for these bacteria to grow. Most bad breath is caused by
something in the mouth.
Bad breath can be caused by any of the following:
Infrequent or improper brushing and flossing can leave food particles to decay inside the mouth.
Periodontal (gum) disease
Throat infections, sinus infections, lung infections
Garlic, onions, coffee, cigarette smoking, chewing tobacco
This can be caused by salivary gland problems,medications or by “mouth breathing”.
Diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, lung disease, sinus disease, reflux disease and others.
This is considered to be fairly normal and it is usually not a health concern. It occurs because the saliva that regularly washes away decaying food and odors during the daytime diminishes at night while you sleep. Your mouth becomes dry, and dead cells adhere to your tongue and to the inside of your cheeks. Bacteria use these cells for food and expel compounds that have a foul odor.
We will review your medical history, your diet, personal habits (smoking, chewing tobacco) and also examine your teeth, gums, oral tissues and salivary glands.
How long bad breath lasts depends on its cause. For example, when the problem results from poor dental hygiene, proper dental care will begin to freshen the mouth immediately, with even more impressive results after a few days of regular brushing and flossing.Periodontal disease and tooth abscess also respond quickly to proper dental treatment.Bad breath that results from a systemic illness may be a long-term problem that can often be controlled with proper medical care.
The treatment of bad breath depends on its cause.If poor oral hygiene is the cause, we will thoroughly clean your teeth and gums,
supragingival as well as deep subgingival scaling and curettage will be done, to completely eliminate all the plaque, tartar, etc which have accumulated over a period of time due to poor oral hygiene.
The following steps can help you improve or prevent bad breath:
- Brush your teeth twice daily – This removes the accumulated plaque and food particles.
- Floss at least once a day – Proper flossing removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth.
- Brush your tongue – Giving your tongue a good brushing removes dead cells, bacteria and food debris. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush your tongue with at least five to 15 strokes. Pay particular attention to the middle third of the tongue, where most of the bacteria tend to collect.
- Clean your dentures well – If you wear a bridge or a partial or complete denture, clean it thoroughly at least once a day or as directed by your dentist.
- Drink plenty of water – To keep your mouth moist, be sure to consume plenty of water —not coffee, soft drinks or alcohol. Chewing gum (preferably sugarless) or sucking on candy (preferably sugarless) also stimulates saliva, washing away food particles and bacteria. If you have chronic dry mouth, your dentist or doctor may additionally prescribe an artificial saliva preparation or an oral medication that stimulates the flow of saliva.
- Use a fairly new toothbrush – Change your toothbrush every three to four months, and choose a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Schedule regular dental checkups – At least twice a year, see your dentist to have your teeth or dentures examined and cleaned.
You can teach your school-age children to brush and floss their teeth regularly and to brush their tongues to prevent bad breath.