No one is immune to bad breath. Regardless of your age, gender or ethnicity, you’re likely to experience foul breath odor on occasion. While morning breath and garlic breath are harmless and nearly unavoidable, if your bad breath becomes an ongoing problem, it may be time to talk to your dentist.
When stinky breath happens on a regular basis and seemingly without an obvious cause, it is called halitosis. While bad breath and halitosis are terms that are often used interchangeably, there are some technical and very important differences between the two. Not only can halitosis (frequent bad breath) impact your confidence in social situations, but it can also be an indicator that your oral health needs attention.
Identifying the Cause of Your Halitosis
If you are finding that your breath still smells bad shortly after brushing your teeth or without any likely culprit (like smoking, coffee, garlic), it is time to consider a deeper cause. When it comes to halitosis, these are typically causes that are rooted in your oral health. It stands to reason that when your gums or teeth are under attack, it produces a foul odor – perhaps to get attention or your mouth’s way of calling out for help.
Here are some oral health issues that may be triggering your chronic bad breath or halitosis:
- Poor Oral Hygiene. When lingering bacteria in our mouths feed on the sugars we consume, it produces a foul-smelling sulfur compound. Better brushing and flossing habits may be all you need to eliminate excess oral bacteria and regain fresher breath. Don’t forget to brush your tongue!
- Decay. When the combination of bacteria, plaque and sugars becomes advanced, it can eat away at the enamel of your teeth. While a small cavity is unlikely to produce bad breath, severe tooth decay can certainly trigger notable symptoms, including your daily breath odor.
- Gum Disease. If your bad breath is accompanied by red, puffy or bleeding gums, it may be these soft tissues of your mouth that need attention. Gum disease is a progressive oral health condition that needs to be treated promptly. In fact, bad breath could be the least of your worries if periodontal disease gets to its most advanced stages.
- Infection. If you have a dental abscess or other type of oral infection, it is likely to produce a strong and unpleasant odor. Infections of this nature need immediate treatment so that they do not compromise the health of your body.
- Dry Mouth. An inadequate amount of saliva in your mouth does more than make it uncomfortable to talk and swallow. Dry mouth is commonly linked to excess oral bacteria since there is not enough saliva to keep it at bay. This is why many people who suffer from dry mouth also suffer from halitosis.
How a Dentist Can Help Bad Breath
If you’re unable to blame your last meal or lapse in oral hygiene habits as the cause of your bad breath, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. While it may be tempting to keep popping breath mints or chewing gum to mask your bad breath, these methods may also be making your condition worse. At Grateful Dental, there is no reason to be embarrassed about your foul breath odor. We consider chronic bad breath as a dental symptom, just like sensitive teeth or puffy gums. More importantly, our dentist effectively treats halitosis on a regular basis.
How do we treat bad breath? Your solution to more confident breath is determined by what it is in your oral health that is triggering halitosis. For some, a thorough professional teeth cleaning is all that is needed to reverse halitosis. Others may need cavity repair, periodontal treatment, dry mouth remedies or other services in general dentistry to correct the problem.
At Grateful Dental, we recognize that a confident smile is a healthy smile. Please let us know at your next routine dental visit if you are concerned about frequent bad breath.