Causes and Ways To Prevent Bad Breath
The following are causes of bad breath:
- Any food stuck in your teeth. It will decay and give off an odor.
- Some foods such as onions, garlic, spices and herbs. They contain substances that create bad breath when digested.
- Alcoholic beverages. Alcohol, itself, is odorless, but many alcoholic beverages contain ingredients that leave a telltale odor.
- Periodontal (gum) diseases and canker sores.
- Diseases of the lung, kidney, liver, stomach and pancreas.
- Sinus infections, strep throat, tonsillitis and mononucleosis.
- Smoking. This dries the mouth and causes an odor of its own.
- Severe dieting.
- Coffee and other caffeinated beverages can cause bad breath, due to the dehydrating effects of caffeine which reduces saliva production indirectly. That in turn leads to cavities and worsening periodontal health.
Here are some ways to prevent bad breath:
- Brush your teeth after you eat.
- If you wear a denture, clean it at least once a day.
- Floss daily or use another interdental cleaner such as a high-power electric toothbrush.
- Brush your tongue, which can collect bacteria and food particles.
- Drink water to moisten your mouth.
- Chew sugarless gum. It stimulates saliva production and collects debris.
- Buy a new toothbrush several times annually.
- Get a dental examination.
>Mouthwashes and breath-fresheners of all kinds mask odors for a while; they are not preventives, nor are they curatives. In other words a breath mint will not remove the cause. They will remove the symptom. When the breath mint effects wear off 15 mins later, the bad breath will return because the cause has not been treated. Many antiseptic mouth rinses, however, have been accepted by the American Dental Association for their therapeutic benefits and also have breath- freshening properties. These rinses kill the germs that cause bad breath instead of simply hiding halitosis. Remember to look for the ADA seal of approval. The seal means that the ADA dentists agree that the research on the product actually does what it states.
At times, most of us worry about having bad breath. It’s no surprise that there are so many products out there to combat the problem. But, those of us who worry about it usually are doing something to prevent it. Bad breath is found more often in people who neither know nor care that they have it.
This brings me to a condition worth mentioning. There is a psychiatric condition called “delusional halitosis.” This is linked to depression. One patient with this delusion used up a tube of toothpaste every four days.
I read another study which demonstrated that the people who try to smell their own breath tend to think their breath smells worse than it does. Best advice I found was to ask a family member or good friend to give you an accurate assessment.
Remember our patients are always welcome to stop in for a quick exam/check-up.