Bad breath is a fact of life, but one that can be particularly inconvenient when you’re heading into a job interview, meeting up with a date, or just talking with friends. Mints and gum can mask bad breath, but won’t be effective if it’s the result of something more than the extra garlic you had with your pasta at lunch. There are a number of causes of bad breath, some of them serious enough to see your dentist about. Check out the following information to help you know the difference.
Both the bacteria that grows naturally in your mouth and the food you eat have an effect on your breath. In these minor instances, you can take some simple, topical steps to treat it.
- Good Oral Health Habits. Your first line of defense against bad breath is proper dental hygiene. Brush twice a day and floss regularly to keep things fresh. Also, don’t forget to brush your tongue—most of the bacteria responsible for causing bad breath reside on the back of your tongue.
- Good Saliva Flow. Saliva works to clean your mouth 24 hours a day, washing away odor-causing bacteria. Encourage healthy saliva flow by eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing (think carrots and apples) or chewing sugar-free gum.
More Serious Causes
If you already practice good dental hygiene and still don’t know what’s causing your bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist. One of the following conditions may be the culprit and could require professional treatment.
- Gum Disease. Chronic bad breath or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be an indicator of advanced gum disease. Because gum disease can be painless, you may not know you have it, but the sooner you treat it the better. So pay attention to symptoms like bad breath that won’t go away, and check in with your dentist.
- Dry Mouth. Dry mouth is caused by an inadequate flow of saliva. It’s not a disease, but can be an indicator of a medical condition or a side effect of certain medications like antihistamines, decongestants, and pain killers, among others. As noted above, healthy saliva flow maintains a healthy mouth. If you find you’re constantly parched, check in with your dentist to see if there’s anything serious going on and get recommendations for restoring moisture.
- Medical Conditions. Bad breath is a symptom of some diseases. It’s been associated with conditions like sinus or lung infections, bronchitis, diabetes, and some liver or kidney diseases. If you check in with your dentist and get a clean bill of health for your mouth, you may be referred to your physician to check for other causes.
Bad breath can put a cramp in your social style, but it may also be an indicator of something you should be more concerned about.
If you’re worried about possible causes, set up an appointment for a consultation with your dentist by contacting Oradent Associates in Chicago today.