Bad breath is a thing we all have to deal with sooner or later. Research shows that 50 percent of adults have suffered from bad breath, also known as halitosis, at some point. Dr. Richard Van Gurp, a dentist of Charlotte NC, would like to impart some knowledge on what causes bad breath and how to combat it.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There are a myriad of reasons you might have bad breath. Although of the causes are harmless, some can indicate something more serious.
Our mouths are naturally inhabited by bacteria since your mouth acts like a natural hothouse that allows them to flourish. These bacteria feed on the tiny particles of food left in your mouth after you eat. This microscopic digestive process leaves an invisible but foul-smelling waste behind that causes bad breath.
Saliva is important as it continuously washes out your mouth and if you don’t have enough, your mouth is not being cleaned as much as it should. A dry mouth can be a side effect of some medications, untreated salivary gland problems or breathing through your mouth. Keeping properly hydrated is vital to preventing a dry mouth. Doctors suggest drinking at least 2 liters of water- eight 8 ounce bottles- per day to prevent dehydration.
Persistent bad breath or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a sign of advanced gum disease. Gum disease happens when sticky, cavity-causing bacteria called plaque causes infection and inflammation in your gums.
Garlic, onions, coffee… These are a few of many breath-spoiling foods, and what you eat affects the air you exhale. You should brush your teeth if possible after consuming these strong-smelling foods and drinks or at least have mouthwash or mints on hand.
Smoking and Tobacco Use
Not only does smoking produce bad breath, it also stains your teeth and increases your risk for a host of health problems including gum disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease and various types of cancer. Tobacco use impedes your sense of taste and irritates gum tissues. And because smoking also hampers your sense of smell, smokers may not be aware of how bad their breath smells.
Although gum disease and other mouth infections definitively cause bad breath, other medical conditions can cause it as well. If your dentist has already ruled out other dental or oral health issues and you take care of your oral hygiene as recommended, your bad breath could be the result of another underlying medical problem. Conditions that can cause this issue a sinus issue, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease as well as others. In this case, make an appointment to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
Brush and Floss
Brushing twice daily and flossing everyday will help rid your mouth of bacteria that’s causing your bad breath.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can kill some of the bacteria or neutralize and temporarily cover bad breath. However, this will only solve the problem for a brief time until you can brush and floss again. The longer you wait between brushing and flossing, the more likely you are to develop bad breath again.
Keep Saliva In Your Mouth
Eating healthy foods that require a good bit of chewing, like carrots or apples and keeping hydrated will help keep saliva in your mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies can also help. Your dentist may also advocate using artificial saliva if these quick fixes are not helpful.
Giving up this bad habit is beneficial for your entire body. Not only will you have fresher smelling breath but you’ll probably also live longer and have a better quality of life.
Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Dentist
If you are in the Charlotte NC area and you’re concerned about what might be causing your bad breath, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Richard Van Gurp. Regular check-ups will help Dr. Van Gurp to spot any impending problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Van Gurp today call (704) 209-9606 or make an appointment online.