Bad breath happens to all of us. In fact, research shows that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath, clinically known as halitosis, at some point in their lives. There are a variety of reasons you might have halitosis and, although most of the causes are harmless, some could be warning you of something more serious. Dr. Richard Van Gurp of Charlotte, NC wants to help his patients prevent the embarrassment of bad breath by helping them identify the causes.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Our mouths are an ideal habitat for natural bacteria. These bacteria live in your mouth because it acts like a natural greenhouse that allows them to thrive. When you eat, these bacteria feast on the particles of food left in your mouth. This digestive process leaves a foul-smelling waste product behind that causes bad breath.
Your mouth may not be producing enough saliva which is problematic because saliva constantly washes the bacteria and leftover food particles out of your mouth. If you have a dry mouth, your teeth aren’t being washed cleaned as much as they should be. Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medications, untreated salivary gland problems or from breathing through your mouth due to sinus issues. Doctors recommend drinking at least 2 liters of water (eight 8 ounce bottle) per day to stay hydrated and prevent dry mouth.
Persistent bad breath that will not go away or having a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning of advanced gum disease. When sticky, cavity-causing plaque causes your gums to become infected and inflamed, gum disease is not far behind.
Most people are aware that gum disease and other oral infections can cause bad breath. However, it is less widely known that other medical conditions can also cause it. If Dr. Van Gurp has ruled out other dental or oral health issues and you brush and floss every day, your bad breath could stem from another problem. Problems such as a sinus infection, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease can all cause halitosis as a side effect. If you suspect you have any of these conditions, see your doctor as soon as possible.
How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
Brush and Floss
Brushing twice daily and cleaning between your teeth daily with floss will help you clear away the bacteria and the plaque they feed on, which can prevent bad breath
Take Care of Your Tongue
While you’re brushing your teeth, you should also brush your tongue. If you have noticed a white or brown coating on your tongue at the rear of your mouth, you need to brush it. This is where most of the bacterial waste that causes bad breath collects. You can use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clean them off your tongue.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can kill some of the bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath but this solution is only temporary. The longer you wait between brushing and flossing, the more offensive your breath is likely to be.
Keep Saliva In Your Mouth
Eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples, and drinking at least 2 liters of water a day to stay hydrated will produce saliva to keep your mouth moist. You can also chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free candies to help combat dry mouth. Your dentist may even prescribe artificial saliva if these quick fixes do not help.
Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Dentist
If you’re in the Charlotte, NC area and you’re concerned about what might be causing your bad breath, schedule an appointment to see Dr. 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 mouth is otherwise healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor to investigate the issue further. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Van Gurp, call (704) 209-9606 or make an appointment online.