About Oral Care - Bad Breath
What Causes Bad Breath (Halitosis) and How to Treat It
Nearly 50% of all Americans say they experience bad breath daily. While bad breath, also known as halitosis, may be caused by certain foods it can also be a sign of more severe problems. For persistent bad breath, even when minor, it is important to identify the cause so you can determine an effective treatment.
Causes of Bad Breath
When your mouth is dry, there is not enough saliva to control the growth of bacteria or to wash away excess food particles. As a result, bacteria will produce VSCs (volatile sulfur compounds) that will cause bad breath. Many medications will cause dry mouth and will therefore contribute to bad breath.
Bad breath may indicate an infection elsewhere in the body. If you are suffering from chronic bad breath consult with your dentist. If your dentist rules out any oral problems, see your doctor for an evaluation. Bad breath can be a sign of certain conditions including respiratory tract infections, chronic sinusitis or bronchitis, diabetes, or liver and kidney problems, so it’s important not to ignore the problem.
Certain foods, such as garlic or onions, cause temporary bad breath. Once they are absorbed into the bloodstream, the smell is expelled through the breath, but the odors remain until the body processes the food, so there’s no quick fix.
Smoking or other tobacco use is a guarantee for bad breath and may also contribute to poor oral hygiene and dry mouth.
Bad Breath Treatments
Mouthwashes, mints and chewing gums only mask bad breath for a short period of time and do nothing to address the underlying causes. In addition, bacteria thrive on the sugar in mints and chewing gum and may actually make the problem worse.
Also, do not forget to follow a proper oral hygiene routine including twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing to remove food particles, plaque and bacteria.