50 million people suffer from chronic halitosis (bad breath) in the US, but many don’t seek help because they’re embarrassed. These are are some tips from Dr. Lopez on eliminating bad breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
These are a few reasons for bad breath:
- Food. The breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odor. Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic, and spices, can cause bad breath.
- Tobacco products. Smoking causes its own unpleasant mouth odor. Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely to have gum disease, another source of bad breath.
- Poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath. A colorless, sticky film of bacteria (plaque) forms on your teeth. If not brushed away, plaque can irritate your gums and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums (periodontitis). Your tongue can trap bacteria that produce odors. Dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or don’t fit properly can harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles.
- Dry mouth. Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odors. A condition called dry mouth or xerostomia can contribute to bad breath because the production of saliva is decreased. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to “morning breath,” and it worsens if you sleep with your mouth open. Chronic dry mouth can be caused by a problem with your salivary glands and some diseases.
- Medications. Some medications can indirectly produce bad breath by contributing to dry mouth. Others can be broken down in the body to release chemicals that can be carried on your breath.
- Infections in your mouth. Bad breath can be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease or mouth sores.
What Can I Do to Eliminate Bad Breath?
- Remove Dentures. If you wear dentures, remove them at night and clean to get rid of bacterial buildup from food and drink.
- Tongue scraping in the morning before eating or drinking anything. Gently touch the scraper to your tongue. The top of the tongue is a place that bacteria love to lodge, especially at the back of the mouth. . You should never push the scraper from the tip of your tongue back. Always go from the back of the tongue to the tip.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is a cause of bad breath.
- A 30-second mouthwash rinse. Just avoid the type with alcohol as they make the mouth dry and worsen the problem.
- Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva in the mouth so bacteria are washed away. The key is to ensure that the gum is sugarless. Gum with sugar should be avoided because sugar ferments bacteria which will worsen the problem.
We would be happy to answer any questions you might have about bad breath halitosis. Arrange a consultation with Dr. Antonio Lopez. We offer exams, cosmetic dentistry, child dentistry, kid dentistry, and pediatric dentistry in Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, and all of the surrounding Tri-cities areas. Call our Kennewick Washington office today at 509.579.0759