Bad breath, or halitosis, is more than just an embarrassing social concern, it can actually be a sign that there is something wrong. If you struggle with bad breath frequently or chronically, mints and gum may be doing more harm than good, and your Fuquay-Varina family dentist may be able to help. To determine your best course of action, we wanted to list the five leading causes of bad breath and how you can fix them.
How the Foods We Eat Cause Bad Breath
The most common and easy to fix cause of bad breath is the food we eat. Onions and garlic are the most notorious offenders, but did you know that the sulfuric compounds in these two foods can actually enter your blood stream and cause the odors to linger on your breath?
Dairy also leads to unpleasant mouth odor because common, naturally-occurring bacteria on your tongue and teeth feed off the amino acids in dairy products like milk and yogurt. When the two meet, an unpleasant odor can form. Similarly, foods high in acid, like citrus and tomatoes, foster a bacteria-friendly environment.
Fortunately, halitosis caused by food is temporary, and brushing your teeth and drinking water (or relying on sugar-free mints!) can help remove any unpleasant, meeting-ruining breath issues.
Smoking Causes Bad Breath on Two Fronts
Smoking and using tobacco products causes bad breath in two ways. The odor of the cigarette or chewing tobacco itself lingers, causing a stale, unpleasant odor. More concerning is that using tobacco products also leads to gum disease and periodontitis, both of which are chronic causes of bad breath and need to be treated by your family dentist in Fuquay Varina.
Poor Dental Hygiene
Without regular tooth brushing and flossing, food particles break down in your mouth which feed bacteria, and bacteria on the tongue and around the teeth leads to bad breath. More concerning, poor dental hygiene also can lead to gum disease and tooth decay, which are the leading causes of infection in the mouth.
Brushing regularly, flossing, and seeing your dentist for professional cleanings will keep the plaque and bacteria at bay and either clear up or prevent bad breath.
Dehydration and Dry Mouth Lead to Halitosis
Saliva is one of the ways the body naturally cleans your teeth and mouth, rinsing away particles of food and removing bacteria. Your mouth dries out while you’re asleep, which is why, when you wake up, you have the dreaded “morning breath.” During the day, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to stimulate saliva production. Additionally, your medication, such as an antihistimine or diuretic slow your saliva production, leading to dry mouth and bad breath.
If you have chronic dry mouth, also called xerostomia, talk to your family dentist. He or she can see if there’s a problem specifically causing the issue and prescribe a special mouth rinse to treat dry mouth.
Untreated Nose and Throat Conditions
You can probably tell that pretty much all chronic bad breath issues are caused by bacteria. However, bacteria outside of the mouth and teeth are also to blame for your halitosis. Small pockets of debris and food catch on the tonsils and harden into what are called tonsil stones. Tonsil stones may cause a sore throat or painful swallowing, and they carry a very foul odor caused by the bacteria build up. Additionally, the post nasal drip caused from colds and sinus infection will lead to halitosis, while the dry mouth caused by medication may compound the issue.
Tonsil stones can often be removed by gargling mouthwash, but if they are a frequent issue, along with sinus conditions, you may want to speak with your family physician.
Let Our Fuquay-Varina Family Dentist Treat Your Bad Breath
Don’t rely on mints and mouthwash to freshen your breath when there could be a serious issue causing halitosis. Schedule an appointment with our Fuquay Varina dentist’s office today at (919) 552-2431 or fill out the contact form below to get started.