Bad Breath: Not Always A Minor Problem

Bad breath is not just a socially embarrassing issue, it can be a sign of a more serious illness or issue. If you or someone you care about is experiencing this problem, read on for more information on the underlying issues that could cause bad breath, or halitosis, and how to tame it.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Most of us know that eating foods like garlic and onions can give you bad breath, but this effect should be temporary. Once the offending food has passed from your body completely, your breath should go back to normal. Tobacco use is another major player in the bad breath game.

It's far more serious when bad breath is a symptom of something much worse. One major issue that causes bad breath is poor oral hygiene habits. Everyone knows that they should brush after meals, but flossing is sometimes forgotten. Flossing removes the food particles from places that your brush cannot reach. Trapped food grows bacteria, which not only gives you bad breath but can lead to infections and cavities. Infected gums can cause the loss of bone in your jaw area; a very scary and irreversible condition.

Dry mouth is a common condition among the elderly and people who take certain medications. Saliva is our body's natural mouthwash, and lack of it can lead to bad breath and serious bacteria growth. Studies of bacteria in the mouth have turned up dangerous bugs like Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, E. coli, and pneumonia. Moisturizing washes can help keep the bacteria at bay.

If you have ruled out the above common causes of bad breath and your mouth is as clean as a whistle, you may need to address whether or not you have a serious underlying condition with your doctor. Diabetes, sinus infections, acid reflux, bronchitis and many other diseases can lead to bad breath.

How To Prevent Bad Breath

Most bad breath problems can be solved with good hygiene practices and twice-yearly professional cleanings. Some helpful tips include:

  • Take a toothbrush and travel-sized toothpaste with you everywhere. Keep it in your bag, your briefcase, your desk drawer at work or in your car. Many people chew gum between meals instead of brushing, but chewing gum is not a good substitute.
  • Drinks lots of water, which will help keep your mouth rinsed and moist.
  • Don't forget to brush your tongue.
  • Toothbrushes are relativity inexpensive; invest in a new one every two months and discard the old one after an illness.

See your dentist for more tips and for your twice-yearly cleaning. Your bad breath could be the early warning that you need to head off potentially dangerous conditions. For more assistance, contact a professional like those at Village Family Dental.