Halitosis, more commonly referred to as bad breath, can be caused by a number of different things, from the foods you consume, poor oral hygiene, or certain health conditions. There can be nothing more embarrassing than having bad breath, particularly on a date or other social outing. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to prevent and treat halitosis so that you will never have to be self-conscious again.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Perhaps one of the most common causes of bad breath is neglecting to properly floss and brush. Without doing so, food particles can cause bacteria and plaque buildup on the teeth, tongue, and gums. Additionally, appliances such as braces that are not properly cleaned can exacerbate halitosis.
When you eat foods, they begin to break down in the mouth and are then digested and enter the bloodstream where they then enter the lungs and are exhaled. Certain foods, such as onions and garlic, are particularly pungent and, as much as you try, brushing and flossing cannot eliminate the odor completely.
In the event that your bad breath persists, it could be a sign of more serious issues such as gum disease which can lead to further problems such as tooth loss. Other potential health-related causes could be yeast infections, dental caries, xerostomia or dry mouth, diabetes, as well as certain respiratory conditions.
Preventing Bad Breath
The first step to avoiding bad breath is to brush and floss regularly. You should brush twice per day and floss once daily to remove all food from the surfaces of the teeth, the gums, and the tongue. Also, if you have an appliance such as dentures or a retainer, make sure to clean the piece thoroughly at least once per day.
Along with your at-home dental hygiene, visiting a dentist every six months for a routine exam and cleaning is essential to removing plaque and tartar as well as checking for symptoms of gum disease or other conditions that could cause halitosis.
Eliminating Bad Breath
If you have been experiencing bad breath, there are a number of mouth rinses available that will kill odor-causing bacteria. If this is not effective, discuss your concerns with your dentist. In the majority of cases, your dentist or a periodontist should be able to treat your bad breath. If, however, there is no dental reason for the problem, your dentist may recommend that you see a specialist or family doctor who can determine the cause of your halitosis and develop the appropriate treatment plan.