Bad breath (halitosis) is embarrassing and can cause you to feel self-conscious and hesitant to talk or even get close to others.
Millions of people are affected by halitosis and are taking ineffective measures to treat it. For example, most people try to stop bad breath with mouthwash, which only masks the problem for a short period of time.
Bad breath, or halitosis, is often caused by poor oral health or eating habits, but may also be attributed to other health conditions such as gum disease. In order to understand how to prevent it, it’s best to understand what causes bad breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Poor dental hygiene is a major contributor to bad breath. When you eat, food particles stay in the mouth. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, those particles linger, attracting foul-smelling bacteria.
Other causes include:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Poorly fitting or improperly cleaned dental appliances
- Tooth decay
- Persistent dry mouth (xerostomia), often caused by medication or mouth breathing
- Respiratory or sinus infections
- Liver or kidney problems
- Acid reflux
- Diet high in protein or dairy
- High alcohol or caffeine consumption
If you are experiencing persistent bad breath, it may be a warning sign of something more serious. For example, halitosis may be an indicator of gum disease or tooth decay.
When plaque remains on the teeth due to inadequate brushing and flossing, it can eat away at the structure of the tooth and gums. Left untreated, it can cause gum disease (periodontitis). Periodontitis can damage the gums and jawbone and even result in tooth loss.
How Do I Prevent Bad Breath?
To prevent bad breath, you should always maintain a proper dental hygiene routine. Brush your teeth and any dental work twice a day and floss daily to get rid of bacteria and food particles in the mouth. In addition, you should see your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups.
Other tips to preventing bad breath include:
- Drink lots of water. Try to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
- Adjust your diet. Cut back on fatty foods and dairy and reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is bad for all aspects of your health and contributes to bad breath.
- Switch medications. If your prescriptions are drying out your mouth, try switching, if possible.
When To See A Dentist
If you’re taking all the measures to prevent bad breath and you’re still experiencing it, you can seek treatment. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Robert Rapisarda will look for the underlying cause of the problem and fully examine your teeth and gums.
If your halitosis is caused by dental issues such as tooth decay or gum disease, Dr. Rapisarda will evaluate your teeth and overall oral health and make recommendations for dental work with you, such as the placement of dental crowns.
If you are worried about bad breath and want to learn more about how our dental practice can help restore your oral health and your confidence, please contact us today.