You approach one of your co-workers to ask about a new procedure. As soon as you start talking, they back away. You don’t want everyone to hear your conversation, so you take one step closer, only to have them step farther away. What’s going on here? Could it be that you have (*GASP*) … bad breath? You retreat to your desk and do the bad breath test (you know, cupping your hand over your mouth and nose then exhaling forcefully) then have your worst fears confirmed. Your mouth STINKS! At Sehnert Precision Dentistry, we want you to be in control of your halitosis, so here are a few causes and solutions that just might put an end to that stank mouth.
Common Causes of Bad Breath
If you eat a chili dog with raw onions, you expect your breath to smell. Same with your favorite garlic-laden foods. Bad breath that is caused by food eventually goes away. What usually takes you by surprise is the breath caused by these:
- Poor Hygiene — If you don’t brush after you eat, tiny food particles can remain in the grooves of your molars, between teeth, and beneath the gum line. When these foods break down, they produce a foul smell. They also cause plaque to form on your teeth, putting you at risk for decay and disease.
- Tobacco Products — No surprises here! Not only do most people find the smell of tobacco unpleasant, those who use them are more likely to have gum disease, which also causes bad breath.
- Disease — Not just gum disease, either. Many gastrointestinal conditions, such as acid reflux, can also cause bad breath. Postnasal drip, which is a symptom of several illnesses, can also cause bad breath.
- Tonsil Stones — If you’ve had your tonsils removed, you’re in luck. If they’re still intact, food and bacteria can collect in the tiny grooves and pockets in your tonsils and harden into small yellowish, foul-smelling “stones.”
- Dry Mouth — Saliva is your body’s way of naturally cleansing your mouth. Salivary function slows during sleep, which is why so many people have “morning breath,” but if your saliva production decreases as a side-effect of medicines, as a result of a salivary gland condition, or because of general dehydration, the particles that cause bad breath aren’t flushed away.
Put a Stop to the Stink
We’ve got good news: There are several things you can do to improve your breath situation! The most obvious is to brush and floss as recommended to prevent food particles and plaque from collecting on your teeth, but other solutions include:
- Clean the back of your tongue. The conditions of the back part of your mouth, including the tongue, promote bacterial growth. Cleaning that area — whether with a tongue scraper or your toothbrush — will reduce your chances of bad breath.
- Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water, especially if you drink or smoke, as both of these will dehydrate not only your mouth, but your entire body, as well.
- Go to the dentist. Even if you brush and floss, you could have gum disease or another oral infection that is causing your bad breath. The only way to know is to see your dentist every six months so they can help you prevent these conditions.
No matter how bad your breath, we’re here to help. If you live in or near Lewisville, Texas, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We’d love to see your smile!