Do You Have Bad Breath?Thursday, February 5th, 2015, 9:36 pm
Do you have bad breath? How would you even know if someone didn’t tell you and, most importantly, what is the best way to avoid bad breath?
- Oral bacteria – lots of bacteria live in our mouths and the by-products of these bacteria produce a stinky odor. Keeping the number of oral bacteria in check will help keep breath smelling fresh. Brushing teeth thoroughly twice each day and flossing once per day removes oral bacteria. Chewing sugarless gum containing xylitol following meals helps clean teeth and the xylitol has been shown to reduce bacterial activity.
- Tonsil stones – tonsils often have creases or grooves that collect bacteria and food debris. This collection of gunk leads to smelly accumulations known as tonsil stones. If you are prone to tonsil stones you may also be prone to tonsil infections. Speak to your physician if tonsil stones are a recurring problem.
- Dry mouth or xerostomia – Many older adults suffer from dry mouth, or reduced saliva flow. Saliva is important because the constant flow helps keep your teeth and gums clean and neutralizes the acids produced by oral bacteria. Dry mouth is a side effect of many medications and can lead to more frequent tooth decay or gum disease, as well as bad breath. Fight dry mouth by drinking lots of water and using saliva replacements available at most drug stores.
- Gum disease – Periodontal infections (gum disease) are responsible for really terrible breath. Gum disease is an infection caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is formed on teeth when oral bacteria attempt to attach themselves to the teeth. Dental plaque is soft and easily removed by brushing and flossing. Over time dental plaque hardens and becomes calculus which can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. This is why brushing and flossing are so important in maintaining a healthy mouth.
- Smoking – Use of tobacco products orally or by smoking them have much higher rates of gum disease than non-smokers. Tobacco users with gum disease are also much more likely to experience more serious gum disease and have an increased risk of tooth loss. Talk to your doctor about a strategy for stopping your tobacco use.
- Onions, garlic, coffee, etc. – Many foods cause bad breath, even hours after you have eaten them and brushed your teeth. Try eating some yogurt to help replenish the “good” bacteria in your mouth and be patient because the garlic breath will go away eventually!
There are some cases of bad breath that are caused by serious health issues so if a visit to the dentist doesn’t solve your bad breath problem your next step should be to schedule an appointment with your physician.
Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit. We’ll help you keep your smile healthy and your breath fresh!