If you get offered mints on a daily basis, or if people tend to move away from you while you’re talking, there’s a chance your bad breath could be to blame. One out of every four people has chronic bad breath. So if this is you, take heart that you’re not alone.
In the medical community, we call bad breath ‘halitosis’. While it may be embarrassing, it’s is a common issue and can typically be resolved quickly. Interestingly enough, there’s no one more qualified to help you get rid of your bad breath than your Lakewood, CO dentist, who is trained in oral and facial anatomy. Here is a full guide to help you understand where your bad breath comes from, what it means, and how you can prevent it.
Why Do We Get Bad Breath?
Bad breath can be the result of a few different lifestyle choices or medical conditions. Here are some potential causes that you might be dealing with:
- Poor oral hygiene: Our mouths have to deal with bacteria all day. If you’re not helping your mouth handle it with regular brushing and flossing, then the bacteria may begin to cause bad breath. Sometimes your tongue, gums, or tooth surface can harbor the bacteria.
- Mouth Breathing: Studies show a statistically higher level of bad breath in people that mouth breathe! This is due to saliva, bacteria and decomposing sulfur compounds, and acidity of the mouth. Seal those lips!
- Infections: Sometimes there are other things in the mouth that are harboring bacteria, like a cut or sore. These infections can impact your health.
- Dry mouth: When your mouth lacks saliva, it can’t clean itself very well. You might lack saliva from chronic dehydration or an underlying medical condition.
- Food: Some of the foods that you eat may cause you to have bad breath. This is typically temporary.
- Medications: Some medications cause bad breath either by having your mouth release chemicals or by drying out your mouth. While you may need to take these medications, there are still things you can do to limit the impact of the medication.
- Health conditions: There are a wide range of health conditions that can cause bad breath, including sinus infections, diabetes, kidney disease, acid reflux, digestion conditions and more.
How Does It Cause Health Problems?
Bad breath is a sign that your mouth is harboring unhealthy bacteria. Any bacterial overgrowth in your body can lead to problems. In the mouth, excess bacteria can infect your gums and cause serious problems.
Bad breath may also be a sign that you have an underlying health condition. Your Lakewood dentist can tell you if you should be following up with your doctor to discuss whether your halitosis could be the sign of another condition.
How Can We Treat It?
The right treatment for your bad breath will depend on the underlying cause. Typically, your Lakewood, CO dentist can resolve the issue if you have bad breath due to gum disease, oral infections, open mouth posture, cavities, or other dental issues. If the problem is poor oral hygiene, then your dentist can show you how to improve your brushing and flossing routine to resolve it. If the problem is open mouth posture, we can discuss myofunctional therapy to train the lips and tongue to be stronger.
However, if the issue is medications or other underlying medical conditions then you will need to come up with a plan with your family physician. Your dentist will help you determine the root cause.
Tips to Avoid Bad Breath
Once your bad breath is resolved, there are a few things that you can do to keep it from returning, including:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, preferably right after you eat.
- Brush your tongue, gently, to remove bacteria.
- Floss regularly and properly.
- Seal the lips.
- Eat whole, nutritious, low carbohydrate foods.
If you think you might have bad breath, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with Dr. Elizabeth Turner. She’ll get to know you and evaluate your unique needs — and give you confidence to speak within arm’s distance from others. 🙂