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Bad Breath: Causes and Solutions

You are not alone! Bad breath is a common and frustrating problem for many people: the ADA reports that 50% of people suffer from bad breath sometime in their life. Bad breath is embarrassing, but never fear! We are here to help.

The Causes of Bad Breath:

1. Bacteria

There are many bad breath causing bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth. The warm, damp environment that your mouth creates allows bacteria to grow and multiply. When you eat, you are feeding them and creating the perfect breeding ground. When the bacteria eat, they release a stinky waste product that can cause bad breath.

2. Dry Mouth

Several things can cause dry mouth including medications, salivary gland disorders, or mouth breathing. Because your saliva is so protective it helps to clean the mouth. When you don't have enough saliva, the saliva is not rinsing your mouth and that can create bad breath.

3. Gum Disease

Consistent bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth can sometimes be caused by the bacteria that cause gum disease. These symptoms can be a warning sign for gum disease.

4. Food

Some things that you eat can stick around. Onions, coffee, and garlic are some of the most common culprits!

5. Smoking and Tobacco

Smoking and tobacco use in general is not good for your teeth or your health. It can increase your risk of gum disease which will not help your breath either.

6. Medical Conditions

If you have worked with your dentist and tried all the solutions offered and received no relief you may want to mention it to your family care physician. Sometimes it can be a sign of something systemic like a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. If this is the case, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.

The Solutions:

1. Brushing and Flossing

Exceptional oral hygiene is a great way to reduce the bacteria in your mouth and help the symptoms of bad breath! Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is the least amount that is recommended.

2. Brush your TONGUE

Most of the bad breath causing bacteria live at the very back of your tongue. Every time you brush your teeth, don't forget to bush your tongue! We often will recommend a tongue scraper that can be purchased at most grocery and drug stores. This allows you to reach the posterior of your tongue and clean it.

3. Mouthwash

This is more of a temporary fix but if you can't get to a toothbrush for a while, it is a good thing to try. Some will kill bacteria and some will only mask the odor.

4. Clean your Dentures

If you wear dentures or partial dentures, remove them at night and ideally after meals. Make sure at night you clean them thoroughly before putting them back in in the morning.

5. Keep the Saliva Flowing

Eat healthy! Crunchy fruits and vegetables such as carrots and apples will get that saliva flowing. Sugar free gum can increase your saliva flow. Your dentist may recommend Biotene to help as a saliva replacement.

6. Quit Smoking

This will not only decrease your bad breath, it will help reduce your risk of gum disease and improve your overall systemic health.

7. Visit your Dentist Regularly

Your dentist will let you know how you are doing with your oral hygiene after checking your mouth for gum disease and cavities. Be sure to schedule an appointment with a dental hygienists who will clean your teeth by removing plaque and bacteria They will make any recommendations you may need to help you get healthier and reduce your bad breath.

Please feel free to call us at our Westerville dental office if you have any questions: 614-882-2249.

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