Bad breath: It can happen to anyone and many of us have had to suffer through the embarrassment. Research shows that 50 percent of adults have suffered from halitosis — the clinical term for bad breath — at some point in their lives and those are just the people being forthright. Dr. Vernon Sheen, a respected dentist of Annapolis, MD would like to offer you some advice on how you can prevent and fight bad breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad Breath has a number of likely causes. Although most of these issues are harmless on their own, some of them can lead to or be a warning of more serious ailments looming on the horizon.
Our mouths are alive with (mostly harmless) bacteria since your mouth is basically a natural hothouse — their preferred environment. Whenever you eat, these hungry bacteria feed on the remnants of food and sticky plaque left behind on your teeth. Their digestive processes leave behind foul-smelling waste products that can cause bad breath.
Another possible cause of halitosis is lack of saliva. Saliva is important to fresh breath because it constantly washes out and refreshes your mouth. If your mouth isn’t making enough saliva, it isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be. Dry mouth can be a side effect of many medications. Breathing through your mouth or untreated salivary gland problems could also be the culprit. Getting enough water to drink to maintain proper hydration is crucial to preventing a dry mouth. Doctors recommend drinking at least 2 liters of water (eight 8 ounce bottles per day) for proper hydration.
Persistent bad breath that won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a sign of advanced gum disease. Gum disease is when sticky, cavity-causing bacteria called plaque cause your gums to become infected and inflamed. It can eventually lead to loss of gum and bone tissue and even teeth falling out.
While it makes sense that gum disease and other mouth infections can cause bad breath, other medical conditions can also cause it. If your dentist has ruled out dental or oral health issues and you brush and floss daily, your bad breath could be the result of another problem, such as a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, you should schedule with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
Brush and Floss
Brushing twice daily and flossing at least once a day will help you rid your mouth of bad breath causing bacteria. It will also help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and the problems that come with it.
Take Care of Your Tongue
Don’t forget to clean your tongue when you’re brushing your teeth. If you stick out your tongue and look at the very back, you’ll see a white or brown coating. This is where most of bacteria that cause bad breath gather. Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clean them off your tongue.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can kill some of the bacteria or neutralize and mask bad breath but this solution is only temporary. The longer you go between brushing and flossing, the more likely you are to have halitosis.
Keep Saliva In Your Mouth
If you regularly eat healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, such as carrots or apples and stay hydrated, you will usually have plenty of saliva in your mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies can also help with this problem. If these suggestions do not resolve the issue, your dentist may also recommend artificial saliva.
Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Dentist
If you’re in the Annapolis, MD area and you’re concerned about what might be causing your bad breath, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Sheen. Regular check-ups will help Dr. Sheen to spot any impending problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your mouth is otherwise healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor for more tests. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sheen at his Annapolis office, call (443) 482- 5202 or make an appointment online.