Over 50 percent of adults have suffered from persistent bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives. There are a number of reasons you may have it, and it’s not always because of poor oral hygiene. Even people who take excellent care of their teeth can get halitosis! If you’re concerned about bad breath, visit West Ashley Family Dentistry in Charleston, SC.
Causes of Bad Breath
Saliva serves an important purpose in the mouth. Salivary glands in the mouth are constantly producing it to wash out the mouth to remove leftover food particles and help digestion. Without enough saliva, bacteria isn’t washed away as frequently as it should, causing bad breath. Dry mouth can be brought on by certain medical conditions or medications, but a lot of people are simply dehydrated. Try drinking 2 liters of water a day and see if that helps your bad breath.
Oral Bacteria Buildup
Our mouths are naturally full of harmless bacteria that serve a variety of functions in the body. Most of the time, persistent bad breath is caused by bacteria build-up in the mouth. When we eat, bacteria feed on the leftover food particles in the mouth, and this process is accelerated by food with a high sugar content. Bacteria leave behind a foul-smelling waste product which causes bad breath.
Most oral bacteria is removed by saliva, brushing, and flossing. Even people with good oral health who brush their teeth often can experience bad breath because it’s difficult to clean the tiny spaces between teeth and around the gum line. That’s why it’s important to get regular dental cleanings to remove the hard-to-reach areas and prevent gum disease.
Oral bacteria can build up and harden on the teeth, feeding on the tooth enamel and breaking down the teeth. A persistent bad taste in the mouth or bad breath may be an indicator of advanced gum disease, which can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. If your bad breath is accompanied by a bad taste or bleeding gums, see a dentist as soon as possible.
Even people with excellent oral hygiene and no oral health problems can suffer from bad breath. Some medications or pre-existing conditions can cause bad breath, so if your dentist has ruled out other dental or oral health issues, you need to see a healthcare provider to determine the cause. Some diseases linked to halitosis include acid reflux, diabetes, liver disease, and sinus conditions.
How to Prevent Bad Breath
It makes sense that cleaning your teeth will help take care of more mild halitosis, but you may forget about your tongue. If you stick out your tongue and see a white or brown layer, that’s a layer of bacteria that can also cause bad breath. Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to remove it.
Mouthwash also helps kill some bacteria, but this is a temporary solution. Mouthwash should be used in addition to your regular oral hygiene routine: brushing twice a day and flossing every day.
You can prevent dry mouth by staying hydrated, but you can also try eating foods that require a lot of chewing, such as apples or carrots. Chewing stimulates the salivary glands to release saliva and clear out the mouth. If this doesn’t help, your dentist can recommend artificial saliva.
Of course, scheduling regular appointments with your dentist can help nip problems in the bud. If you’re in the Charleston, SC area, schedule an appointment with the team at West Ashley Family Dentistry by scheduling online or calling (843) 371-5480 today.