Over the years, we are all aware that bad breath has always had an involuntary repulsive effect on other people and we all dread it…but take heart, as this is not a reaction against you but only a natural instinctive reaction that is in each one of us that serves to protect the body from any possible source of disease. This results because the chemical makeup of bad breath is the same as that given off by rotting food, feces and even dead bodies and as these are all potential sources of disease and infection, our bodies respond to it automatically by withdrawing from it. Unfortunately, this is often interpreted as a personal judgment and can severely damage your self esteem.
All of us will experience bad breath at some point in time, especially in the morning, and we may not even be aware that we have it. It can be the result of food, tobacco products, diets, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, improperly fitted crowns or bridges, a medical condition or medications. These are just a few of the things that can cause bad breath so you need to keep track of the medication you are taking and what you are eating so you can discuss this with your dentist.
Bad breath is also known as halitosis and it is a very common problem which affects people of any age including:
- Anyone with poor dental hygiene
- Elderly, disabled people and young people who have difficulty practicing dental hygiene
- Anyone who uses mouth appliances which includes braces and dentures
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth decay
- Impacted teeth
- Abscessed teeth
- Dry Mouth due to a high-protein diet, non-fibrous diet or medical condition
- Medical conditions such as some cancers, metabolic disorders, liver failure, kidney failure
- Acid reflux (GERD)
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Kidney disease
- Throat and lung infections (eg. Bronchitis)
- Post-nasal drip
If you have any of the above, be sure to see your dentist immediately and also follow good dental hygiene such as follows:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Floss between each tooth daily or more often especially after high-protein meals
- Use antiseptic mouth wash in the morning, at bedtime and after eating to reduce bacteria growth
- Use a tongue scraper, gently, to scrape off the back of your tongue where bacteria may be hiding
- Follow your dentists instructions for cleaning dental braces, dentures or other dental appliances
If you have any unusual breath odors or bad breath that persists even after trying to control it, such as fishy or urine like, see your doctor immediately.
- Medications including some vitamin supplements, antihistamines, calcium blockers, cardiac medications, blood pressure pills, psychiatric drugs. These things can slow down the flow of saliva which may lead to halitosis and dry mouth which can lead to excessive thirst and tooth decay
- Poor diet which can cause dehydration due to certain foods. Some of these include diet soda, onions, spices, garlic, curry, cabbage and coffee. High protein food can also get stuck between the teeth and produce halitosis.
If you have any of the ones above, be sure to maintain a proper, healthy diet and try to cut out the foods and beverages that can cause bad breath. Some foods that help saliva flow are raw vegetables and a good breakfast will start saliva flowing first thing in the morning and be sure to stay properly hydrated with water.
You can also use some types of breath aids to curb your bad breath such as mouthwashes, mints and gum but it will not prevent it totally. You can also try not using straws…as well as trying some prescription or over-the counter-medications.
Always be sure to consult with your dentist is you are having a problem with bad breath, discolored mucus, colored blotches or bumps on your tongue for these may be signs of more serious medical conditions such as oral thrush, oral herpes, or oral cancer.
To learn more about bad breath and how you can deal with halitosis, see our section relating to bad breath or call Bradford Family Dentistry at 1-877-283-0497 to book your consultation, at your convenience, with us.