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Bad Breath – Causes and Treatment Options

Bad breath (halitosis) is a condition that may signify an underlying health problem that needs to be treated. It could also be as a result of the foods you eat or unhealthy lifestyle choices. When you consume food, it’s broken down inside the mouth. Foods that have strong odors like onions and garlics are commonly known to cause bad breath because the smell that is emitted when they are broken down doesn’t go away until the foods have passed through the body.


Poor habits that contribute to bad breath

If you fail to maintain proper dental hygiene, like brushing and flossing teeth regularly, food particles will get stuck in your mouth promoting the buildup of bacteria in between the teeth, gums and also on the tongue. To reduce bacteria, some dentists recommend the use of antibacterial mouthwashes. Smoking and chewing tobacco also promotes bad breath.


Is your bad breath associated with a health condition?

In some cases, bad breath is as a result of an underlying health problem. For instance, individuals who are suffering from gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis can have a persistent bad breath. Gum diseases also cause bacteria to build up in the mouth forming toxins that irritate the gums. Gum disease needs to be treated not only to eliminate the bad breath but also prevent permanent damage to the gums and tooth loss.


If your dental appliances are poorly fitted or not well maintained, you may also experience bad breath. For instance, if you have braces and you don’t clean them properly, bacteria can hide inside the metal causing bad breath.


Dry mouth contributes to bad breath

Another common condition that contributes to bad breath is dry mouth, medically referred to as xerostomia. Saliva in the mouth plays a very important role. It’s what helps to moisten the mouth, flush away dead cells that form on the tongue (if dead cells are not eliminated, they decompose leading to bad breath), gums and cheeks. Saliva also neutralizes the acids that are formed by plaque in the mouth. You may be experiencing dry mouth due to some medication you’re taking, salivary gland problems or habits such as breathing through the mouth.


There are many other conditions that may be responsible for the bad breath including respiratory tract infections like bronchitis, sinus infections, chronic acid reflux and kidney problems.


Tips to prevent bad breath

One of the easiest ways to keep your breath fresh is by practicing proper oral hygiene. Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day and brush the tongue too. You can use an antibacterial rinse twice a day and if you have dentures, make sure you remove them at night and clean them thoroughly before putting them on in the morning.


Visit your dentist Barrie regularly to have your teeth checked to catch problems like gum disease and seek treatment early. Avoid smoking, drink lots of water and if you are taking medications that contribute to the bad breath, consult your doctor for an alternative.

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Andrew B
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