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Dental Health And Bad Breath

Dental Health and Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Have you noticed or has someone told you that you have bad breath? Halitosis (the medical term for bad breath) can be embarrassing. But once the cause is known, it can usually be treated. Here are some of the most common causes of bad breath.

Bacteria – Food particles left in your mouth after a meal combine with bacteria to create a bad odor. Bacteria often collect on the back of your tongue.

Gum Disease – Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) can cause bad breath.

Dry Mouth – Saliva cleanses your mouth, washing away many odor-causing bacteria. If your mouth has too little saliva, this can lead to bad breath. Your mouth may become dry when you sleep, when you’re thirsty, or because of certain medications or medical conditions.

Certain Foods – Some types of food and drink can cause bad breath. These include garlic, onions, curry, fish, cabbage, coffee and alcohol.

Tobacco – Smoking or chewing tobacco can make your breath smell, and the odor stays with you even when you’re not smoking or chewing.

Other Causes – Braces, dentures, and other mouth appliances cause halitosis if not kept clean, and so can untreated tooth decay. Sinus problems that cause drainage into the throat may sometimes lead to mouth odor. Other conditions, such as lung, stomach or nasal problems, can cause bad breath. In general, bad breath becomes more of a problem as you grow older.

What We Can Do to Help – We can help in two ways: finding a cause of bad breath, and treating it.

Finding the Cause – Some people think they have bad breath when they don’t. So our first step is to confirm that you do have a problem. Then, we will look for causes, checking for gum disease and other oral health factors, and asking questions about foods you eat, medications you take, medical conditions you have, and how you care for your teeth.

Possible Treatments – Depending on the cause, we may be able to treat the problem. We may also suggest a prescription mouth rinse that can help kill odor-causing bacteria.

What You Can Do

• Brush your tongue and use a special tongue scraper to clean off food and odor-causing bacteria.

• Drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth with water every so often to keep saliva flowing. Sugarless gum or mints can also help.

• Try to avoid eating foods that can cause bad breath.

• Stop smoking or chewing tobacco. You’ll be amazed how much better your breath will smell!

• Ask us about mouth rinses. Most over-the-counter mouthwashes only cover up bad breath for a short time.

• Call Scottsdale Dental Arts to schedule an appointment at 480-860-8282