Bad breath is a common complaint that we hear in the dental office. Whether you feel that your breath is not as fresh as it could be, or worse yet, someone else has told you your breath is bad, there is often a solution for this embarrassing issue.
Bad breath can be caused by a few things and it may take a bit of investigation to find the cause of yours. If you are experiencing bad breath it is important to talk to your dentist to figure out the cause. Some of the common causes of bad breath are as follows:
1. Bacteria in the mouth. Perhaps you are leaving bacteria in the form of plaque behind by not flossing or tongue scraping after brushing. By not flossing, you are missing up to 1/3 of the surfaces of your teeth! Bacteria loves to hide in the warm, moist areas both in between the teeth and in the folds and grooves of the tongue. By adding flossing and tongue scraping to your oral hygiene routine, you may notice a great improvement in your breath!
2. Periodontal (Gum) diseases. Bad breath can be associated with both types of gum disease – gingivitis and periodontitis. These conditions both need to be treated by your dentist and dental hygienist. They are unable to be treated effectively at home. Gingivitis and periodontitis are diseases caused by inflammation. Inflammation in the gums is triggered by bacteria and the hardened deposit left behind by that bacteria. If you have either gingivitis or periodontitis, you may need a more thorough cleaning to remove the deposit. Once your oral disease is under control, you and your gums will be healthier and you may notice that your breath is fresher.
3. A tooth infection or abscess. A deep cavity over time can cause infection in the root of the tooth which may result in an abscess. An abscess, sometimes called a bump or pimple on the gum, is a sign of infection draining from the end of the root of the tooth into your mouth. If your bad breath is associated with a tooth that hurts when chewing, you may have an infection that needs immediate treatment. In this case, it is important to make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible.
4. Dry mouth. If you are experiencing dry mouth symptoms, you may also be experiencing bad breath. A healthy salivary flow helps to rinse bacteria from the teeth. Smoking is also a cause of bad breath as it causes dry mouth (not to mention it just smells terrible!).
5. Foods. Certain foods may cause bad breath from not just the mouth, but from the stomach. Foods that cause gas like cruciferous vegetables, garlic and beans and legumes, may cause a lingering odour in the mouth. Brushing and flossing thoroughly can certainly help, but sometimes the odour actually comes from the stomach long after the offending food has been eaten. You may need to try eliminating these foods for a time to see if that may help.
When bad breath is a concern, it is always best to check with your dentist to determine the culprit. As you can see, it can be something that is relatively harmless or it can be a more serious issue for your oral and overall health. Please give us a call to schedule an appointment at (705) 792-0079 if you are noticing that you have bad breath!