dealing with bad breath

Bad Breath: What Causes It & How to Get Rid of It

In Dental Health by xponent21

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We’ve all met someone with memorable breath, and since it’s difficult to check your own breath, we’ve all hoped we’re not that person. Fear of bad breath is the reason gum and mints are featured as impulse purchases at checkouts around the world. If you think or have been told that your breath is less than appealing, your dental health may be the culprit. Fortunately, there are many approaches to dealing with bad breath that are also good for your teeth.

Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath can have a number of sources. The most common cause is dietary. For example, you’ve recently eaten a smelly food like onions or garlic or you’ve drunk coffee. Bad breath from food or drink is temporary and can easily be solved with a quick rinse, brushing, or mint. 

With persistent bad breath, it is often more difficult to diagnose a source. For many people, dental concerns are the first place to check. Patients with periodontal disease may be harboring an overabundance of bacteria, which can lead to a stinky scent. This is particularly common when a patient has a tooth with extensive decay.

Other common sources of bad breath include sinus problems, stomach issues, and other medical concerns. Furthermore, some people just have distinct breath for no apparent cause. If your dentist cannot determine a dental source of bad breath, they may refer you to a throat and nose specialist or your physician for further investigation.

Preventing Bad Breath

The fastest way for dealing with bad breath that stems from dental issues is to get rid of unwanted bacteria in the mouth. Visiting your dentist for cleaning to remove plaque and bacterial buildup and repairing any tooth decay can remove the source of the smell. For severe cases, your dentist may recommend a short term prescription antibacterial mouthwash to help remove and discourage bacteria from taking hold.

The best way to prevent bad breath caused by dental issues is to practice proper dental hygiene. Brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash every day keeps teeth healthy, prevents decay, and discourages bacterial overgrowth. 

Additionally, if you’re concerned about bad breath, you can add tongue scraping to your dental hygiene routine. Your tongue has deep grooves that can harbor bacteria that cause bad breath. Tongue scraping helps to break up bacterial colonies and can have a dramatic impact on breath odor.

Do gum and mints help?

Gum and mints are temporary fixes for bad breath. If the source of the smell is food or beverage related, a stick of gum or strong mint can quickly clear out the offending odor. However, if the underlying cause is dental or health-related, minty products will only serve to cover the issue for a short time, and may actually boost odor-causing mouth bacteria if they’re sugary. 

Long Term Solutions for Good Breath

Unless there’s an underlying health concern driving breath odor, dental care is the best way to treat and prevent bad breath. Maintaining a consistent brushing and flossing routine, going in for regular cleanings, and getting cavities and decay removed and filled will help support a healthy mouth and fresh breath.

Hidden Valley Dentistry provides excellent dental care to the Roanoke, VA area. Dr. James and Dr. Deyerle have over 50 years of combined dental experience, and our practice has been well-respected throughout the community for decades. Each member of our kind and welcoming staff strives to continue making our community smile even brighter! Schedule a dental appointment with us, and we’ll bring your smile to life.

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