Halitosis can happen to anyone. Studies show that 50 percent of all adults report having had bad breath — also known as halitosis — at some point in their lives (and those are just the ones willing to admit it). Dr. Tom Trinkner, a dentist in Columbia SC, and his team want you to help you win the battle against bad breath.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath can have several causes. While most of them are harmless aside from making your breath displeasing, some can be a warning of something more serious.
Our mouths are full of bacteria although most of it is basically benign. Your mouth is an ideal environment for them as it is moist and warm. When you eat, these bacteria feast on the particles of food floating around in your mouth. This process creates a foul-smelling waste byproduct that causes bad breath.
Saliva rinses out your mouth constantly so it’s very important you have enough. If not, your mouth and teeth aren’t being cleaned out as well or as frequently as they should. Dry mouth can be a side effect of certain medications, breathing through your mouth or medical conditions such as untreated salivary gland problems. Proper hydration is vital to prevent your mouth from being dry. Doctors advise drinking at least 2 liters of water, or eight 8 ounce bottles per day, to prevent dehydration.
Chronic bad breath that you cannot get rid of or perpetually having a bad taste in your mouth can be a sign of advanced gum disease. Gum disease is when bacteria living in plaque — sticky, cavity-causing film on your teeth — infect your gums and cause them to become inflamed.
While it makes sense that gum disease and certain conditions of the mouth can cause bad breath, other medical conditions can also be contributors. If your dentist has already ruled out any dental or oral health conditions and you brush and floss regularly, your bad breath could be the result of another health issue. Ailments such as a sinus infections, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver and kidney disease can all cause halitosis. In this case, see your primary care provider as soon as possible.
How Can I Prevent Bad Breath?
Brush and Floss
Brushing twice daily and flossing between your teeth every day will help rid your mouth of the bacteria that are most likely causing your bad breath.
Take Care of Your Tongue
Don’t forget to clean off your tongue as you’re brushing your teeth. If you stick out your tongue and inspect the very back, you’ll see a coating of white or brown film. That’s the area where most of bacteria that cause bad breath tend to accumulate. Use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to remove them from your tongue when you brush your teeth and you may improve your breath.
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can eradicate some of the bacteria, neutralizing and temporarily masking bad breath. However, this is only a temporary solution to the problem. The longer you wait between brushing and flossing sessions, the more likely you are to have bad breath.
Keep Saliva In Your Mouth
Healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples help your mouth generate saliva. Also, keeping hydrated is important for helping your salivary glands make saliva. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies can help as well. Your dentist may also suggest artificial saliva if these easy fixes don’t help.
Schedule Regular Appointments With Your Dentist
If you’re in the Columbia SC area and you’re concerned about what might be causing your bad breath, schedule an appointment to see Dr. Trinkner. Regular check-ups will help Dr. Trinkner to spot any emerging problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your mouth is examined and found healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor to investigate the issue from a medical side. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Trinkner, call 803-400-8729 or make an appointment online.