Treatments for Bad Breath
Bad breath causes embarrassment and self-consciousness. It can make you afraid to get close to others and prevent you from speaking. Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be caused by poor oral hygiene or by the foods we eat. It is important to have a complete dental examination to pinpoint the cause of your bad breath. It may not be from the foods you are eating, but rather, a sign of something more serious. Dr. Michael Bixby - your premier Red Bank cosmetic dentist - will thoroughly examine the health of your mouth and then provide you with treatment options.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Malodorous foods like garlic and onions are a common cause of bad breath. Chewing gum and breath mints can help to mask such food odors, however, the scent will persist until the food is completely digested by your body.
Bad breath may also be a sign of something more serious. One key symptom of gum disease, or periodontal disease, is bad breath. Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue around the teeth and, in advanced stages, extends beneath the gum line and damages bone. Other causes of bad breath are:
- Yeast infections of the mouth
- Respiratory tract infections like bronchitis or pneumonia
- Inadequate saliva production, called dry mouth
- Certain illnesses and diseases like diabetes and acid reflux
What Can I Do to End Bad Breath?
Before you can end bad breath, we must determine the cause of the problem. Food alone might not be the cause. Bad breath can indicate infection or disease. Seeing a dentist will help you determine the direct cause. In the meantime, here are some steps you can take to reduce or eliminate bad breath:
- Practice proper oral hygiene - Thoroughly brush your teeth at least twice a day, or better yet, after every meal. Don't neglect flossing! Floss once a day to rid yourself of plaque between the teeth. Be sure to brush your tongue since it can be a bed for food particles and bacteria.
- Change the foods you eat - Avoid foods with strong odors like onions and garlic. Their odor often lasts long after your meal.
- Drink plenty of water - Drinking water prevents dry mouth and helps wash away bacteria and food remnants.
- Chew sugar-free gum - Chewing mint gum is helpful at masking odors but is also beneficial for saliva production. Saliva reduces bad breath by helping to clear the mouth of food and bacteria.
- Stop smoking or using chewing tobacco - Not only does smoking itself cause bad breath, but it can lead to gum disease, thus, compounding the problem.
- See your dentist regularly - A healthy mouth is free of infection, a major cause of bad breath. Seeing your dentist regularly is vital to preventing gum disease and tooth decay.
Ending bad breath begins with you. Take the first step and schedule an appointment with Dr. Bixby today. We welcome new patients to our Red Bank restorative dentistry practice and look forward to fulfilling all of your dental needs.