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Halitosis (Bad Breath)

Halitosis is an oral health condition characterized by consistently odorous breath. Often identifying the cause of bad breath is the first step toward treating this preventable condition. Most people with bad breath are not aware they have this problem. If you are concerned about bad breath, see Dr. Simone.  He can help you identify the cause of your halitosis and a treatment to help eliminate the odors. 

 

What causes bad breath?

 

There are just as many causes of bad breath as there are sources of bacteria in the mouth. Halitosis may be caused by the following:

 

  • certain foods - The things you eat contribute largely to your oral health care, including your breath. Items such as garlic and onions, or any food, are absorbed into the bloodstream, become transferred into the lungs, and become expelled in the air you breathe. Until that food becomes eliminated by the body, the potential for it affecting a person's breath is present.
  • poor oral healthcare - Without proper and consistent brushing and flossing, and routine examinations by your dentist, food remains in the mouth, which is a breeding ground for bacteria, which, in turn, causes odorous breath. Food that is allowed to collect on the teeth, gums, and tongue may cause the gums to rot, which causes an unpleasant odor and taste in the mouth.
  • improper cleaning of dentures - Dentures that are not cleaned properly may be collecting bacteria and remaining food particles which cause bad breath.
  • periodontal disease - One of the primary symptoms of this gum disease is foul, odorous breath, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth. This condition requires immediate care by an oral health professional.
  • xerostomia (dry mouth) - This condition is often a large contributor to halitosis. Characterized by a significant decrease in saliva production, the mouth is unable to cleanse itself and remove debris and particles left behind by food. Xerostomia may be caused by certain medications, a salivary gland disorder, or by continuously breathing through the mouth, instead of the nose.
  • tobacco products - Not only do tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and snuff stain the teeth and put the body at risk for a host of diseases, they also contribute to bad breath.


Treatment for halitosis:

 

Specific treatment for halitosis will be determined by your physician or dentist based on:

  • health of your mouth
  • cause or origin of the condition
  • extent of the condition
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • your opinion or preference


Recommendations:

 

  • Control your periodontal disease and maintain good oral health. Regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take. Some medications may play a role in creating mouth odors. Let Dr. Simone know if you've had any surgery or illness since your last appointment.
  • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque.
  • Brush your tongue with a tongue scrapper.
  • Floss once a day or use an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth.
  • If you wear a dentures remove it from your mouth while sleeping. Clean them thoroughly before replacing them the next morning.
  • Mouthwashes are generally cosmetic and do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath.


If you must constantly use a breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, see your dentist. If you need extra help in controlling plaque, Dr. Simone may recommend using a special antimicrobial mouth rinse. A fluoride mouth rinse, used along with brushing and flossing, can help prevent tooth decay.