Let’s face it…nobody wants to have bad breath! But the sad fact is that many Canadians experience persistent and embarrassing bad breath (chronic halitosis) and spend millions on mouthwashes, mint and toothpaste that promise quick results and fresher smelling breath but only mask the problem for a short time.
In most cases, bad breath originates in the mouth. Even a healthy mouth contains millions of bacteria; the moist, warm conditions in the mouth are an ideal environment for bacteria to grow and multiply. So, without thorough, regular brushing & flossing; food particles can remain in the mouth – on the teeth, tongue, gums and other tissues collecting bacteria and creating an unpleasant odour.
Improperly cleaned removable dentures can also harbour odour-causing food particles and bacteria, so if you wear dentures take them out at night and clean them thoroughly with denture cleaner before wearing them again.
To help keep your breath fresh it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing the teeth, gums and tongue at least twice daily, and flossing once a day. Try using a tongue scraper to clean as far back on your tongue as possible. An oral irrigator can also be helpful by flushing out debris and plaque from areas with periodontal pockets and around crowns and bridges.
Eat snacks like celery and raw carrots and drink plenty of water. Chewing sugar-free gum can help too because it stimulates the flow of saliva that helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Avoid mouth rinses containing high levels of alcohol because they contribute to the drying of the oral tissues. There are several antiseptic mouth rinses available that instead of simply masking bad breath odour, can kill the bacteria and control the bad breath by neutralizing odour-causing compounds.
Sometimes bad breath can signal other (potentially serious) dental or general health problems including tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, sinus problems, xerostomia (dry mouth) or in rare cases, systemic diseases such as diabetes, liver, kidney or stomach disorders and lung problems. If your mouth is healthy and the odour is not of oral origin, you can be referred to a physician for further diagnosis and treatment.
Most people are not capable of determining that they have bad breath because the nose becomes adapted to one’s own odours. If you suspect that you may be experiencing persistent bad breath, a visit to our office for a thorough dental examination and professional cleaning is a good place to start because as dentists we receive training on identifying & treating many different causes of bad breath. After a complete dental examination to assess the source of the bad breath problem, we can develop a treatment plan to help make your breath fresh and pleasant to others.
To learn more about bad breath treatment options, just schedule an appointment to see us.
Yours for better dental health,
Dr. Russell Grover