Let’s face it — bad breath is hard to talk about. Realizing you have bad breath can feel embarrassing and isolating (even though everyone has had it from time to time). On the other hand, telling someone they have bad breath can feel awkward for everyone involved.
So, what can we do about it? The good news is that it’s not a permanent situation. Bad breath can easily be resolved if you handle it accordingly.
What Is Halitosis?
Simply put, halitosis is the official medical term for bad breath. It is an extremely common and widespread condition that affects almost 1 out of every 4 people throughout the world. Studies have shown that about 50% of adults have experienced halitosis at some point in their lives.
Chronic halitosis (i.e., bad breath that doesn’t go away) can be a symptom of many different conditions. If you have an oral health issue or condition that affects other parts of your body, halitosis can essentially act as a warning message. More often than not, finding the cause of bad breath is the first step in treating the condition.
What Causes It?
Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of halitosis. If you do not take care of your mouth properly, such as regular brushing, flossing, and dental cleanings, harmful bacteria can rapidly spread throughout your mouth and cause several oral health issues, especially halitosis.
However, poor oral hygiene is not the only cause. There are many other potential causes of bad breath, including:
- Eating certain foods – Some food, such as garlic and onions, tend to have a lingering effect, which ultimately affects your breath.
- Dry mouth – A lack of saliva means that the mouth can’t cleanse itself and remove particles left behind by food like it normally would.
- Smoking and Tobacco products – Cigarettes, cigars, and so on cause bad breath and stain the teeth. Tobacco users are also at a higher risk of periodontal disease, irritated gums, loss of taste, and oral cancer.
- Gum disease – Both constant bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth are signs of gingivitis, which is caused by plaque. This not only causes bad breath, but makes your gums become swollen and red.
- Other health conditions – Respiratory infections, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, liver or kidney disorders, and so on can cause bad breath, which can be a warning sign to the rest of your body that something might be wrong.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
Overall, the main symptom of halitosis is foul-smelling breath that does not go away. While it can be hard to realize it for yourself, the odor might be strong enough for other people to notice. The smell can become even stronger in the morning or after drinking coffee, eating certain foods, or smoking.
How Can I Treat It?
When it comes to halitosis, the most important thing is to practice good oral hygiene.
Treatment may vary depending on the severity or the overall cause of the condition. For instance, if the cause is an underlying health condition, your dentist might refer you to your primary care provider.
However, if the cause has to do with your oral health, your dentist will most likely recommend a certain mouthwash or toothpaste and work with you to help control the condition.
How Can I Avoid It?
The best way to treat (and further avoid) halitosis is by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day (bonus points for after every meal!)
- Brushing your tongue to help remove bacteria build-up
- Rinsing your mouth using mouthwash (especially after eating foods such as onions and garlic)
- Flossing daily
- Visiting your dentist at least twice a year for routine checkups and cleanings
- Immediately consulting with your dentist regarding tooth decay and gum disease
To sum up, bad breath can easily be avoided or treated if you maintain good oral hygiene and consult your dentist. Make sure to check out Smiles by Stevens, one of the best dentists in Lancaster, PA!
Whether we’re caring for the kids, parents, or grandparents, we provide you all with the best dental services possible. We offer a wide variety of general, cosmetic, and dental implant services for your whole family!
If you’re looking for trusted family dentistry in Lancaster, PA, give us a call today.