Bad Breath Origins & How To Keep It At Bay

Posted on Jan 20, 2016 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If you wonder, “Do I have bad breath?” you probably do.

Occasional bad breath, though unwanted, is not unusual. After morning cups of coffee or an onion-laden meal, we can all emit less-than-welcome odors. Unfortunately, bad breath can have a lasting impression, a negative one. Frequent bad breath can even cause others to avoid close encounters as they anticipate having to inhale an offensive odor.

Bad breath can be the result of several problems. Some health problems can contribute to bad breath, including acid reflux and illnesses such as sinus infections, bronchitis and liver problems.

However, the most common cause of bad breath is the result of accumulated oral bacteria. Bacteria are living organisms that eat, reproduce and emit waste on a continual basis. Inadequate oral hygiene enables oral bacteria to develop into bad breath.Bad Breath

Without regular brushing and flossing, oral bacteria reproduce and plaque forms. Plaque is the sticky film you feel on teeth. When not removed, plaque hardens into a substance known as calculus. This is an accumulated colony of oral bacteria that attaches to tooth surfaces and dines on tooth enamel and gum tissue.

Sugary drinks and foods high in carbohydrates are the ideal food for oral bacteria. Consumption of these enable bacteria to reproduce more rapidly, accelerating their ability to grow and thrive in your mouth.

Persistent bad breath is also a symptom of gum disease. Other signs are gums that are tender and bleed when brushing. The color of your gum tissues may also seem darker in color than a healthy pink.

If signs of gum disease are present, there are various treatments that can restore your mouth to a healthy state depending on the level of gum disease present. As with anything, the earlier you have treatment, the less involved the process will be. Early treatment can mean a significant savings in treatment time and money.

If gum disease is not the source of your breath odor, another reason could be ‘dry mouth.’ Dry mouth causes your mouth to become stale and sticky. An example of dry mouth is when you first wake up. Since saliva flow is reduced during sleep, oral bacteria are not removed efficiently. This causes oral tissues to dry out and allows bacteria to accumulate.

The tendency to snore or breath through the mouth are habits that also contribute to dry mouth. If you smoke, dry mouth is a common side effect. Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that are severely drying to oral tissues. Alcoholic beverages are drying, as well, as is coffee. Some medications also have side effects that include oral dryness.

When you examine the true origin of most bad breath, oral bacteria is at the root of the problem in the majority of cases. To avoid (or greatly minimize) bad breath, begin with a clean, healthy mouth. If you haven’t had regular dental check-ups and cleanings, see a periodontal specialist to help you establish a foundation of good oral health. A Periodontist is a dental specialist who has advanced training in the treatment of gum tissues in the mouth. He or she is your best choice for establishing a mouth with minimal bacteria influences.

Once your oral health is in good shape, it’ll be easy to keep it there with the following steps:

– Brush at least twice daily for at least two minutes each time. Finish up by brushing your tongue to loosen embedded bacteria there, including the back of the tongue.
– Floss daily. If this is difficult, invest in an electronic flosser.
– Keep your mouth moist by drinking lots of water. If you take medications that have dying side effects, ask about oral rinses that can help to boost saliva flow.

Why worry about your breath when you can speak, laugh, whisper and kiss with confidence! Call 828-274-9440 and begin with a no-cost consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss your current oral health and how to achieve a healthy mouth and fresh breath.

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