Is It Your Bad Breath They’ll Remember?

Posted on Jan 05, 2017 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

Business Insider says you have just 7 seconds to make a first impression. ( That’s not a lot of time, but just enough to make a lasting impression. If you’ve ever met someone who has bad breath, that memory seems to stand out far more than if they had a piece of spinach in their teeth, for example.Bad Breath

No one wants to be associated with bad breath. If you suspect you have bad breath, you probably do. We all have occasional bad breath, but frequent bad breath is a symptom of periodontal disease. This is often accompanied by tender gums that bleed when brushing. As the disease progresses, your gums will darken in color and recede from teeth. Without treatment, teeth will eventually loosen and may require removal.

However, occasional bad breath has one origin – oral bacteria. Accumulated oral bacteria are the source of about every problem that occurs in your mouth. A few simple measures can help you keep oral bacteria to a minimum an enjoy the confidence of fresh breath and being close with others.

Oral bacteria are living, eating and reproducing organisms that thrive on rotting food in the mouth. As they accumulate, a sticky film known as plaque forms. If not brushed away daily, plaque hardens on teeth into tartar (or calculus). This cement-hard form of bacteria attacks tooth enamel and eats away at tender gum tissues.

When gum disease is the source of persistent bad breath, it produces a foul odor in the mouth even shortly after brushing. Gum chewing and mints may temporarily camouflage the odor, but not for long. Because the tissues in the mouth are continuously being destroyed, the lingering odor prevails, even after brushing.

Dry mouth is a contributing factor to bad breath, primarily because oral bacteria can rapidly reproduce when not regularly cleansed away through saliva. Saliva is designed to sweep bacteria from the mouth on a consistent basis. Without sufficient saliva flow, bacteria are able to accumulate at a more rapid pace.

Some causes for dry mouth are smoking, certain illnesses, snoring, mouth-breathing, and side effects of some medications. Drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages are also drying to the mouth. The aging process can leave adults with insufficient saliva flow as well.

When you feel your mouth is dry, the ideal aid to saliva is drinking filtered water. Water is the perfect beverage when it comes to supporting your oral health. It also helps to keep your body hydrated, which aids in its overall function. Chewing sugarless gum is another way to help saliva flow and advised after meals when brushing is not possible.

The tongue is another source of oral bacteria. With its tiny grooves, bacteria embed in the tongue and enjoy a warm, moist haven for reproduction. This is why using a tongue scrapper daily or brushing the tongue with your tooth brush can significantly reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Be sure to get to the back of the tongue where the majority of oral bacteria are embedded.

The bottom line to having fresh breath is to control the bacteria levels in your mouth. Begin with a clean mouth through your six-month dental cleanings and exams. These appointments help to remove buildup that has accumulated between visits, reducing the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

Then, renew your commitment for a thorough at-home regimen. Brush for at least two minutes twice daily, floss daily and use a tongue scraper or brush your tongue. Drink lots of water throughout the day. Avoid sugary treats and drinks since bacteria are super-charged by sugars and carbohydrates. Limit caffeine and quit smoking. Swish after eating or drinking, especially caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, to counteract drying effects.

Love your mouth and your reward will be fresh breath and a healthy smile. If your breath is frequent or you are seeing blood in the sink when brushing, call 828-274-9440 to schedule an appointment. Gum disease will only worsen without treatment.

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