How NOT To Be The One With Bad Breath!

Posted on Apr 25, 2018 by William J. Claiborne, DDS MS

If you’ve ever wondered “Is my breath bad?” when in close conversations, you know it’s an uneasy feeling. We ALL know this because, when the shoe is on the other foot, being with someone who’s breath odor causes an uncomfortable wall of P-U tends to create a poor and lasting impression!

We all suffer occasionally with not-so-pleasant breath, such as after morning coffee or an onion-topped hot dog lunch. While any bad breath is unwelcome, it is not unusual on occasion. We can often pop a couple of breath mints or piece of gum in our mouths and feel we are somewhat in better shape.

However, it’s when people have frequent bad breath that concerns me, as a dentist, the most.

The root source of bad breath is oral bacteria. Bacteria are living organisms that eat, reproduce and emit waste on a consistent basis. Drinking sugary colas and a diet of high carbohydrate foods rev up bacteria reproduction even more, boosting their ability to grow and thrive.

Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause for bad breath. Not brushing and flossing adequately allows oral bacteria to reproduce, which leads to plaque.

Plaque is the sticky film you feel on teeth when you’ve missed brushing. When not removed daily, plaque forms into a cement-hard substance known to as calculus. This mass is actually a colony of oral bacteria that attaches to teeth and can no longer be brushed or flossed away.

Calculus attacks enamel and gum tissues. As the bacteria grows, it causes the gum tissues to become inflamed. This inflammation can quickly develop into gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. If not resolved fully, however, gingivitis can lead to full-blown periodontal (gum) disease.

Many people are not aware that a common symptom of gum disease is persistent bad breath. This may be accompanied by tender gums that bleed easily when brushing. As it progresses, the gums may loosen from teeth (or ‘recede’) and turn red in color.

When we perform periodontal exams, we look for signs of inflammation and redness. If signs of gum disease are present, we will recommend appropriate treatment to restore your mouth to a healthy state.

While we only recommend the most conservative treatment needed for the level of gum disease that exists, we urge prompt treatment. Gum disease only worsens without treatment and, as with anything, the sooner the problem is resolved, the less involved the process will be. Early treatment can also mean less treatment time and expense.

If gum disease is not the cause of your breath odor, another culprit may be ‘dry mouth.’ Dry mouth causes your mouth to be stale and sticky, which creates bad breath. Dry mouth can be the result of many sources. For example, it is a common side effect of many medications.

Another example of dry mouth is when you first wake up because saliva flow is minimized during sleep. For people who breath through their mouths or snore, this dries oral tissues even more. Unfortunately, this means oral bacteria are not being flushed from of our mouths and able to accumulate.

Other drying causes come from what we may eat or drink. For example, alcoholic beverages, coffee and chocolate are drying to oral tissues. For those who smoke, oral dryness is a particular challenge. Cigarette smoke contains a large number of chemicals that are severely drying.

Want to keep your breath fresh? Preventing bad breath is actually easy. It simply requires a commitment to manage bacteria levels in the mouth.

Begin with a periodontal examination and cleaning to establish a foundation of good oral health. Once your oral health is in good shape, you can keep it there through a thorough daily oral hygiene regimen, which includes:

 – Brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Finish by brushing your tongue with your tooth brush to loosen embedded bacteria there. Be sure to get to the back portion of the tongue, where the majority of oral bacteria are embedded.

– Floss daily to dislodge particles caught between teeth that a toothbrush may not be able to dislodge. If you find this action difficult, consider purchasing an electronic flosser.

– Keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of filtered water throughout the day. If you take medications that are dying, consider using an oral rinse to boost saliva flow and replenish oral moisture.

Having good oral health and ways is important to having fresh breath. Yet, it is also important to having good overall health. Call 828-274-9440 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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