Nobody wants to have bad breath. It can impair a person's desire to have intimate conversations and erode self-confidence. While bad breath can occur occasionally because of certain foods, chronic bad breath, called halitosis can indicate the presence of other health conditions or the lack of proper oral hygiene and care.
Food and spices, such as onion or garlic, are all broken down in the mouth as they are eaten. When food is digested, it is absorbed by the blood stream and travels into the lungs, and then is carried out on the breath. Brushing, flossing, using mouthwash, or chewing gum can mask the odor, but the breath will not clear until the food has passed through the body.
Bad breath may also result if food particles remain the mouth allowing bacteria to grow on the tongue, between teeth, and around the gums. That's why flossing and brushing are critical to maintaining fresh breath.
Health conditions and other factors that may cause bad breath include:
- Tobacco use
- Gingivitis or periodontitis
- Yeast infection of the mouth
- Poorly fitted dentures
- Dry mouth, or xerostomia, which may also be a side effect of constant mouth breathing, medications, or salivary gland dysfunction
- Pneumonia, bronchitis, or other respiratory infections
- Acid reflux
- Liver or kidney problems
- Sinus infections or postnasal drip
Dr. Charles Martin at Richmond Smile Center believes that the best dental outcomes are achieved in partnership between the patient and our professional dental team. We focus on education, prevention, communication, and personal attention.
Preventing bad breath
One of the most important steps to preventing bad breath is to establish and maintain a trusting and familiar relationship with your professional dental team. We encourage patients to visit once or twice a year for professional cleaning, oral health screening, and monitoring changes that may occur which may indicate the development of gum disease, dry mouth, or other health conditions. Other prevention methods include:
- Prioritize optimal oral hygiene.
- Brush at least twice a day, with the appropriate type of toothbrush in a gentle, circular motion, addressing the front and back of each tooth individually. Replace your toothbrush every couple of months or after any illness. Brush the tongue to remove bacteria.
- Floss daily between teeth in an up and down motion to remove particles of food that become trapped.
- Remove and clean dentures thoroughly before going to bed.
- Avoid smoking or tobacco products.
- Hydrate frequently. Drinking water keeps the mouth moist and stimulates saliva production, which helps remove bacteria and food particles. Sugarless gums or mints can also moisten the mouth.
- Pay attention to food or medications that seem to cause bad breath and discuss them with your dentist.
Call Richmond Smile Center today for an appointment or consultation at 804.417.7203 We are located at 11201 Huguenot Road in Richmond, Virginia.
Last Updated - August 2015
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