Morning breath. Garlic breath. Dragon breath. There are many ways to tell someone that their breath is less than fresh, which indicates it’s a common problem. So, what causes bad breath? And more importantly, how can you avoid it?
What Causes Bad Breath?
If you’re the kind of person who keeps gum in their pocket or a tin of mints in their desk, you might already be worried about bad breath. While it’s not the worst thing in the world, it can be socially embarrassing and awkward to deal with. It can also be a helpful warning sign regarding your dental health. If you’ve heard from a few people that your breath could use some sprucing up, don’t ignore it. Instead, learn what causes bad breath and how to avoid it.
Is Bad Breath a Medical Condition?
Bad breath isn’t something you should ignore, but it’s also usually easy to fix. While some bad breath is caused by medical issues, it’s just as often caused by more simple issues that you can control:
- Certain foods create strong odors, like garlic or onions. As these foods break down against your teeth, the resulting smell can have an adverse effect on your breath.
- Dry mouth, typically during sleep, can produce bad breath. Saliva helps cleanse your mouth and keep your breath fresh. While you sleep, your mouth can “dry out,” resulting in what many call morning breath. Certain medications can also cause dry mouth, which can be remedied by drinking more water throughout the day.
- Neglecting your daily dental hygiene may cause oral odors. Anything that leaves food breaking down in your mouth can result in bad breath, including forgetting to brush your teeth or skipping flossing.
If you notice that you have bad breath caused by one of these things, there’s no need to panic. Brushing your teeth, or even doing a quick rinse with some mouthwash, should remedy the issue. Gum and mints will also work in a pinch, but keep in mind that they are only temporary fixes. They will cover the odor, but to remove it, a toothbrush or mouthwash is necessary.
If you have chronic bad breath, however, that’s another issue entirely. If people have repeatedly commented on your breath being less-than-stellar, and toothbrushes and mouthwash don’t seem to have much of an effect, you may be dealing with a legitimate dental issue. A variety of things can cause chronic bad breath, and many require medical intervention to resolve:
- A prolonged lack of dental hygiene may cause bad breath. If you do not brush and floss regularly, plaque can build up in your mouth and on your tongue, resulting in an unpleasant odor. This can also occur with improperly cleaned dentures.
- Advanced dental decay or infections in the mouth can create or increase the presence of bad breath. Gum disease, sores in your mouth, or decaying teeth can all be the culprits.
- If you smoke tobacco, odds are good it is affecting your breath. Aside from the usual unpleasant scent of cigarettes, the chemicals in smoke create their own foul odor once they hit your saliva. People who smoke are also more likely to have gum disease, which can make bad breath even worse.
If these sound familiar, it’s time to visit a dentist and get some help with your bad breath. Sometimes a simple dental cleaning or a procedure to remove bacteria will be enough to fix the issue. If it is being caused by dental decay, more intervention may be needed, but you can rest assured that a dentist will be able to help you find a solution.
Bad breath can be frustrating and embarrassing. Luckily, if you stay on top of your dental hygiene, it probably won’t be an issue. If you can’t help going for that extra-garlicky pizza at lunch, just make sure you bring some mouthwash to use afterwards. If that doesn’t help, you can always give us a call too.
If you’re looking for an experienced, reliable, and friendly dentist in Springfield, Missouri, contact Wilkinson Dental. Dr. Wilkinson and his team will give you the personalized treatment you deserve using state-of-the-art technology. Schedule your first appointment today by calling 417-708-0556 or request an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you!