Bad Breath: What Are My Treatment Options?

A laughing woman covering mouthHalitosis, commonly known as chronic bad breath, can significantly impact a person’s confidence and reputation. The clinical condition of halitosis goes beyond “morning breath” or the temporary breath odor experienced after eating a garlic-laced entree. It is a real condition, with embarrassing effects. Halitosis can be treated, but the cause of your bad breath must first be identified. If you’re one of the thousands of Americans who seek a solution for halitosis, visit our Wilmington dental practice so that we can determine the cause of your bad breath and suggest treatment. In some cases, restorative dentistry treatments that clean the teeth and gums and treat decay alleviate bad breath. Other times, simply changing one’s diet or oral hygiene practices may be the solution.  

Common Causes of Bad Breath

The following are some of the common causes of bad breath:

  • Diet: Probably the most common cause of halitosis is found within the diet. Oils in fatty meat, cheese, and many types of salad dressings can cause bad breath. The food is absorbed into the bloodstream and after the blood flows through the lungs, air exhaled through the mouth can smell foul. In addition, foods that cause acid reflux may lead to increased oral bacteria and cavities, which contribute to halitosis. In addition, strong-smelling delicacies that contain garlic, curry, or onions cause bad breath; if consumed regularly, the bad breath can become chronic. The good news is, if food is causing your bad breath, there’s an easy solution: Change your diet, even if it means cutting back on some of your favorite dishes.
  • Bacteria: Ideally, everyone would brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Oral hygiene is crucial to good oral health and fresh breath. Without regular, proper brushing and flossing, bacteria can build up on teeth and gums and cause chronic bad breath. Bacteria also cause tooth decay, which will leave your breath with a sour odor.
  • Gum disease: Gum (periodontal) disease, a major cause of bad breath, affects over half of Americans. This condition is caused by the buildup of bacterial plaque and tartar below the gum line. Gum disease can cause gum recession, and, among other symptoms, bad breath. Unless you have obvious symptoms, like pain, bleeding gums, or gum recession, the only way to know if your bad breath is the result of bacteria is to attend a dental checkup.
  • Dehydration and dry mouth: If you drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks, your saliva glands may not produce the moisture your mouth needs to fight the bacteria that cause bad breath. If your mouth feels dry, drink plenty of water or chew sugarless gum throughout the day to activate your salivary glands and ward off halitosis. Mouthwash or spray can also help to moisten the mouth and alleviate bad breath. Additionally, the clinical condition of chronic dry mouth can be caused by problems with the salivary glands or as a side effect of certain medications. In this situation, synthetic saliva may help, but you should also discuss the condition with your dentist or physician.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: Halitosis may be caused by underlying illness, like diabetes, kidney disease, sinus infections, or sometimes even psychiatric illnesses. If a medical condition is causing your halitosis, the best route of action is seeking treatment for the underlying illness to help manage your bad breath. Should your medications contribute to bad breath, talk with your physician about alternative prescriptions.

Seek Treatment for Bad Breath

Don’t let bad breath affect your life for another day. Contact our dental office to set up an initial consultation so that we can discuss your halitosis and determine the cause. The experienced dentists at Emmi Dental Associates will help you find relief from your bad breath so that you can breathe easy.