When it comes to oral health, you can usually tell when something isn’t right, and the first sign is bad breath. Oral care shouldn’t be taken lightly, because what you eat, poor habits, and oral health problems could all be causes of bad breath. For all of us, bad breath is embarrassing, and if there is something wrong with your oral health, it can be a medical issue that you should have checked out by our dentist in Columbus.

dreamstime_xxl_39379347What Causes Bad Breath?

There are many different causes of bad breath, and most of the time you can get rid of the odor by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly or changing up your diet. Basically, what you eat can affect your breath, and poor oral habits such as forgetting to brush or floss your teeth surely don’t help the cause. Your mouth is your body’s first part of the digestion process. Foods are broken down in your mouth and then absorbed and digested into your body’s bloodstream. Eventually, this food that has become digested and, as part of your bloodstream, makes its way to your lungs, which in turn can give you bad breath. Foods with strong odors (like onions or garlic) can cover up odors temporarily if you brush, floss or use mouthwash, but these smells tend to stay in your body until they completely pass through.
In addition, if food is left in your teeth, bacterial growth will begin around the teeth, tongue and gums. This is one of the biggest culprits of chronic bad breath. So remember, it’s important to floss in between those pearly whites to keep your smile healthy, happy and odor free! You can start using an antibacterial mouthwash after you enjoy meals throughout the day. But never forget to brush and floss your teeth twice a day to keep your oral health happy and free of disturbing odors.

What Health Problems Are Associated With Bad Breath?

Persistent bad tastes in your mouth or bad breath may be a more serious sign of a gum problem, like periodontal disease. Gum disease is caused by an excessive buildup of plaque on your teeth, which, in other words, is bacteria. When bacteria forms on your teeth, it can irritate the gums with toxins. Once this happens, gum disease, if left untreated, will only cause damage to your gums and in some cases, your jawbone.

Bad breath may also be the cause of a poor fitting dental appliance, like a retainer or dentures. Yeast infections in the mouth and other dental issues, like cavities, can also cause bad breath.

Incredibly, there are more causes of bad breath, including the medical condition, dry mouth (xerostomia). When the mouth doesn’t moisten correctly with saliva to neutralize acids that are produced by plaque to wash away dead cells that accumulate on the gums, cheeks and tongue, these cells decompose, which causes bad breath. You may want to speak to your doctor about this, because it can be a side effect of many different medications, continuous breathing through the mouth or undiagnosed salivary gland problems. Other diseases or illnesses that have been known to cause bad breath include bronchitis, pneumonia, chronic sinus infections, chronic acid reflux, kidney problems, liver problems, diabetes and postnasal drip.

What Can You Do To Prevent Bad Breath?

  1. Preventing bad breath can be easier than ever if you practice good oral hygiene. By good oral hygiene, we mean brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove any plaque buildup from food debris on your tooth. You may want to think about brushing your teeth after you eat, and don’t forget to brush your tongue whenever you do brush your teeth. You should be replacing your toothbrush regularly too. A good rule of thumb would be to replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness. Additionally, you should be flossing your teeth once a day and washing out your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash twice a day.
  2. It’s important that you see your dentist regularly (twice a year) if you’re looking to prevent bad breath. Doing this will help to catch any problems that may be occurring and causing bad breath, such as periodontal disease, dry mouth or any other problems.
  3. If you’re smoking or chewing tobacco products, it’s important that you stop. You can ask our dentist for tips on kicking the habit.
  4. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. This not only will keep your mouth moist, but it helps to stimulate saliva production, to wash away food particles and bacteria.
  5. If you’re really trying to figure out why you’re suffering from chronic bad breath, it wouldn’t hurt to keep a food log. Write down what you eat and drink, so that our dentist can figure out what types of food you should be avoiding.