Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be embarrassing, especially when other people comment on it, making you feel self-conscious about talking or even smiling. But chronic bad breath can also be a sign of a larger problem. Most cases of bad breath occur after a meal with onions or other ingredients with strong odors, or after going a long time without brushing. These cases are resolved by brushing or gargling with mouthwash. Chronic halitosis, on the other hand, occurs frequently and can only be temporarily relieved with basic hygiene. This is because chronic bad breath doesn’t exist on its own; it’s often a symptom of a more serious problem and cannot be resolved without the proper treatment.
What causes bad breath?
The causes of bad breath vary widely. They include:
- Poor oral hygiene habits: infrequent brushing, not flossing and not rinsing with mouthwash can lead to excessive, odor-causing bacteria in the mouth
- Chronic illnesses: poorly controlled diabetes can cause a buildup of sugar, which attracts bacteria, while kidney failure can cause a fishy smell in the mouth
- Medications: Antidepressants, diuretics and other medications that cause dry mouth can reduce your saliva production, making it more hospitable to bacteria
- Gum disease or infection: whether at the gum line or in the tooth itself, periodontitis and other infections in the mouth can leave an unpleasant taste and a bad odor in your mouth
What are the remedies for bad breath?
The best remedies for bad breath depend on the causes. However, you can take a few steps to treat the problem, or even prevent it.
- Schedule a visit with an experienced dentist at Hanover Family Dentistry. A deep dental cleaning can sometimes relieve the problem, but treating halitosis permanently requires treating the underlying causes.
- Improve your oral cleaning habits to make bad breath less chronic and severe. Make sure you brush your teeth in the morning and at night before bed, or once after every meal. Floss after each brushing, and add mouthwash or anti-cavity rinse to your daily routine.
- Visit your doctor to check for any underlying medical conditions. If your medication is causing the problem, your doctor can change your prescription. If you have diabetes, you may need to change your diet or insulin regimen to lower your blood glucose. Other potential causes may be treated with antibiotics or other medications.
While some treatments for halitosis can be done at home, the dentist can be a great source of advice and information. If you’re having trouble treating halitosis, visit Hanover Family Dentistry and put an end to bad breath. Your dentist will give you a thorough examination to determine the cause of your bad breath, and help you take steps to end it.