Halitosis is the Medical Condition for Bad Breath
Bad breath can be the cause of embarrassment and anxiety for many people. Our senses often get used to the scents coming from our bodies, so it can be hard for you to recognize if your breath does, in fact, smell bad. Sometimes the best way to tell if you have bad breath is to just ask a friend. There are many who struggle with this but still wonder what causes chronic bad breath.
A number of reasons can lead to chronic bad breath from a lack of proper oral hygiene to lifestyle choices. It’s important for you to know what you are dealing with, so you can best remedy your situation.
What is Bad Breath?
Halitosis is the name of the condition of bad breath, and it is far more common than many people realize. An estimated 1 in 4 people suffer from chronic bad breath. It is the third most common reason why people seek dental care, following tooth decay and gum disease.
There are many quick fixes you can find like chewing gum, mouthwashes, and breath mints that can fight the smell but not for long. Bad breath can be made much worse by the food you eat and some unhealthy lifestyle habits. The main symptom of halitosis is simply just poor smelling breath. You can ask a friend or better yet your dentist to confirm or deny this.
There are many reasons that lead to bad breath, and they all begin and end with your mouth. Some of these include:
- Food: When the food in and around your teeth begin to break down, bacteria can increase and cause foul odors. Specific foods such as garlic and onions are known to cause bad breath right after eating them. Once these foods are digested, they enter your bloodstream and are eventually carried to your lungs, affecting the smell of your breath.
- Tobacco: The use of tobacco products will always result in unpleasant mouth odors. Tobacco products like cigarettes and chewing tobacco often lead to gum disease, which causes bad breath itself.
- Dry Mouth: The saliva in your mouth helps wash away any leftover food particles remaining in your teeth that may cause bad breath. When there is a lack of saliva, these particles are left in your mouth to break down. A condition known as xerostomia contributes mouth odor by decreasing saliva production.
- Poor Dental Hygiene: Arguably the most common cause of bad breath is a lack of proper oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth removes food particles and bacteria buildup that cause bad breath if left. A layer of bacteria buildup known as plaque can cause inflammation of the gums, or periodontitis.
- Medications: Some medications have side effects that include dry mouth, which we have stated leads to bad breath. Some drugs release chemicals that cause odors once they are broken down.
Treating halitosis is relatively simple and can be done on your own at home. You should be practicing good oral hygiene, which includes brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once a day. Replace your two brush every three months to maximize scrubbing. Do not forget to brush your tongue as it can often build up bacteria.
You may need to make some lifestyle changes as well. Stop the use of tobacco products like chewing tobacco and cigarettes. This will stop the odors they produce as well as saving you from gum disease and cancer. Your diet may also need to change. Try removing foods you know cause bad breath from your diet and make sure you continue to drink water to stay hydrated. Water helps you from getting dry mouth.
If you continue to practice these tricks and still struggle with halitosis, you should seek treatment from a dental expert. There may be an underlying oral health concern that is leading to bad breath. The oral health experts at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas are here to educate you on halitosis and other proper oral care tips to ensure your breath smells fine.