The topic for this month is one that many people worry about: bad breath, also called halitosis. We’ll cover the common causes of bad breath and what can be done to make your breath as fresh as possible.
Diet is the the most common cause of halitosis. The scent from strong-smelling foods like onions and garlic is absorbed into our blood and released over the next 1-3 days through our lungs and skin. If you believe food is the main cause, try switching your diet, brushing after meals, and using a tongue scraper to remove excess food particles from your mouth.
A chronic gum infection, known as periodontal disease, can also lead to halitosis. Gum disease is a bacterial infection of the gums that causes bleeding gums and bone loss. The infection is caused by bacteria that release a very strong distinct odor. Treating active periodontal disease will eliminate or reduce bad breath from this source.
Bad breath also can originate from the back of the throat, especially around the tonsils. Tonsils can sometimes produce tonsiliths, or tonsil stones, which produce odor. Tonsil stones appear as white spots on the tonsils. The best way to take care of this problem at home is to gargle with warm salt water, which may dislodge the stones. If this is ineffective, please come see us at Kaufman Dentistry.
The fourth potential cause of bad breath is acid reflux, or heartburn. Not only can this cause bad breath, but it also may cause more serious medical and dental problems. The causes of heartburn are many and should be investigated by your medical or dental provider.
The final common cause of bad breath is a phenomenon known as ketosis. Ketosis is a way the body breaks down energy in a starving state. This is common in patients with uncontrolled diabetes, and with patients on low carbohydrate diets.
The best way to figure out the cause and best treatment of your bad breath is to come see your dentist and discuss your concerns with him. Though some patients find this subject to be uncomfortable, your dentist can help you fix your bad breath, plus alert you to any underlying medical or dental problems that may be the root of the problem.