We all know that bad breath can be embarrassing and even cause anxiety. There are countless products out there aimed at fixing the problem. Gum, mints, mouthwash, and other products can be found in any store. This makes sense because approximately 30% of the population complains of some sort of bad breath. But what causes bad breath, and how can you avoid it? For most, keeping your mouth and teeth clean is a simple solution. However, sometimes bad breath is an indication of a more serious health condition, and you’ll need to talk to one of the doctors at Cashmere Family Dentistry.
Here are some of the causes of bad breath, so you can be more confident when you show your smile.
What Causes Bad Breath?
There’s no one specific “bad breath smell” because there are a variety of different causes for bad breath. Some common causes are:
The same spices that make a meal taste amazing can leave a strong scent lingering on your breath. Foods and spices such as garlic, onion, spicy foods, curry, some cheeses, fish, and acidic beverages such as coffee can leave a lingering smell. These smells usually fade quickly or can be fixed by giving your mouth a quick rinse with some mouthwash or chewing a piece of sugar-free gum.
If you smoke or use oral tobacco products, you may notice that they are a cause of bad breath. They can also lead to much more serious oral health issues. Apart from leaving your mouth smelling like an ashtray, they damage the gum tissue and cause gum disease. If you’ve been using tobacco products for any amount of time, the team at Cashmere Family Dentistry can check for warning signs.
One of the lesser-known causes of bad breath is a diet that is too high in sugar, or too low in carbohydrates. Eating a high-protein, low-carb diet can cause your metabolism to change because protein is harder for your body to digest. They tend to release sulfurous gases when they don’t metabolize. To avoid this, eat a more balanced and nutritious diet full of vegetables and herbs.
A diet high in sugar can cause bad breath because of how sugars interact with bacteria that’s already in your mouth. These bacteria feed on sugars to cause bad breath.
Saliva keeps your mouth clean by removing food particles that can be a cause of bad breath. When you’re not producing enough saliva and your mouth is consistently dry, it will often cause bad breath. This happens for a lot of people when they sleep, but if it’s happening often during the day, talk to Dr. Janie Busk, Dr. Ryan Busk, or Dr. Danielle Harris to determine is treatment is a necessary step for you.
Certain prescription medications can also cause dry mouth, so if you believe this may be a possibility, check with the prescribing physician.
Bacteria is usually to cause of bad breath, but there are a number of health conditions that can be a culprit as well. Bad breath may be the first warning sign to more serious problems. Postnasal drip, respiratory and tonsil infections, sinus problems, diabetes, liver and kidney issues, and certain blood disorders can be causes of bad breath. It’s rare, but bad breath can be a sign of cancer or other serious conditions like metabolic disorders.
Overall Oral Health
Even with all of these causes of bad breath, most bad breath is due to a simple problem: poor oral hygiene. If you keep your teeth and mouth clean, food particles can stay in your mouth and allow a sticky buildup of bacteria known as plaque to form on your teeth. The uneven surfaces on your tongue and tonsils are especially good at trapping food and bacteria that can cause bad breath.
If not corrected, poor oral hygiene can cause other oral problems such as cavities and gum disease. Visit Busk Family Dentistry to learn how to take excellent care of your teeth and mouth and prevent future problems.
How To Treat Bad Breath
The most effective way to treat most instances of bad breath is by practicing good oral hygiene. If food is the cause of your bad breath, brush your teeth after you eat. Antibacterial toothpaste can help prevent bad breath. Don’t forget to brush your tongue as well as your teeth. Make sure to also floss at least once a day to get rid of trapped food particles that can cause bad breath. Finally, rinse with a mouthwash containing fluoride to eliminate odors and give your teeth an extra layer of protection.
If you have oral appliances like braces, Invisalign aligners, or dentures, take special care to make sure they’re sparkling clean. Ask your dentist or orthodontist for tips on keeping appliances clean if your having trouble, or are worried about bad breath.
If dry mouth is the cause of your bad breath, try to drink more water throughout the day, and as soon as you wake up. This will help keep bacteria from sticking to your teeth and causing odors. Other beverages like soda, coffee, or alcohol can actually make the problem worse, so swap those types of drinks in favor of water if you’re concerned about dry mouth.
Eliminate Bad Breath, Regain Your Confidence
If you suffer from chronic bad breath, you don’t have to live your life worrying about making a bad impression. At Cashmere Family Dentistry, we’re committed to helping you use your smile to get the most out of life. We can help determine the cause of bad breath, and what kind of treatment you might need. If bad breath is a sign of a more serious health problem, we’ll help you determine the best next steps and either begin a treatment plan or recommend a specialist who can provide treatment.