Discovering how to reclaim good breath.
The “breath check” is a ritual that many of us are used to carrying out before we leave the house. If we feel like our breath might be getting a little worse for wear or—we’ll just say it—reminiscent of a dragon, we might even slip in a discreet breath check while we’re out and about. After all, we want to make a good impression on the people around us, and part of that is having good breath. But if you’ve ever struggled with bad breath, you likely know that it’s not always as simple as it seems. It can feel like your breath smells bad again just a few minutes after you’ve brushed your teeth. Thankfully, you don’t have to deal with this forever! There are several different causes of chronic bad breath, but you can take steps to improve or eliminate all of them. Discovering the root cause of your bad breath can set you on the path to banishing your bad breath for good!
Saliva plays a crucial role in your oral health by washing food debris from your mouth, actively fighting oral bacteria, and lowering the acidity level in your mouth. When your mouth isn’t producing enough saliva, it can cause bad breath—in fact, reduced saliva production at night is why your breath smells bad when you wake up in the morning. As a result, chronic dry mouth is a very common cause of bad breath. This issue has a range of potential causes, though, so it’s important to pinpoint the specific cause for you.
Dry mouth is a common side effect of many over-the-counter and prescription medications, but it can also be caused by chemotherapy or radiation treatments to the head and neck. Dry mouth can also be a symptom of other health conditions, including diabetes and autoimmune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome, or it can simply be the result of aging. Once you’ve discovered the cause of your chronic dry mouth, you can begin working on solutions to treat it! This may involve treating underlying conditions, adjusting medications, staying hydrated, or using specialized mouthwash that’s designed to help alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth.
Other Causes of Bad Breath
If you don’t suffer from chronic dry mouth, there are still a range of potential culprits for your bad breath. Poor oral hygiene is a major factor, and any active tooth decay or gum disease in your mouth can further worsen the smell of your breath. Infections or chronic inflammation in your mouth, throat, or sinuses can also cause bad breath, as well as a range of illnesses like certain metabolic disorders and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
In other cases, your bad breath is simply the result of habits like tobacco use or due to your diet. Compounds from garlic, onions, and certain spices enter your bloodstream during digestion, infiltrating your lungs and resulting in bad breath for several days after you last ate them—no matter how well you brush your teeth. As a result, diets that are heavy in these types of foods can cause you to have bad breath more often than not.
Dental Solutions for Bad Breath
Thankfully, there are several ways you can address specific dental issues if you suspect that they’re the cause of your bad breath. The first is simply to commit to a great oral hygiene routine, which means brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day, flossing at least once a day, and using mouthwash.
When you brush your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue, too! Bacteria build up on it just like they do on your teeth, so not brushing your tongue can cause your bad breath to come back not long after you brushed your teeth. Brushing your tongue will also help your teeth get fresher and stay that way for longer—which is a major bonus!
While flossing regularly won’t treat more severe gum disease, otherwise known as periodontitis, it can help you get rid of gingivitis (a less severe form of gum disease), which will also cure bad breath. You can also tailor your oral hygiene routine to your unique needs; if you’re struggling with dry mouth or gingivitis, try using a specialized mouthwash that’s designed to help you resolve these issues. You might be surprised by how much of a difference implementing these changes in your oral hygiene routine can make!
Another huge step you can take is scheduling regular dental appointments with Dr. Cooley Bentz. The professional cleanings you receive at these appointments actively help fight decay, remove hardened tartar from your teeth, and give Dr. Cooley Bentz the chance to examine your teeth to spot issues like cavities and gum disease early. If you’re suffering from cavities or gum disease, getting these issues diagnosed and treated can improve the smell of your breath as well as your oral and overall health. When you keep up with these appointments, you can prevent chronic bad breath from developing in the first place by ensuring that your teeth and gums are healthy.
Home Remedies for Bad Breath
In addition to making changes to your oral hygiene routine, you can identify potential sources of bad breath in your everyday life. Do your best to curb habits like tobacco use—which is bad for your oral and overall health as a whole, not just your breath—and take a look at your diet to see if you should cut down on the amount of onion or garlic you’re eating. You can’t help having a medical condition that triggers bad breath, but if you suffer from one, such as GERD or Sjogren’s syndrome, talk to a doctor about what you can do to minimize your symptoms. Getting these conditions and the symptoms that go along with them under control will help you feel better on a daily basis and may help improve your breath.
When to Call Your Dentist
If you’re concerned about your bad breath, you can always call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Cooley Bentz. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry! There are several circumstances, however, in which you should definitely call and schedule an appointment with your dentist. The first is if you’re experiencing any tooth pain or sensitivity, as this could indicate that you’re suffering from a cavity.
Additionally, when you step up your oral hygiene routine and begin flossing regularly, you may notice that your gums bleed at first. This is a sign that you had some gingivitis, but it should go away on its own after a week or two of daily flossing. If it doesn’t or if the bleeding is severe, you could have periodontitis and should call Dr. Cooley Bentz to schedule an appointment right away. Finally, if you’ve done everything you can think of and still can’t seem to get rid of your bad breath, Dr. Cooley Bentz can examine your teeth and gums for signs of decay. Even if your teeth and gums are completely healthy, she will still be able to shed some light on the cause of your bad breath.
We’ve all had bad breath at one time or another, struggling to breathe and speak in a way that lets as little air out of our mouths as possible. It’s not a fun exercise in control! Thankfully, finding the cause and settling on bad breath cures that work for you can help ensure that you start passing your breath checks with flying colors! If you’d like to learn more or discuss your bad breath with Dr. Cooley Bentz, feel free to call our office at any time to schedule a consultation.