Everyone at one point in their life has experienced bad breath. Maybe you just woke up and haven’t brushed your teeth, or you ate something loaded with garlic for lunch. But when does this cross the threshold from normal towards the condition known as halitosis? By learning what causes halitosis and how to avoid it, you can keep your breath smelling minty fresh!
What Is Halitosis?
Halitosis is when you have chronic bad breath. It means that no amount of mouthwash or toothpaste can treat it. It is often a result of not taking proper care of your oral health. When you eat, food particles gather throughout the mouth. They stick to the surfaces of the tongue, between the teeth, and on the gum tissue. Your bacteria break down these substances and release certain odors in the mouth. Left unmanaged, these smells culminate into halitosis.
What Causes Halitosis?
There are a few potential factors that put you at risk. These are not meant as a diagnostic tool but something to consider before your dental appointment.
- Dental conditions: cavities and gum disease create extra places for bad bacteria to gather. The rise in bacteria directly relates to your bad breath. At your appointment to address your halitosis, your local dentist can treat any outstanding dental problems. You should start seeing an improvement in your breath afterward.
- Dry mouth: saliva plays an essential part in your oral health. It not only helps you speak and eat, but it also disposes of any food debris. Dry mouth creates a shortage of saliva. Without the proper amount, your mouth can’t clean away dangerous pathogens. This creates your unpleasant breath and results in other dental conditions. An evaluation by your dentist can determine the cause of your dry mouth. Treatment for your dry mouth will ultimately resolve your halitosis.
- Nose, throat, and mouth infections: when you have an infection in the throat, mouth, or nose, the bad bacteria spreads to your mouth through a post nasal drip. This is a common result of a stuffy or congested nose. The bacteria feed off your mucus while your body fights it off. These biological processes create bad breath.
- Tobacco and smoking: tobacco products leave a bad taste in your mouth. This creates your halitosis. Smoking also dries out the mouth, leading to further complications that result in bad breath.
Improving your dental hygiene is the best way to treat your halitosis. Take a step back and evaluate your daily routines. It’s important that you always brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. Make sure that your toothpaste contains materials such as fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that naturally eliminates bad bacteria, so it’s an important part of your dental health. Another important activity is flossing. Floss at least once a day. It’s even better to floss after every meal. There are a few other lifestyle changes that can help: cut back on caffeinated beverages, drink more water, and chew sugarless gum to help your bad breath while stimulating saliva production.
It’s also important that you schedule an appointment with your dentist. Halitosis can be a sign of something more serious. Your bad breath indicates a cavity or a more serious gum condition. Make sure to always attend your six-month dental appointments. These allow your dental staff to thoroughly clean your teeth and evaluate their condition.