Bad breath is a nuisance. It can be embarrassing, prevent you from smiling and keep you from talking.
However, bad breath can be a sign of ailments and diseases that are more dangerous than just an unfortunate case of halitosis. So, how do you know the difference? And when should you schedule an appointment with your dentist?
When Bad Breath Is Something More
Regular bad breath is caused by bacteria in the tongue and throat. Certain foods make our breath stink, like coffee, chocolate and onions. The dreaded morning breath is never pleasant, either, which is simply caused by a dry mouth. Smokers also can experience halitosis, which happens because the smoke inside the mouth replaces oxygen. Other causes of bad breath include:
- Gum disease. When too much plaque builds on the teeth, you can develop gum disease, which causes the gums to recede and pockets to form between the teeth. That bacteria causes your breath to smell.
- Infected tooth. Bacteria that live inside an infected tooth can give off smelly compounds, causing chronic bad breath.
- Certain cancers. Cancers produce different chemicals in the body. You expel those chemicals as you breathe out.
- Dry mouth. Though dry mouth isn’t as serious as some other ailments, the unpleasant breath associated with dry mouth can be embarrassing. When your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva due to dry mouth, bad breath results. Since saliva protects your teeth, dry mouth is often linked to poor oral health.
- Liver failure. Known as fetor hepaticus, late stages of liver failure can cause sweet-smelling, musty breath.
- Infections. Strep throat and other infections of the nose, throat and mouth can make the breath smell.
Time to Check in With Your Dentist
If you’re experiencing persistent bad breath, you’ve probably tried quite a few things already; brushing your teeth more often, chewing gum, using mouthwash and avoiding foods that might trigger halitosis.
If you haven’t recently changed your diet, your bad breath won’t go away, or if you’re experiencing other symptoms, your dentist will be able to determine if your bad breath is being caused by plaque or another more serious ailment.
Preventing Bad Breath
If your dentist determines that your bad breath isn’t a symptom of something more, you do have some options. Some ways you can ensure your breath stays fresh as long as possible throughout the day, try some of the following techniques:
- Maintaining good at-home oral health, especially brushing twice a day and flossing once a day
- Visiting your dentist for biannual check-ups and dental cleanings, where your dentist will give your teeth a deep clean
- Drink more water
- Scrape your tongue, especially after eating or brushing your teeth
- Quit smoking and using tobacco
- Chew sugarless gum
- Avoid sugary foods, or foods you know will make your breath smell
Still Concerned? We Can Help
If you’re still concerned about your oral health and believe your bad breath may be a symptom of something worse, call 760-967-8899 to schedule an appointment with Deluxe Dental Oceanside. Our dentist and professional team will help you create a plan of attack for your halitosis and spot any underlying issues.