Preventing Bad Breath: Causes and Treatments

Dec 11, 2014 @ 03:06 PM — by Charles A. Porter III, DDS

A woman covering her mouth It's pretty common to experience bad breath after eating certain foods, but did you know that persistent bad breath can actually be a sign of something more serious? Bad breath isn't always caused by the foods we eat and the beverages we drink. It can also be caused by oral health issues like gum disease and tooth decay. Dr. Charles A. Porter offers a variety of  restorative dentistry options to repair dental damage and restore oral health. Though restorative dentistry treatments can reduce bad breath symptoms, in order to effectively treat bad breath, it is important to determine the cause. Read on to learn more about the causes of bad breath and treatment options available to our Charlotte patients.

Bad Breath Causes

Bad breath can happen to anyone, especially given the right meal. Though garlic-filled spaghetti or a nice slice of onion on a cheeseburger can make for a delicious meal, they also cause bad breath. Food is a major culprit of bad breath but it's actually the least severe cause. Other causes of bad breath are health-related, which is why chronic bad breath should not be ignored. Health issues like gum disease, tooth decay, and even diabetes can result in bad breath. The most common causes of bad breath include:

  • Foods and drinks: Odorous foods and drinks, like onions, garlic, coffee, and alcohol, can cause bad breath. Bad breath caused by food and drink goes away once fully digested.
  • Smoking: Smoking can cause bad breath and affect the health of your entire body.
  • Gum disease: Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to foul smelling breath.
  • Tooth decay: Tooth decay can cause bad breath as a result of the infection.
  • Diabetes: Diabetes is another, more serious cause of bad breath, and may be suspected in cases of chronic bad breath.
  • Respiratory tract infections: Bad breath can be a sign of respiratory tract infection.
  • Oral yeast infections: Oral yeast infections can occur in adults as a result of smoking, denture wear, diabetes, and prolonged use of antibiotics. One symptom of oral yeast infection is bad breath.
  • Acid reflux: Acid reflux occurs when stomach acids move up the esophagus, causing bad breath.

Treating Bad Breath

In order to properly and effectively treat bad breath, it is important to determine the cause. A thorough dental exam will be needed to personalize your bad breath treatment. In cases in which bad breath appears to be caused by general health issues, patients will need to see their primary care physician for further treatment. Though treating bad breath requires individualized assessment, some ways to reduce bad breath include:

  • Skip certain foods and drinks
  • Give up smoking
  • Practice good oral hygiene
  • See your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings
  • Floss everyday
  • Drink water regularly to wash food and bacteria away
  • Chew sugar-free gum after eating
  • Seek treatment for gum disease and tooth decay

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