Have you ever felt the sudden awkwardness when you’re having a conversation with someone at a party or a business meeting? You can’t tell if they notice or not, but you know it’s bad breath. Also known as halitosis, is a common condition affecting about one in four people in the US. Negative impacts of long-term halitosis, or bad breath affect an estimated 60 million people. Want to learn more about causes, symptoms and treatment for this common oral health problem? Continue reading to discover common causes, symptoms and more importantly the treatments we offer at Streamwood Family Dentistry to help our community overcome this common dental problem.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath, also known as Halitosis, can be caused by a variety of factors. These can include the following:
- Diet – It is widely known that certain foods, when eaten can cause a unique and unpleasant odor. They can also cause gastrointestinal upset and belching, which expels the odor into air. Another common cause: some low-carb diets (like a heavy keto-based diet), which cause the body to burn fat as an energy source, thereby producing ketones that emit a fruity, acetone-like odor.
- A medical disorder or disease – A variety of medical conditions, particularly those associated with the mouth, nose and throat can cause bad breath. This can include diabetes, liver or kidney disease, lactose intolerance, chronic bronchitis and other conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – which can cause bad breath due to the regular reflux of stomach acids.
- Poor dental care – The unpleasant smell associated with bad breath is often due to bacteria that are commonly found in the mouth, especially when there’s plaque buildup on your teeth and gums. It can be left on your tongue, below the gum line, between teeth, and other difficult-to-reach areas when inadequate attention is given to brushing and flossing. Not sure of what is the proper way to brush and floss? Talk to your Streamwood Dentist – Dr. Shah at Streamwood Family Dentistry to learn more at your next cleaning visit.
- Oral appliances – Any dental appliances – such as retainers, mouthguards or dentures – Cleaning them is equally as important as brushing your teeth. Left uncleaned. Plaque and bacteria can become trapped in the appliance and stay pressed against your gums or teeth for hours at a time, eventually producing an unpleasant odor.
- Dry Mouth / Morning breath – Everyone has experienced this at one point or another. This is typically due to dry mouth; morning breath is a common cause for bad breath. In the US, approximately 61 million people experience dry mouth due to breathing through their mouth, rather than their nose, while sleeping. Medication related dry mouth, also known as Xerostomia, which often decrease saliva production, can increase odors due to dry mouth and the release of chemicals. Some common medications that cause bad breath include nitrates, chemotherapy drugs, anti-anxiety and psychotropic medications. Ask your Doctor if any of your prescription medication has been linked to cause dry mouth.
- Tobacco – Tobacco is known to cause bad breath, as it increases the chance of gum disease and tooth decay (cavities).
Symptoms of Bad Breath:
If you have halitosis, you are likely to notice and experience one of several signs and symptoms. They can include dry mouth, a white/yellow coating on your tongue, a sour taste or a change in taste. Contact us at Streamwood Family Dentistry so Dr. Shah – your local Streamwood & Hoffman Estates dentist can help determine the underlying cause or rule out serious conditions. We will complete a thorough clinical examination including evaluating your medical history, checking your gums and teeth and take x-rays to confirm the health status of your jawbone, teeth and gums. In the event you’re your dental health is immaculate but you’re still experiencing halitosis – bad breath symptoms, we will refer you to see your medical doctor to evaluate and check for any sores, white spots on the tonsils as these may also be the cause of your bad breath.
How to Treat Bad Breath?
Let’s face it, bad breath is an embarrassing condition that can hamper on your confidence and the ability to socialize. Treating bad breath starts with determining the root cause, and whether it can be resolved, or only managed ‒ such as irreversible gum disease. Start by visiting your dentist for your routine check-up. If it’s been more than 6 months since your last check-up, please call (847)740-0219 or Schedule your appointment online at www.StreamwoodFamilyDentistry.com for your appointment. This will not only benefit your overall oral health but will allow your dentist to monitor the state of your bad breath. Most of the time, a thorough and proper dental cleaning with flossing is all that is needed to rid of this common bad breath problem. Following this with spending adequate time brushing and flossing at least twice a day, for two minutes minimum will make a world of difference. Brushing thoroughly includes frequently overlooked areas, such as the tongue and any hidden gum areas. It can also be supplemented with an alcohol-free mouthwash. For dry mouth related bad breath, drink water regularly, or seek a doctor-prescribed medication if you are experiencing Xerostomia – chronic dry mouth.
If you wear a night guard, mouth-guard, retainer, dentures, or any dental appliances, clean it daily.
At Streamwood Family Dentistry, we take pride in not only providing the best quality dental care, but to educate and improve the oral health for all our patients. Our Friendly Dentists Dr. Lucy Shah & Dr. Kalpit Shah, and our team of courteous and highly-trained professionals go above and beyond to deliver the best dental care experience. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions @ (847)740-0219! We look forward to seeing you soon 😊