Say Goodbye to Bad Breath with the Help of Your Dentist

By: Gen Wright

Have you ever noticed someone backing away as you talk to them? Or maybe you stand away from others because you are embarrassed by your own foul smelling breath. Either way there are ways to eliminate your bad breath and restore your confidence. Bad breath, also referred to as halitosis, may not be a life-threatening problem but it’s certainly embarrassing to be running around town when your breath stinks. There are approximately 90 million people who suffer from bad breath. In order to prevent and eliminate your bad breath, there are some easy steps you can take to keep your breath fresh, starting with good oral hygiene.

What is Bad Breath?

Bad breath is an oral health condition characterized by persistent, foul breath. In most cases, bad breath is caused by food that remains in the mouth – on the teeth, tongue, gums and other structures, collecting bacteria. Dead and dying bacterial cells release a sulfur compound that gives your breath an unpleasant odor. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to breath odor because once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream; it is transferred to the lungs, where it is exhaled. The simple habit of regular brushing, flossing and mouthwash is typically enough to mask the odor.

Additionally, sometimes dieters develop unpleasant breath from fasting. Periodontal (gum) disease often causes persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, and persistent bad breath may be a sign that you have gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque – the sticky colorless, film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth.

Dry mouth may also cause bad breath because of a decrease in salivary flow. Saliva cleans your mouth and removes particles that may cause odor. Tobacco products can also cause bad breath in addition to stained teeth and a reduced ability to taste foods.

Caring for Your Bad Breath

The easiest way to eliminate bad breath is to exercise good dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth daily, in addition to regular professional cleanings, will normally take care of unpleasant breath. Make sure you don’t forget the tongue, which is often overlooked as a culprit for bad breath. Bacterial plaque and food debris often accumulate on the back of the tongue. Since the tongue’s surface is extremely rough, bacteria can easily accumulate in the cracks and crevices.

If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy and that the odor may be related to another underlying medical problem, you may be referred to your family physician or to a specialist to determine the cause of the odor and possible treatment. If the odor is due to gum disease, your dentist can either treat the disease or refer you to a periodontist, a specialist in treating gum tissues.

If your bad breath persists even after good oral hygiene, there are special products your dentist may prescribe. Contact your dentist in Houston, TX today for more information on how you can put an end to your bad breath.

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Sean Hartmen writes for leading dentist in Houston, TX, Dr. Ellen Lim. She is a graduate of the dental program at Northwestern University in Chicago and has been in private practice since 1990. Dr. Lim strives to keep current with the latest advances in dental technology, cosmetic and general dentistry, including veneers in Houston.

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