Why Do I Always Have Bad Breath?
As a Dental Hygienist, I frequently get asked about bad breath. Many patients suffer from chronic bad breath, or halitosis, and are constantly seeking a cure! Here’s the deal with halitosis:
- Halitosis is chronic bad breath
- Not cured by mints, mouth wash, or brushing
- Remains for an extended period of time
- May be a symptom of something more serious
Possible underlying issues that result in halitosis:
- Periodontal disease
- Mouth, nose, or throat infections
- Poor oral health
- Certain foods and beverages
- Dry mouth
- Smoking/tobacco use
- Other chronic conditions
Cavities and periodontal disease are both caused by different types of bacteria. Infections are also caused by bacteria that feed on mucus produced by the body. Left untreated, all of these bacteria can cause odors in the mouth that contribute to bad breath. Poor oral hygiene can leave plaque and calculus on the teeth, also contributing to bad odors. An obvious cause of bad breath would be a diet of potent foods such as garlic and onions. Usually odors from these foods can be eliminated after brushing/flossing/rinsing, so if the odors persist, there is most likely a more pressing underlying issue. Saliva helps rinse the mouth and remove debris after eating. When saliva flow is decreased the removal of debris is also decreased and leftover food in the mouth could be one cause of bad breath. Smoking and/or tobacco use come with their own associated odors but can also contribute to periodontal disease, which can be a major cause of halitosis. Chronic conditions such as gastric reflux, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, etc. may also contribute to halitosis. Our mouths are connected to our bodies and chronic diseases may present with signs or symptoms in the mouth.
How to treat and prevent halitosis:
- Perform frequent and proper oral hygiene at home including brushing, flossing, and mouth wash
- Visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for cleanings and necessary restorative work
- Avoid smoking or tobacco use of any kind
- Drink more water to stimulate saliva flow
- Keep track or change what you eat, eliminating more potent foods like garlic and onions
- Visit your primary care physician regularly
For specific questions or concerns about halitosis, ask your Dentist or Dental Hygienist.