Bad Breath: Common Causes and Treatments

Known by dental professionals as halitosis, bad breath happens to just about everyone at some point. Whether caused by lifestyle factors or an oral or systemic health issue, your bad breath can prove detrimental to your personal and professional interactions. Furthermore, bad breath can make you feel self-conscious and embarrassed. Your Farmington Hills dentist, Dr. Aziza Askari, discusses the most common causes of bad breath and talks about the steps you can take to keep your breath fresh and appealing.

Lifestyle Choices that Lead to Bad Breath

Several controllable factors affect your chances of developing bad breath. These include:

  • Poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing will clear away particles of food, odor-causing bacteria, and dead cells that can lead to bad breath.
  • Certain foods. Foods containing volatile sulfur compounds, such as garlic and onions, are notorious for causing foul breath. High protein foods such as milk, cheese, meat, and fish can also produce bad breath.
  • Tobacco products. You can add another item to the list of problems caused by smoking or chewing tobacco. Tobacco not only imparts an unpleasant odor on its own, but it also encourages bacterial growth, leading to an increase in odor-causing compounds.

Oral Health Issues and Bad Breath

The most common oral health issue that leads to halitosis is gum disease. Gum disease causes bad breath in two ways. First, the high concentration of oral bacteria present in mouths with gum disease produces compounds that create a foul odor. Second, people with gum disease have a thick coating on their tongues that exacerbate the odor caused by volatile sulfur compounds (the substance found in garlic and onions that produces bad breath). Other health issues that can induce halitosis include dry mouth, sinus conditions, untreated tooth decay or abscesses, and systemic problems such as kidney disease and respiratory disorders.

Healthier Mouths for Better Breath

You have to power to stop bad breath. Some simple techniques to try at home include:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice every day, floss once every day, and, if you like, use an antimicrobial or fluoridated mouthwash.
  • Use a tongue scraper, a plastic device that scrapes away dead cells, bacteria, plaque, and other particles from the surface of your tongue. If you don’t have a tongue scraper, you can use the edge of a metal spoon instead.
  • If you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco, quit. You have many resources available if you need guidance and support in making this life-changing decision.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or mints sweetened with xylitol. You will have fresher breath and the xylitol will help strengthen your tooth enamel.

Talk to Your Dentist If Bad Breath Persists

If you continue to experience bad breath despite taking preventive measures, discuss this with your dentist at your next checkup and cleaning. Call the Comfort Dental Spa office at (248) 474-6434 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Aziza Askari today. We serve patients from Dearborn, Novi, Livonia, Farmington Hills, and the surrounding Detroit neighborhoods.