At times, we all wonder, “Do I have bad breath?” This may be in close conversations with friends or co-workers after a morning of coffee. Or, you may suspect a lingering scent after a tuna sandwich lunch.
Occasional breath odors, though unwanted, are not unusual. However, this doesn’t make them more welcome. Bad breath can leave a lasting impression. Frequent bad breath can even cause people to be stand-offish, anticipating they are about to encounter an unpleasant smell.
Frequent bad breath is a common symptom of gum disease. You may also notice gums that are tender and bleed when brushing. The color of your gum tissues may have become red rather than a healthy pink.
During your regular check-ups and cleanings, our Hygienist will check your gum health to determine early signs of gum disease. This is done by gently using a probe that measures the spaces between teeth and gums that have loosened from teeth. This process is not painful and takes only a few minutes.
If signs of gum disease are present, there are various treatments that can restore your mouth to a healthy state. The treatment you’ll need will depend upon the level of gum disease present. As with anything, the earlier you have the problem resolved, the less involved the process will be. Early treatment can mean a significant savings in treatment time and money.
If the massive accumulation of oral bacteria from gum disease is not the cause of your breath odor, another reason could be having ‘dry mouth.’
Dry mouth causes your ‘oral cavity’ (the inside of your mouth) to become stale and sticky. A good example of this is when you first wake up. Because saliva flow is minimized at night, oral bacteria are not being removed efficiently. Thus, oral tissues dry out and bacteria accumulate.
If you smoke, you can expect dry mouth. Cigarette smoke contains a mix of chemicals that have a severe drying effect. Also drying to oral tissues are drinking alcohol or other beverages that are drying, such as coffee. Breathing through the mouth can cause drying as well as certain medications.
Dry mouth is not always the main cause, however. Some health problems can contribute to bad breath, including acid reflux and illnesses such as bronchitis, liver problems or sinus infections.
The culprit in most bad breath, however, is oral bacteria. Bacteria are living organisms, which means they eat, reproduce and emit waste on a consistent basis. Sugary drinks and high carb foods are the ideal food for oral bacteria. Consumption of these enable bacteria to reproduce more rapidly, boosting their ability to accumulate in your mouth.
Of course, poor oral hygiene is an obvious cause for bad breath. Without regular brushing and flossing, oral bacteria reproduce and plaque forms. Plaque is the sticky film you feel on teeth when you’ve missed brushing. When not removed, plaque becomes a hard substance referred to as calculus. This cement-like mass of oral bacteria attaches to tooth surfaces and destroys enamel and gum tissues.
The bottom line is your commitment to having minimal bacteria in the mouth. Being aware of all the issues that can give oral bacteria a ‘leg up’ is the first step. Then, start with a clean, healthy mouth. If you haven’t had regular dental check-ups and cleanings, those are necessary for a foundation of good oral health.
Once your oral health is in good shape, it’s easy to keep it there. Make the following recommendations a part of your daily routine and you’ll find that your breath causes you far less concerns!
– Brush at least twice a day for two minutes. Finish up by brushing your tongue with your tooth brush to loosen embedded bacteria there.
– Floss daily. If you find this difficult, an excellent investment is an electronic flosser.
– Keep your mouth moist. Drink lots of water. If you must take medications that are dying, use an oral rinse that is made specifically to boost saliva.
You are also invited to begin with a no-cost consultation. During this time, we can discuss your current oral health and ways to restore you to a healthy mouth and fresh breath. If you have dental fear, we’ll also discuss options to help you be relaxed before, during and after your visit.
Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more or to arrange an appointment.