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08Feb2011

Chasing People Away With Bad Breath?

ONE QUESTION WE GET ASKED A LOT HERE AT ELIZABETHTOWN DENTAL IS, “What causes bad breath?”

Most of the time, the complaint comes from a long-suffering spouse or family member rather than the actual offender. Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by many different things, some of which are serious and some of which are not. And though many of you have decided to just suck it up and hold their breath forever, we wanted to help provide you with some solutions; diagnosing and treating bad breath is something that can easily be done.

Here are a few reasons from Dr. White that suggest why people might keep their distance during your conversations with them:

Foods Containing Pungent Oils

Yes—garlic and onions are very healthy and taste awfully good, but they also contain oils which may can cause those around you to have an unhealthy reaction. These odors come from the lungs, last up to 72 hours and can be tough to cover up. Your best bet, besides brushing your teeth, is to try mints, gum, and rinses. Otherwise, just make sure everyone around you has eaten the same yummy food as well!

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth lets dead cells accumulate on your tongue, gums, and cheeks and though morning breath is a perfectly normal phenomenon for everyone due to lowered salivary activity at night, it definitely shouldn’t last all day. Those who snore, take certain medications, or even have lasted into middle age are prone to a dry mouth.

Routine Illnesses

Colds, coughs, sore throats, and sinus infections all secrete nasty smelling mucus that gets trapped in your mouth, throat and nose, and causes foul breath until the illness is taken care of. Fortunately, if you have one of these highly contagious problems you probably aren’t getting too close to other people anyway! If your symptoms don’t clear up in a few days to a week, you should probably see your physician to make sure things aren’t of a more serious nature.

Smoking

Smoking dries out your mouth—and it stinks. Not only do we get odor from the dead bacteria that comes from a dry mouth, a foul smell is created by the tobacco itself. If lung cancer and heart disease aren’t reason enough to give up smoking, maybe a constant foul mouth will help you make that life-saving decision.

Poor Dental Hygiene and Gum Disease

Aha! This topic is our favorite! Not because we like it when people have poor dental hygiene and gum disease, but because these are the most common causes of bad breath, as well as the easiest to treat. However, please don’t wait to long! Gum disease, which typically starts with poor brushing and flossing habits as well as a lack of routine dental visits, can do much more than make your mouth stinky.

In just a short period of time, gum disease can advance and eat away at the gums and bone which hold your teeth in place. The result? Loose, unstable teeth which will eventually be lost if not treated.

Catching gum disease early is provides for pretty conservative treatment, but if you wait too long it gets much more difficult and extensive.

Chronic Diseases or Conditions

Many serious diseases such as lung infections, kidney failure, diabetes, cancer, GERD, anorexia, bulimia and others can cause very specific types of halitosis. The good news is that these are on the rare side, but if anything along these lines is suspected, a referral to the appropriate practitioner is in order.

Bad breath is not normal! Seeing your dentist and dental hygienist on a routine basis is your best bet for making sure your teeth and gums stay healthy, your smile stays bright, and your breath doesn’t cause others to run in the opposite direction.

Here’s a one-minute video about the topic from the American Dental Association:

At Elizabethtown Dental we are here for YOU!!! If you or a loved one is suffering from halitosis please don’t hesitate to contact us! We can help. Make sure you become a fan of our Facebook Page to stay up to date with information regarding your dental health and other great stuff.

We look forward to seeing you during your next visit!

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