Bad breath (halitosis) causes embarrassment and anxiety. It can affect anyone at any time. It is caused by several factors. The most common causes of bad breath are preventable and easily treated. However, certain medical conditions may also cause bad breath. If you are concerned about bad breath, you should consult with Dr. Babik to rule out any serious medical conditions. Chronic halitosis may indicate an underlying medical concern that should be addressed by Dr. Babik. In some cases, he may want to refer you to a medical doctor.
The food we eat and digestion can cause bad breath:
The food we eat can adversely affect our breath. Odors from garlic, onions, cabbage, and certain spices may result in halitosis when the suspected food is absorbed into the blood stream after digestion. When the blood has transferred to the lungs, the smell from the food is evident when you exhale.
With eating comes digestion, another cause of bad breath. Gasses produced during the digestive process escape through your mouth, emanating the odor it produces. Poor digestion resulting in constipation and disorders of the bowel may contribute to bad breath again, from the gasses that are produced during this process.
Bad breath is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene, but it can also be caused by retained food particles or gum disease. Proper brushing, including brushing the tongue, cheeks, and the roof of the mouth, will remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque, and food that may be trapped between teeth. Mouth rinse products are effective temporary relief of bad breath.
Bad breath may also occur in people who have a medical infection, gum disease, diabetes, kidney failure, or a liver malfunction. Xerostomia (dry mouth) and tobacco also contribute to this problem. Cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy may experience dry mouth. Even stress, dieting, snoring, age and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath. An odor that comes from the back of your tongue may indicate post-nasal drip. This is mucous secretion, moving from the nose and down the throat, getting stuck on the tongue and causing odor. Bad breath originating from the stomach, however, is considered to be extremely rare.
Gum, mints, and mouthwashes are very temporary measures. In many cases, you can improve your breath by learning how to practice better oral hygiene habits (brushing, flossing, drinking plenty of water). But sometimes the cause is a more serious condition, such as an infection.
Better oral hygiene habits that affect your breath will include:
Proper brushing of teeth, including brushing the tongue, cheeks, and the roof of the mouth, removes bacteria food particles. Clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria.
Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque, and food between teeth.
Schedule regular check-ups. Have your teeth cleaned at least twice a year, or how often your dentist recommends.
Regular check-ups with Dr. Babik will help detect any physical problems causing bad breath. Check-ups also help get rid of the plaque and bacteria that build up on your teeth. If you think that you suffer from bad breath, Dr. Babik can help determine its source. We may ask you to schedule a separate appointment to find the source of the odor. If Dr. Babik believes that the problem is caused by a systemic (internal) source, such as an infection, we may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help remedy the cause of the problem.