The Many Causes of Halitosis by Dr. Daniel Stewart of Smile Savers Dentistry
A frequent question we get at Smile Savers Dentistry is “What Causes Bad Breath?” And believe it or not, the question about bad breath is usually not from the offender, but actually from a long-time suffering family member or spouse. Unfortunately, there are many causes of bad breath, which is called “halitosis” – some serious and some not. Many people decide to just live with it, but the good news is that diagnosing and treating bad breath is easy.
So to answer the question as best as I can, here is a brief list of causes; in no particular order.
Food Containing Pungent Oils Garlic and onions may be extremely healthy, but they also contain oils which may cause an unhealthy reaction to those around you. These odors come from the lungs, last up to 72 hours and can be tough to cover up. Mints, gum and rinses are your best bet for your breath.
Dry Mouth A dry mouth allows dead cells to accumulate on your gums, tongue and cheeks. And while morning breath is a perfectly normal phenomenon due to lower salivary activity at night, it shouldn’t last all day. Those who snore, mouth-breathe, take certain medicines, or even those in their middle ages are prone to dry mouth.
Smoking Smoking dries out your mouth and also, tobacco just plain stinks. If lung cancer and heart disease aren’t reason enough to give up the cigarettes, maybe a constant foul mouth will help you make that life-saving decision?
Routine Illness Colds, sore throats, coughs and sinus infections all cause mucus to get trapped in our mouths, throats or noses, which causes foul breath until the illness is gone.
Chronic Disease or Condition Many serious diseases such as lung infections, kidney failures, diabetes, cancer, anorexia, bulemia and other diseases 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, seek the appropriate doctor.
Poor Dental Hygiene and Gum Disease Ahhhh… this our favorite at Smile Savers Dentistry. Not because we like people to have poor dental hygiene and gum disease, but because these are very common causes of bad breath and we can usually treat them quite easily here in our Columbia MD dentist office. It’s important that you don’t wait too long. Gum disease, which usually starts with poor brushing and flossing habits as well as a lack of routine dental visits, can do much more than just make your mouth smell.
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 great as treatment is typically conservative. But wait too long and it gets much more difficult and extensive.
So to wrap up, bad breath is not normal! Seeing your dentist and dental hygienist on a regular 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 for cover in the opposite direction.
If you have any questions about halitosis or any other oral health or dental topic concerning you or someone you care about, please feel free to give our office a call at 410-730-6460. My fantastic, caring dental team at Smile Savers Dentistry are here to help you. You can also visit the Smile Savers Dentistry website for more information about our dental practice. My team and I strive to be the best dentist office in Howard County!