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Our Dentist in Round Lake Beach, IL Discusses Bad Breath

Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, can be an embarrassing problem – especially if you have no idea what is causing it or how to alleviate it. While chewing gum and using mouthwash can reduce or eliminate some causes of bad breath, around 50% of adults suffer from this issue on a regular basis, and determining the root cause of the problem can often be determined with the help of your doctor or dentist.

Health Problems Associated with Bad Breath

Bad breath is commonly caused by dental issues. If it is persistent, and accompanied by a bad taste in the mouth, it is likely an indication of gum (periodontal) disease. This is caused by plaque building up on the teeth, often below the gumline, and exacerbated by bacteria which form toxins – irritating the gums. Left untreated, gum disease can progress to the bone, where it can no longer be reversed – only controlled

Other dental issues that cause bad breath include yeast infections of the mouth, poorly fitting dental appliances, and  cavities – dry mouth (xerostomia) can also cause bad breath. This condition is often a side effect of certain medications, but it can also be caused by continually breathing through your mouth or problems affecting the salivary glands.

Health Problems Associated With Bad Breath

Because saliva has many functions, including washing away dead cells that accumulate on the teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue, a lack of saliva can cause these cells to pile up, decompose, and cause bad breath.

Other causes of bad breath include respiratory tract infections like bronchitis or pneumonia, seasonal allergies, postnasal drip, chronic sinus infections, chronic acid reflux, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, liver or kidney problems, and chronic lung infections.

How Foods Can Affect Your Breath

If you suffer from bad breath, no matter what the original cause, eating certain foods can make it worse. When we eat, food is first broken down in the mouth, and as it continues through the digestion process, the usable portions of the food are absorbed into your bloodstream. Certain foods, like garlic and onions, produce strong odors which are exhaled through your lungs as the digestion process takes place.

Brushing your teeth, and even using mouthwash will only cover up the odor – it will not completely leave until the offending foods have passed through your body. In addition to garlic and onions, cheese, pastrami, certain spices, soda, and alcohol are all known contributors to bad breath. Additionally, if you are dieting, and eating considerably less than usual, you may experience bad breath as your body breaks down fat, releasing trapped chemicals.

How Bad Habits Can Affect Your Breath

Poor dental hygiene is likely the number one cause of bad breath. If you skip brushing your teeth, particles of food will remain in your mouth, and as these particles decompose and bacteria begin to feed off of them, your breath will no doubt be unpleasant. Inflammation of the gums, the result of poor dental hygiene, can also cause bad breath. Lastly, if you wear dentures, failing to clean them properly will also cause bad breath.

Using tobacco products is another source of unpleasant smelling breath. Additionally, smoking and chewing tobacco cause irritated gums, stained teeth, and reduce your ability to taste food.

How to Prevent Bad Breath

One of the most effective ways to banish bad breath is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice daily, using a fluoride toothpaste and flossing at least once each day. Brushing after meals when possible is also recommended to help remove plaque and food particles. Bacteria can also proliferate on your tongue, so don’t skip brushing your tongue – or use a tongue scraper.

If it is impractical to brush after a meal, make sure to rinse your mouth with water to free up those trapped food particles, and remember the odor from what you choose to eat can affect your breath while it works its way through your system – up to 72 hours later!

Effective Ways To Prevent Bad Breath

Another source of bacteria can be an old toothbrush – make sure to change yours every two to three months and after you recover from a cold or flu. Mouthwash can also help eliminate bad breath by killing the bacteria that causes the plaque that leads to gingivitis, so consider rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash twice each day – those that contain fluoride provide the added benefit of helping to prevent cavities.

If you use any type of dental appliance, such as a retainer or braces, make sure to clean them according to your dentist’s instructions. If you wear dentures, they should be removed at night and cleaned completely before placing them back in your mouth the next morning.

See your dentist on a regular basis, no less than twice a year, for an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning. This will ensure any indications of gum disease or other oral problems do not go unnoticed and untreated. Drink lots of water, chew sugarless gum, or suck on sugarless candy – all habits that will help keep your mouth moist which helps wash away bacteria and food debris. If you smoke or chew tobacco, talk to your dentist about tips to help you quit.

Eat more high-fiber foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples, or celery. These will help clear odor-causing bacteria and food particles from your mouth. If you are concerned about certain foods causing bad breath, consider keeping a food log to bring to your dentist to review.

Who Treats Bad Breath?

Your family dentist in Round Lake Beach, IL will likely be able to help you alleviate your bad breath. However, after eliminating all oral health issues, if your dentist determines the odor is not related to a dental issue, you may be referred to a specialist or your primary care provider for further evaluation.

For dental issues related to bad breath, your dentist may recommend a special mouthwash or other products he or she might think will be helpful. For instance, if you suffer from dry mouth, you might be prescribed a moisturizing toothpaste.

Reilly & Siegel Family Dentist

If you are suffering with chronic bad breath, or are simply looking for a reliable dentist office in Round Lake Beach, IL, we invite you to reach out to us. Our family dental practice offers state-of-the-art general dentistry services, high-quality dental care for both adults and children, and comprehensive restoration services including dental implants.

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