Bad breath can be embarrassing, particularly when you’re meeting someone for the first time, like a first date or job interview. It can also be the sign that something else might be wrong healthwise, so you should take it seriously.
At Houston Precise Dental Care in Houston, Texas, Dr. Joe Eckford Jr., DDS, encourages you to come in for your regular cleaning and check up twice a year. But if you’re having issues with bad breath, especially if it’s chronic, don’t ignore it. Let us help you figure out what’s going on and teach you how to prevent bad breath.
Causes of bad breath
There are many reasons you might have bad breath. Some can be dealt with in an obvious way, while others may require medical intervention. Keep in mind, what goes in your mouth may stay there for longer than you’d like. Let’s look at the most common causes of bad breath:
- Food and drink: You may love garlic and onions and coffee and tea, but they can cause bad breath that lingers.
- Smoking: Cigarettes or chewing tobacco can not only have terrible health effects, stain your teeth, and leave you with bad breath, but they can be a major culprit in gum disease.
- Gum disease: Plaque, the bacteria that causes cavities, can also cause gum disease.
- Bacteria: We have so many types of bacteria in our mouths all the time, and some can cause bad breath. If food is left in your mouth after eating, that can start to smell and cause some nasty breath.
- Dry mouth: While this can also be a symptom of sleep apnea or being a mouth breather, or due to other issues with your salivary glands, it can also be a temporary result of different medications. Making enough saliva is important since it’s a natural mouth cleanser.
- Other medical conditions: Sinus infections, acid reflux, or even diabetes, and liver and kidney disease can all have bad breath as a possible symptom or side effect.
- Infection: An abscess or infection in your mouth or teeth can also cause bad breath and requires immediate attention from your dentist.
- Tooth decay: When you ignore cavities, your tooth begins to decay from the inside out and smells just like what it is.
How to prevent and stop bad breath
Brushing and flossing are not only vital for your dental health, but for your health in general. And of course, proper dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath by removing plaque, bacteria, and food that may be stuck in your teeth and mouth. The key is to make sure we’re doing these things correctly, and Dr. Eckford and our staff make sure you know how to brush and floss properly.
We should brush and floss twice a day, every day. And in fact, some people actually carry a toothbrush with them so they can do this after every snack or meal. This is a great idea and can keep your teeth and mouth happy, healthy, and smelling great. So what else can you do to prevent bad breath?
- Clean your tongue: Yes, you read that right. You can use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to gently remove that strange coating you may see, as well as the bad bacteria.
- Mouthwash: This is a great in-between step if you can’t brush your teeth right away, and it’s also a good additional step to add into your daily routine and to help kill bacteria. But it will only cover up your bad breath for a short time.
- Clean your dentures: If you’ve got them, clean them every night.
- Saliva: Your mouth creates saliva when you chew, so eating healthy foods that require you to chew a lot can help.
- Sugar free gum or candies: In addition to helping you to make saliva, these can help with your breath. But do make sure they are sugar free.
- Quit bad habits: Stop smoking and chewing tobacco for obvious reasons.
- Regular dental visits: They help both you and your dentist keep on top of everything that’s going on with your dental health.
Keep in mind that all of these things will also help prevent cavities and periodontal disease by removing bacteria and plaque. When we’re able to see you regularly, we can monitor your teeth and mouth, and make sure you’re doing what needs to be done. A professional cleaning twice a year is also very important, and we can recommend the best tools and products for you to use in between visits. A healthy mouth without bad breath is a healthier you.
Call us today or click the “Request an Appointment” button to schedule a consultation right away.