BREATH - HALITOSIS
causes bad breath?
you eat affects the air you exhale. Certain foods, such as garlic
and onions, contribute to objectionable breath odor. Once the
food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to
the lungs, where it is expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash
will only mask the odor temporarily. Odors continue until the
body eliminates the food. Dieters may develop unpleasant breath
from infrequent eating.
you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in
the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath.
Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around
the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor. Dentures that
are not cleaned properly can also harbor odor-causing bacteria
and food particles.
of the warning signs of periodontal (gum) disease is persistent
bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Periodontal disease
is caused by plaque, the sticky, colorless film of bacteria
that constantly forms on teeth. The bacteria create toxins that
irritate the gums. In the advanced stage of the disease, the
gums, bone and other structures that support the teeth become
damaged. With regular dental checkups, your dentist can detect
and treat periodontal disease early.
breath is also caused by dry mouth (xerostomia), which occurs
when the flow of saliva decreases. Saliva is necessary to cleanse
the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor. Dry mouth
may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems
or continuously breathing through the mouth. If you suffer from
dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe an artificial saliva,
or suggest using sugarless candy and increasing your fluid intake.
products cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce one's ability
to taste foods and irritate gum tissues. Tobacco users are more
likely to suffer from periodontal disease and are at greater
risk for developing oral cancer. If you use tobacco, ask your
dentist for tips on kicking the habit.
breath may be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local
infection in the respiratory tract (nose throat, windpipe, lungs),
chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes,
gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If your
dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred
to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause
of bad breath.
periodontal disease and maintaining good oral health is essential
to reducing bad breath. Schedule regular dental visits for a
professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant
bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list
of medications you take. Some medications may play a role in
creating mouth odors. Let your dentist know if you've had any
surgery or illness since your last appointment.
twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris
and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss or
an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth. If you wear removable
dentures, take them out at night. Clean them thoroughly before
replacing them the next morning.
are generally cosmetic and do not have a long-lasting effect
on bad breath. If you must constantly use a breath freshener
to hide unpleasant mouth odor, see your dentist. If you need
extra help in controlling plaque, your dentist may recommend
using a special antimicrobial mouthrinse. A fluoride mouthrinse,
used along with brushing and flossing, can help prevent tooth
for products that carry the Australian Dental Association Seal
of Acceptance. Products that display the seal have undergone
strict testing for safety and effectiveness.
can I do about bad breath?
Regular checkups will allow your dentist to detect any problems
such as periodontal (gum) disease, a dry mouth or other disorders
that may be the cause. Maintaining good oral hygiene, eliminating
periodontal (gum) disease and scheduling regular professional
cleanings are essential to reducing bad breath.
of what may be the cause, good oral hygiene is essential. Brush
twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss or
interdental cleaners. Brush your tongue, too. If you wear dentures,
be sure to remove them at night and clean them thoroughly before
replacing them the next morning. If you don't already have a
How do I find a dentist who treats bad breath?
are taught in dental school about the oral causes of bad breath
(halitosis). If you have bad breath, you may want to start by
talking to your general dentist about treatment options. You
can also contact your state dental association to see what resources
are available in your area of the country.
What is the treatment for bad breath?
your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy and that
the odor is not of oral origin, you may be referred to your
family physician or to a specialist to determine the cause of
the odor and for treatment. Of course, if the odor is of oral
origin, as it is in the majority of cases, your dentist can
treat the cause of the problem.
the odor is due to periodontal (gum) disease, your general dentist
can either treat the disease or refer you to a periodontist,
a specialist in treating gum tissues. Periodontal (gum) disease
can cause gum tissues to pull away from the teeth and form pockets.
When these pockets are deep, only a professional periodontal
cleaning can remove the bacteria and plaque that accumulate.
Sometimes more extensive treatment is necessary.
you have extensive build-up of plaque, an invisible layer of
bacteria, your dentist may recommend using a special antimicrobial
mouthrinse. Your dentist may also recommend that when you brush
your teeth, you also brush your tongue to remove excess plaque.
can I get products that will be useful in treating bad breath?
determining the cause of your halitosis, your dentist will be
able to prescribe or recommend those products that can be helpful
for you. See Products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
How Effective Are "Halitosis Kits" and Other Products
That Claim to Treat Bad Breath?
ADA cannot vouch for the claims the manufacturers of halitosis
kits make. If you are concerned about their safety and effectiveness,
you can ask your dentist if the products in the kit will be
useful for you.
antiseptic mouthrinse products, however, have been accepted
by the ADA for their therapeutic benefits in reducing plaque
and gingivitis and also have breath freshening properties. Instead
of simply masking breath odor, these products have been demonstrated
to kill the germs that cause bad breath. You may wish to ask
your dentist about trying some of these products.