A case of bad breath can ruin nearly any moment. Unpleasantness from your mouth is usually typical upon first waking up, but normally, it should not last past brushing your teeth in the morning. Unfortunately for many people, that is exactly the case. To help you combat the menace of halitosis (chronic bad breath), your Rochester dentist Dr. Gilly Calcagno explores bad breath and how you can help control it.
The Cause of Bad Breath
Some people may not know that bad breath is typically caused by bacteria. Experts have identified over 600 different kinds of bacteria that inhabit the mouth, and some of them produce volatile sulfur compounds after feasting on what you consume. These bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they do not need oxygen to survive or function, and they flourish in the midst of plaque (the sticky substance that clings to your teeth at times).
Feeding the Source of Bad Breath
The bacteria responsible for bad breath thrive on protein, which they turn into waste. Foods that are high in protein, such as meat, cheese, and other dairy products, provide ample fuel for bacteria to convert into bad breath-causing waste. Other foods, like onions and garlic, are naturally strong (garlic has a high sulfur content) and can cause your breath to remain malodorous for hours after you eat. Rinse your mouth with water after your meal to reduce the risk of offending someone with your breath.
Practice Proper Oral Hygiene
While the explanation may seem over-simplified, the truth is that many cases of bad-breath are simply due to poor oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and flossing at least once, will help you control the bacterial population. Limiting their numbers also limits the amount of waste they produce. Also, try scraping your tongue during your oral hygiene routine to remove the bacteria from its surface. While gum and mints can temporarily mask your bad breath, they do not eliminate the cause and should not be used to supplement good oral hygiene.
Other Causes for Bad Breath
Some lifestyle choices can also contribute to chronic halitosis. Smoking and drinking alcohol, for instance, can disrupt the normal function of your mouth’s tissue cells and severely inhibit your saliva production. Since bad breath bacteria thrive without oxygen, the dryness that smoking and drinking can cause within your mouth is a hospitable environment for these germs. In some cases, chronic bad breath for extended periods of time may not reflect your oral hygiene practices, but instead can indicate the presence of a serious health issue. For instance, diabetes, some forms of cancer (including oral cancer), and lung health issues can produce bad breath as a side effect. If your halitosis persists in spite of your best efforts to control it, speak with Dr. Calcagno as soon as possible. You can schedule an appointment by calling our Rochester dental office at 507-281-3659. We happily serve patients from Red Wing, Hastings, Farmington, St. Charles, Winona, and the surrounding Rochester neighborhoods.