Why Do I have Bad Breath??

Have you ever had bad breath and wondered why? The medical term for bad breath is halitosis and there are several reasons why you may have it. A dental examination can pinpoint the cause of your bad breath and Dr. Berry can help you get your breath back to smelling minty fresh.

Here are some reasons for bad breath and what you should do about it:

Kristen is keeping stinky breath at bay.

Kristen is keeping stinky breath at bay.

1.  Inadequate oral hygiene is the most common reason for bad breath. Trapped food particles will promote foul-smelling bacteria growth so treatment is aimed at reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth. This is accomplished by thorough daily brushing and flossing, tongue scraping and antibacterial mouth rinses.

2.  Gum (periodontal) disease can develop after a period of inadequate oral hygiene. Bacteria will harden onto the teeth and causes an infection causing the gum to separate from the teeth and teeth to loosen. Although brushing and flossing is helpful, it is not enough to treat gum disease on its own. Gum disease will require treatment by a dentist. If gum disease is not treated, you could lose your teeth!

3. Cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth that has destroyed the tooth enamel can also cause a bad odor. If cavities are large, food may be become easily trapped contributing further to the foul smell. Cavities need to be treated or it could progress into an abscess. This may lead to pain and swelling. The abscess may drain causing a bad taste and odor in your mouth.

4. Dentures can cause bad breath if they are not cleaned regularly and thoroughly as the same bacteria that grow on teeth can grow on dentures. Only denture cleaner should be used to clean your denture. Toothpaste is too abrasive and will cause micoscratches in the porous plastic giving bacteria a place to live and further contributing to the odor. All plastic dentures (not metal partial dentures) can also be soaked in a 1:10 bleach/water solution to kill the bacteria. If bacteria builds up on a denture (tartar), a dentist can use a special machine to clean your dentures. Remember night guards need to be cleaned daily as well.

5. Dry Mouth is when there is not enough saliva in your mouth and most commonly occurs due to medications but can also be due to cancer treatments, diabetes or improperly working salivary glands. Saliva is important for clearing away bacteria, neutralizing acids and clearing away dead cells. With less saliva in your mouth, bacteria can grow quickly and cause bad breath. Dry mouth is not normal. Your dentist can determine the cause and help you get relief.

6.  Foods such as garlic, onion, spices like curry, some kinds of cheese, fish and beverages that are acidic such as coffee can cause bad breath. Trying avoiding these foods if you have bad breath.

7.  Other diseases may lead to bad breath including diabetes, infections such as tonsillitis and pharyngitis, kidney or liver diseases, chronic bronchitis, acid reflux and chronic sinusitis which may be aggravated by a post-nasal drip. For the bad breath to resolve, the underlying disease must be treated by your physician.