Bacteria and Breath

Bad breath is something that all of us try to avoid. We may like the taste of onions, garlic, certain seafoods, and other rather smelly food products. After eating such foods, we often take extra steps to avoid the resulting malodorous effect. Some chew a piece of gum, others try mints, and a few of us might carry around a small bottle of mouthwash or mouthspray. But those are temporary measures for until we can brush our teeth. But what if our bad breath persists, or returns quickly after brushing our teeth? What causes that and what do we do then?

Contributing Factors to Halitosis

It isn’t merely our choice in foods that leads to unappealing mouth odors. The medical term for bad breath is halitosis. Several medical conditions contribute to halitosis, including:

  • Sinus infections
  • Sleep apnea
  • Digestive problems
  • Acid reflux
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Early stages of oral cancer
  • Sicknesses like pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Xerostomia, or dry mouth
  • Gum disease in all its stages, including gingivitis and periodontitis

If you deal with such conditions and also suffer from chronic bad breath, speak with your dentist at the Yuba City Dentistry Group about ways to cope and possibly cure the condition.

Good and Bad Bacteria

Bad breath is typically caused by certain bacteria that naturally appear in our mouths. Most oral bacteria are separated into two categories. One has no fatty outer layer and causes dental plaque. These are called gram-positive bacteria.

The other type of bacteria has a fatty outer layer and produces noxious gasses. These are gram-negative bacteria. One species of these bacteria is called Helicobacter pylori. The particles produced by these gram-negative bacteria get blown into the air when we exhale, and they are picked up by olfactory senses as an extremely unpleasant odor.

While most oral bacteria tend to eat away at your teeth and gums if left unchecked, there is a third category of beneficial bacteria. One strain of good bacteria is called S. salivaius K12. Colonies of these good bacteria compete with bad bacteria to occupy the limited space in your mouth. The more of the good bacteria in place, the less room there is for bad bacteria to inhabit. The result is better smelling breath.

Ways to Combat Bad Breath

Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do to combat the development of bad breath, such as:

  • Dental cleanings at the Yuba City Dentistry Group twice a year
  • Brush for two minutes twice a day using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Floss between your teeth, and use a water flosser if you have one
  • Use antibacterial mouthwashes in moderation, so they do not destroy the good bacteria along with the bad
  • Eat healthy foods that support your teeth and your digestive system
  • Avoid large or frequent helpings of foods that cause bad breath

If you follow these steps but are still subjected to bad breath, there may be an underlying issue that has not been discovered. Contact the Yuba City Dentistry Group for a thorough examination. We use the latest training and equipment to determine the root cause of your halitosis, and then discuss whatever treatment options would best resolve your issue. When bad breath tries to take over your mouth, you’ll be glad to have the professional dentists at the Yuba City Dentistry Group on your side.


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By far the best dentist office I have ever been to. They make you feel comfortable and cared for. The staff is amazing.