Nobody wants bad breath. Known officially as halitosis, this embarrassing problem has spawned a multi-billion dollar industry of remedies including breath mints, chewing gum, sprays and mouthwashes. But these treatments only address symptoms, in essence only masking the problem. What are the root causes of bad breath? And, more importantly, how can we eliminate it? The dentists at the Yuba City Dentistry Group are here to help you find out.
What Makes Bad Breath?
Just about everyone experiences bad breath at some point. Eating onions, drinking coffee, or even just waking up in the morning, may send friends and family running in the other direction. But what if we or someone we love are constantly exhaling noticeably unpleasant odors?
Bad breath is primarily the result of oral bacteria processing food particles trapped in the mouth. The back of the tongue is an especially vulnerable area for bacteria to collect, where they feast on food remnants, dead skin cells and mucus in a warm, moist environment. Bacteria produces waste in the form of sulfuric compounds, with a smell that resembles rotten eggs. Food and bacteria may also become trapped between teeth, gums or in oral fixtures such as braces or dentures. This is why poor dental hygiene worsens the problem of bad breath.
Sinus, bronchial, or yeast infections may also cause halitosis. Chronic dry mouth (xerostomia), a side effect of many medications, is another possible culprit. Other potential causes include tobacco use, stress or hormonal changes, or even serious conditions such as diabetes or a malfunction of the kidney or liver.
A Permanent Solution to Bad Breath
After an examination, your Yuba City dentist may recommend any of the following:
- Oral hygiene instruction — a demonstration of how to brush and floss effectively helps reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Some find benefit in using a tongue scraper (a special instrument for cleaning the back of the tongue).
- Professional cleaning — special dental instruments remove food particles, bacteria, and hardened deposits from hard to reach areas of your mouth.
- Tooth decay treatment — at times, large cavities need to be filled or old fillings repaired. Left untreated, they are a major cause of halitosis.
- Treatment of gum disease — advanced forms of gum disease cause a separation between the tooth and gum, producing pockets where bacteria thrive. Periodontal therapy, which includes a deep cleaning of your teeth’s roots (called root scaling and planing), generally relieves this problem, in conjunction with good oral hygiene. Advanced products like Perio Protect may also be suggested by our dentists or hygienists.
- Treatment of infection – at times, infections in or outside of the mouth may be to blame. Such infections need to be treated and our dentists can help.
Whatever the cause of bad breath, the dentists and hygienists at the Yuba City Dentistry Group refuse to give up on you until we identify the problem and provide an effective solution. For help with bad breath, contact us online or call at (530) 671-4784 to set up a consultation.