The Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath can be embarrassing, and can even eventually lead to more serious problems down the line—but the more you educate yourself on the root causes, the easier the fight will be! When it comes to bad breath, the first thing we assume is it was something we ate like onions or garlic—but there’s actually many underlying reasons for halitosis that people don’t know about, which can either require a simple solution or much more complicated one. Halitosis is the technical term for bad breath and while it may sound scarier than it actually is, it still shouldn’t be ignored. The Albuquerque dentists at Heflin Family Dentistry can help you find the best treatment method, improving both your smile and your overall health!

On the surface

  • What you eat: Bad breath can be caused by stinkier foods such as garlic or onions, but the smell usually dissipates within a couple of hours or with the help of mouthwash, gum, or mints. 
  • Morning breath: Morning breath is caused by bacteria in your mouth eating away at the food still in between your teeth and gums while you are sleeping. This is easily solved by brushing your teeth in the evening before you go to bed and in the morning when you wake up!
  • Dry mouth: Sometimes the answer is in the saliva! Saliva moistens your mouth and works constantly to wash out your mouth of food and bacteria. If you’re not producing enough saliva, then your mouth isn’t being properly cleaned and unwanted bacteria can begin to grow. This can be caused by particular medications, breathing through your mouth while awake or sleeping, or salivary gland issues.
  • Poor dental hygiene: Your hygiene routine can also be a cause of halitosis. Make sure you are brushing your teeth in the morning, evening, and between meals for a cleaner mouth!
  • Dirty tongue: One of the easiest solutions is making sure that your tongue is clean. Bacteria and old food can live on the service and begin to rot, causing a bad odor. Clean your tongue everyday with your brush or a tongue scraper!
  • Gum health: Your gums are the key to healthy teeth, happy mouth, and good-smelling breath! Be sure to floss at least once a day, but preferably every time you brush your teeth!

Looking Deeper

Once you get past the stinky foods and a healthy hygiene routine, and you still have a halitosis problem, that is when you should start looking deeper into the cause of the bad breath and the health of your mouth and body. Halitosis can be caused by a number of things, and your dentist will be able to identify the underlying cause of your bad breath.

  • Gum disease: Periodontitis is a form of gum disease that is essentially an infection of the soft tissue in your mouth that supports and surrounds each tooth. Bad breath that sticks around or having a constant bad taste in your mouth can be an indicator of gum disease caused by plaque. This should be treated by a dentist and a good oral routine at home. 
  • Gingivitis: Gingivitis is another cause of halitosis. It is an inflammation of the gums due to irritation, infection, and poor gum health.
  • Medical conditions: Chronic bad breath can be an indicator of some underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, kidney failure, sinus conditions, liver disease, gastric reflux, or lung infections. This is when bad breath should be taken very seriously and you should consult your healthcare professional immediately.

The answer to all of your bad breath problems lies in visiting your dentist regularly! Your scheduled checkups are beneficial because they allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth in the early stages and put a stop to them before they become a more serious health problem. An excellent oral hygiene routine can be your best friend, preventing most, if not all, of the causes of bad breath! Brush your teeth twice or more daily, scrape your tongue and use that floss! If you’re still concerned about what is causing your bad breath, call to make an appointment today to see Dr. Heflin at Heflin Family Dentistry in Albuquerque!