Also known as halitosis, bad breath is common but embarrassing. Some cases, such as “morning breath,” are short lived and easily relieved. Other cases, though, can become chronic. If you have bad breath that does not respond to brushing, flossing, or mouthwash, see your dentist right away.
Common Causes of Bad Breath
Chronic bad breath can be due to many factors, but only an expert can sort out the specific cause of yours. Here are some of the most common causes:
Gum disease: Trapped food debris in the gums will eventually decay and start to smell. Most people have some amount of gum disease, making this one of the most common causes of chronic bad breath.
Cavities and cracked fillings: Like gum disease, both cavities and cracked fillings leave an opening for food particles to get stuck. Like those trapped in the gums, these will eventually decay and cause odors.
Badly fitted dentures: Dentures that do not fit well or are not properly cleaned regularly allow food to get trapped, again decaying and starting to smell bad.
Dry mouth: Your saliva cleans your teeth and keeps your breath fresh between brushings. Some medications, as well as salivary gland issues, can cause chronic dry mouth.
Occasionally, chronic bad breath is a sign of an underlying health condition. If your dentist cannot find an obvious source, you might be instructed to get checked for the following diseases:
- Oral yeast infection
- Liver disease
- Chronic acid reflux
- Sinus infection
- Kidney disease
- Respiratory tract infection such as bronchitis
Treating Chronic Bad Breath
Chronic bad breath is a symptom rather than a disorder, so treatment will be based on the underlying issue. You might need to take medications to clear up an infection, have your dentures adjusted, or undergo treatment for gum disease.
If your chronic bad breath is due to a medical problem, your dentist will work hand in hand with your doctor to minimize the symptom while treating the illness. Integrative medicine, in which specialists from different fields work together, is a modern approach with tremendous health benefits.
Preventing Bad Breath
Like anything else, it is far easier to prevent bad breath than to treat it. Make a new commitment to your oral health. Brush and floss at least twice per day. Visit your dentist every six months for cleanings, and have a full examination at least once a year. Have any dental work done that you have been putting off, and pledge to deal with any future issues as soon as they occur.
Chronic bad breath can be embarrassing, but most of the time it is due to a relatively simple problem. See your dentist as soon as possible, and you will soon be back on the road to a healthy, odor free smile.
Dr. Jamrozek is a respected dentist located in West Milford, MA, who is an advocate of pain-free dentistry. If you are ready for a trustworthy, professional, and caring dentist in West Milford, we invite you to make an appointment today at 973-728-3779.