Bad breath also known as halitosis will be experienced by everyone at one time or another in their life. Things that you eat such as garlic, onions, and some spices can cause bad breath and may have a lingering effect, but should only be temporary. Chronic or long term halitosis can indicate other problems that need to be diagnosed and treated. These problems could include periodontal disease, tooth decay, buildup on tongue and decay under crowns or fillings. Bad breath can also come from digestive or respiratory problems. If you have experienced bad breath for a long period of time you may need to see your dentist or physician to diagnose your particular problem.
The most common contributor to bad breath is not cleaning efficiently around and in between teeth to remove food debris and odor causing bacteria. When food accumulates and is left for a period of time it can create plaque (food and bacteria) and eventually calculus or hard deposits on your teeth. Regular professional cleanings and good home care will reduce or eliminate this bad breath in most cases. This can be achieved by brushing and flossing 2-3 times a day in combination with an ADA approved mouth rinse.
Your tongue is also a major contributor to bad breath. It has small grooves and fine hair-like projections that trap debris and bacteria. Your tongue needs to be cleaned each time you brush your teeth. This can be accomplished by brushing it or using a tongue scraper. Tongue scrapers work well and sometimes have less of a gagging effect than a tooth brush. However, both methods are very effective and will help remove and eliminate the material causing the odors. Another common contributor to bad breath is chronic post nasal drip. This can be pronounced when allergies are present during different times of the year.
Regular hygiene cleaning appointments are important and will remove any build up around the teeth and below the gum tissue. An oral exam in conjunction with x-rays can help your dentist determine if any fillings or crowns are “leaking” which can allow food debris and bacteria a safe place to hide. If areas are found that need repaired your dentist can recommend the proper treatment to eliminate these hiding places and restore your teeth back to good condition.