We are happy to help with these common dental issues.
An estimated 65% of Americans have bad breath, also known as halitosis. Over forty million Americans have “chronic halitosis,” which is persistent bad breath. Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on over-the-counter halitosis products, many of which are ineffective because they only mask the problem.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors. Some common examples include:
- Food that remains in the mouth collects bacteria. Dead and dying bacterial cells release a sulfur compound that gives breath an unpleasant odor.
- Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to breath odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is exhaled. Brushing, flossing, and mouthwash only mask the odor.
- Dieters sometimes develop unpleasant breath from fasting.
- Periodontal (gum) disease often causes persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Persistent bad breath may mean a sign that you have gum disease.
- Dry mouth or xerostomia may also cause bad breath due to decreased salivary flow. Saliva typically cleans your mouth and removes particles that may cause odor, so a decrease in saliva can cause bad breath.
- Tobacco products cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods, and irritate your gum tissues.
- Bad breath may also be a sign that you have a serious health problem, such as a respiratory tract infection, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment.
Are there home remedies for bad breath?
Daily brushing and flossing, and regular professional cleanings, will normally take care of unpleasant breath. Here are some other ideas to try:
- Controlling periodontal disease and maintaining good oral health can also help reduce bad breath.
- Don’t forget your often-overlooked tongue as a culprit for bad breath. The tongue’s surface is extremely rough, and bacteria can accumulate easily in the cracks and crevices. Cleaning that bacteria off of your mouth can help you control bad breath.
- If you have constant bad breath, make a list of the foods you eat. Some of the more fragrant ones, like garlic, may be the cause of your bad breath.
- List all the medications you take. Some medications may contribute to bad breath.
- Improperly cleaned dentures can also harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles. If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them.
Mouthwashes are generally ineffective on bad breath. If your bad breath persists even after good oral hygiene, there are special products your dentist may prescribe, including Zytex, which is a combination of zinc chloride, thymol, and eucalyptus oil. This prescribed mouthwash neutralizes the sulfur compounds and kills the bacteria that causes them.
In addition, an antimicrobial mouth rinse, like chlorhexidine, may be prescribed.
Some antiseptic mouth rinses have been accepted by the American Dental Association for their breath-freshening properties and therapeutic benefits in reducing plaque and gingivitis. Instead of simply masking breath odor, these products have been demonstrated to kill the germs that cause bad breath. Ask your dentist about trying some of these products.
Let’s stop bad breath together!
Cavities and tooth decay are caused by a variety of long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures, enamel, and the tooth’s inner dentin material. These destructive forces include frequent exposure to foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates.
Soda, candy, ice cream—even milk—are common culprits. Left inside your mouth without being brushed or flossed away, these materials break down quickly, allowing bacteria to do their dirty work in the form of a harmful, colorless sticky substance called plaque.
Plaque works in concert with leftover food particles in your mouth to form harmful acids that destroy enamel and other tooth structures. If cavities aren’t treated early enough, they can lead to more serious problems requiring treatments such as root canal therapy.
Can I prevent a cavity?
The best defense against developing a cavity is good oral hygiene, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and rinsing. Your body’s own saliva is also an excellent cavity fighter because it contains nutrients that rinse away many harmful materials.
Chewing a sugarless gum can stimulate saliva production between brushing and also help prevent cavities. Sealants and varnishes can also be applied to prevent cavities from forming.
Diet is also a major factor in cavity prevention. Too many refined sugars in your eating habits are the greatest indicator of future cavities.
Symptoms of a Cavity
Let us know if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods.
- A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line.
- A change in the color of a tooth.
We want to prevent damage to your mouth. Tell us if you think you are experiencing a cavity, so we can provide treatment for you.
Saliva is one of your body’s natural defenses against plaque because it acts as a natural rinse for your mouth, helping to rid you of cavity-causing bacteria and other harmful materials.
Dry mouth (also called xerostomia) is a fairly common condition that is caused by diminished saliva production. People with medical conditions, such as an eating disorder or diabetes, are often plagued by dry mouth.
Eating foods such as garlic, using tobacco, using certain medications, and even treatments like chemotherapy can diminish your body’s production of saliva, leading to dry mouth. Other causes are related to aging (including rheumatoid arthritis) and compromised immune systems.
One of the less alarming results of dry mouth is bad breath, but it can lead to more serious problems, including burning tongue syndrome. This is a painful condition caused by lack of moisture on the tongue.
If dry mouth isn’t readily apparent, you may experience other conditions that dry mouth can cause, including an overly-sensitive tongue, chronic thirst, or difficulty speaking. Consult your dentist if you believe you are suffering from dry mouth.
Plaque is a film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and gums after eating foods that produce acids. These foods may include carbohydrates, such as candy and cookies, soda or other carbonated beverages, and starchy foods such as bread, crackers, and cereal.
Tooth decay, commonly known as a cavity, occurs when plaque remains on your teeth for an extended period of time, Over time, this allows the bacteria to “eat away” at the surfaces of your teeth and gums.
Unfortunately, the areas surrounding restored portions of teeth (such as where fillings have been placed) are particularly vulnerable to decay because they are breeding grounds for bacteria.
Plaque can lead to gum irritation, soreness, and redness. Long-term plaque buildup can lead to serious problems. Your gums may begin to bleed as a result of plaque.
This gradual degeneration can often cause gums to pull away from teeth. This condition is called receding gums. The bacteria can eventually destroy the bone beneath the tooth or lead to an abscessed tooth.
Call for a Dental Treatment Today
If you have any of these common conditions—or any other dental needs—please call Tabor Dental Associates today for an appointment. We’re excited to help you achieve better oral health and a sparkling smile.