Sometimes bad breath happens. From a morning cup of coffee to a garlicky lunch or dinner, no one is immune to the occasional bout of bad breath.
But if you or someone you love develops persistent bad breath (halitosis) that lingers despite good oral hygiene habits, it could be a sign of an oral health problem.
With an office in The Woodlands, Texas, Scott Young, DDS, provides dental services for the greater Houston region, including the communities of Highland Village, West University, River Oaks, Rice Village, and Memorial.
What causes bad breath?
Here are some common factors that contribute to bad breath:
Poor oral hygiene
Inadequate or infrequent brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning allow bacteria to accumulate, leading to bad breath as a result.
Certain foods and drinks, like onions, garlic, coffee, and alcohol, can cause bad breath, especially if you don’t brush your teeth after meals.
Saliva plays a vital role in maintaining oral health by washing away bacteria and food particles. When your mouth becomes too dry, bacteria can proliferate and trigger bad breath. You can also develop dry mouth from certain medications or mouth breathing when you have a cold. Drink enough water to stay hydrated and keep the saliva flowing.
Smoking and tobacco use can cause chronic bad breath. Tobacco products also increase the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems, including bad breath.
Oral health problems
Cavities, gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis), oral infections, and dental abscesses can cause bad breath. If you have any symptoms or signs of tooth decay or gum disease, such as red, swollen gums, bleeding, pain, or signs of an infection, schedule an appointment for a dental exam as soon as possible.
Respiratory infections like sinusitis, tonsillitis, or bronchitis can also cause bad breath due to bacteria and mucus buildup in your mouth and respiratory tract.
Certain medical conditions, like diabetes and acid reflux (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD), can also contribute to bad breath.
When to see the dentist for bad breath
The first step to eliminating bad breath is to identify the underlying cause. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, along with regular dental check-ups, can prevent and manage bad breath.
If it’s been more than six months since your or your loved one’s last dental exam and professional cleaning, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
Professional dental cleanings and exams are necessary to remove any plaque and tartar buildup and to check for signs of oral health problems that may not be visible to the naked eye.
Dr. Young and our team will provide a comprehensive dental exam, improve your oral health, and identify and treat any oral and general health issues contributing to chronic bad breath.
For more tips on how to manage bad breath and how to protect yourself and your family from gum disease and other common oral health problems, contact us today to schedule an appointment.