Bad breath can be a very disturbing problem, not only for you but for people around you, like your partner or friends. Bad breath also causes psychological problems, because people who suffer from it tend to separate from other people, creating problems for their social life.That’s why it is necessary to understand the most important causes of bad breath, in order to know how to prevent it or even to treat it. The most important cause of bad breath is the bacteria colonization of the mouth. To prevent it, you need to stop bacterial accumulation. In our mouth there is a permanent bacterial flora, and this doesn’t mean we have to kill them all to have a fresh breath, because some of the bacteria is helpful for our everyday life. The bacteria that causes bed breath accumulates on the food remains stuck in different parts of our mouth and while fermenting, they release bad odors.
The factors that cause accumulation of the food remains are:
Tooth Decay– If you have a cavity in one or more teeth, food can accumulate there that goes bad from the bacterial fermentation and cause bad breath. You can brush your teeth, floss or use mouth wash, but you can’t clean in deep cavities. The only treatment for bad breath caused by decay cavities is getting those cavities treated and filled by your dentist.
Infected tooth– Sometimes because a tooth doesn’t receive root canal treatment when it should, its pulp becomes necrotic or gangrenous causing bad breath. The only remedy for this kind of situations is a root canal therapy which removes all the bacteria.
Gum disease– Having gum disease such as gingivitis or parodontitis causes accumulation of dental plaque and food remains in the inflamed periodontal pockets that are formed. This causes accumulation of bacteria and therefore bad breath. Brushing your teeth as directed by your dentist, flossing and using mouth wash will prevent these diseases. But if you already have gum disease, brushing, flossing or mouth washing only temporary reduces bad breath . In this case the only thing you can do is to get an appointment to your dentist and treat the gum disease so that your bad breath can be eliminated.
Bad dentures or bad dental work– If you have some bad fillings, bad teeth crowns or bad dentures, you will have inevitably have plaque accumulation that will cause bad odors. Because is nearly impossible for you to clean those spots on your teeth, the only thing to do is to go back to your dentist and repeat all the work from the beginning.
Poor dental hygiene– Having poor dental hygiene causes accumulation of dental plaque on tooth surfaces which promotes bacterial growth between teeth, around gums and even on tongue and cheek. This causes bad breath and the treatment is proper dental hygiene, brushing at least twice a day, floss and use mouth wash daily. You should also have a dental visit at least once every 4-6 months.
Inflamed tongue, cheeks mucosa or lips mucosa– Inflamed mucosa due to bite marks or different disease like herpes, sores etc causes irregularity of the mucosal surface and therefore accumulation of food remains and bacteria. This will cause bad breath until the problem is treated. You will need to make an appointment with your dentist so he will guide you on how to proceed with the treatment
Eating habits-Eating habits are a very important cause of bad breath. When you eat, until the food is digested and absorbed breathing carries out the odors which sometimes becomes unbearable. So if you eat foods with strong odors (such as garlic), brushing your teeth will not solve the bad breath problem, until it is totally digested. A good advice would be to carefully choose your food, if you have an appointment later with a probable partner or with your friends, and if you don’t want them to stay miles away while you talk.
Bad habits– Bad habits like smoking or drinking alcohol causes bad breath because of their odor and because they cause inflammation of the soft tissue of the mouth causing plaque accumulation. You should seek help from your doctor or another qualified professional to quit smoking or drinking.
Oral medical condition– One example would be the dry mouth syndrome (xerostomia) which can cause bad breath. Xerostomia is a medical condition in which the production of saliva is compromised due to different factors that we are going to explain later. Low flux of saliva can’t neutralize acids produced by plaque, or can’t remove dead cells, causing accumulation of irritating factors on teeth and mucosal surfaces of cheeks, tongue and lips. These irritating factors will cause bad breath treatable only after resolving the dry mouth condition.
Systemic medical conditions– Diseases of the respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract are the most common diseases that cause bad breath. Also other systemic disease like diabetes, kidney or liver problems can cause bad breath.
Remember that in most cases your dentist can solve the bad breath problem, but this only if it is caused by oral problems. If not your dentist will guide you to the specialists that can determine the source of the problem and then treat it.
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