Dentists know firsthand that bad breath can be an embarrassing and frustrating condition. We spend countless hours in close proximity to patient’s wide-open mouths. For many patients, bad breath may only be an issue in the morning when you first get out of bed or after eating a meal containing onions or garlic. Unfortunately for some, bad breath can be a persistent condition causing anxiety and self-consciousness in many social situations. Halitosis — the medical term for bad breath — fortunately can be adequately treated with proper dental care.
Many safe and effective options exist for eliminating bad breath. While some of these options may offer temporary relief for bad breath, the best way to successfully treat persistent cases of bad breath is by treating the source of the condition. The most common causes of bad breath are food, dry mouth and tooth decay — and each of these causes should be treated differently.
Most of us are aware that foods such as garlic and onions can cause bad breath. While this is a temporary condition, it can lead to uncomfortable social situations when left untreated. Your dentist will tell you that the best way to avoid bad breath after meals remains simple — brushing and flossing your teeth. If it is not possible to properly brush and floss after meals, rinsing your mouth with water, using chewing gum or a breath mint may help.
Dry mouth is another common cause of bad breath. Without adequate saliva production, the mouth’s self-cleaning mechanism fails to rid the mouth of odor-causing bacteria. The best ways to stimulate saliva production are by drinking lots of water, rinsing your mouth with water often, chewing gum or sucking on hard candy. For more severe cases of dry mouth, there are also rinses available that will help keep your mouth moist.
In some cases, bad breath may be a sign of tooth decay or an infection. Bacteria is one of the main causes of bad breath — usually caused when bacteria builds up and begins to eat away at your tooth’s enamel. In these cases, the best way to treat bad breath is by treating the affected tooth.
Once bad breath has been treated, patients can avoid halitosis by keeping their mouth clean and hydrated. Establishing proper oral health habits — such as brushing and flossing daily, rinsing with water after meals if you cannot brush and scheduling dental appointments twice a year — can help patients keep their breath smelling fresh and clean all the time.
To learn more about Grand Rapids dentist Dr. Kent Wildern and the services we offer, please contact us here or call us at (616) 364-8716. Kent Wildern DDS and his dental team strive to be the very best at providing our patients with optimal care while making them feel right at home.