Bad breath, technically known as halitosis, is socially unacceptable. The smell can be highly repugnant, not to mention embarrassing. But what causes it? And what can be done about it?
Temporary bad breath can of course be caused by eating certain foods, such as garlic or chili peppers. When that’s all it is, bad breath can usually be dispensed with just as easily as it was acquired. Using mouthwash, breath mints, eating certain vegetables, or just waiting a while and exercising routine oral hygiene are all likely methods.
Persistent bad breath is a different category. The cause is not obvious, both because the odor doesn’t resemble any particular food, and because it seems to be present regardless of what foods are eaten. Although many products exist to “handle” bad breath, as mentioned above, when these are addressed to a long term condition they rarely make a lasting difference. This is because persistent bad breath by itself is merely a symptom. The cause of the symptom must be addressed for any permanent alleviation.
The fact is that persistent bad breath is virtually always caused by bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria feed on plaque left on your teeth after you eat, and propagate just below your gum line and between your teeth where your toothbrush doesn’t reach (although flossing can help with much of this). When plaque is neglected for too long, the bacteria will cause your gums to be inflamed. The chemicals from the bacteria will decay the enamel of your teeth. And these chemicals and bacteria don’t smell good.
Bad breath, particularly severe bad breath, is a very probable indicator that gum disease is present.
If you find you have persistent bad breath despite routine brushing and flossing, visit Minneapolis Dental to get a proper, full dental examination and determine what can be done to handle it.