Are you worried about bad breath? Do you have a persistent bad taste in your mouth? Does it feel like other people might be avoiding you when you speak? We all have bad breath every now and then, especially if we eat certain foods, but sometimes bad breath can be a problem that requires special attention.
What Is Halitosis?
Halitosis is the technical term for bad breath. Studies have shown that up to 50% of people can suffer from halitosis to varying degrees. Like body odour, it’s a major source of personal embarrassment, and can severely affect one’s confidence, social interaction and quality of life.
What Causes Halitosis?
There are several factors that contribute to bad breath including poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, diet, and gum disease. Certain illnesses and medications can also affect breath mostly because they affect saliva flow. Even skipping meals can lead to “hunger breath” because a lack of chewing slows saliva, leaving the perfect environment for odour producing bacteria to thrive.
However 90% of the malodor (an unpleasant smell) is a result of an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, resulting in an overgrowth of the bad or more harmful types. The odours come from the waste products that these bacteria produce as a result of digestion of left over proteins in your mouth.
Can Bad Breath Be A Sign Of Poor Oral Health?
Although periodontal disease has traditionally been associated with halitosis, individuals with healthy looking oral tissues can also suffer from severe halitosis.
The harmful bacteria associated with both periodontal disease and halitosis can impact your overall health, putting you at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, various cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other conditions. This is called the Oral Systemic Connection.
Most People Do Not Know They Have A Breath Problem
It is usually a close friend or family member who reluctantly brings your breath problems to their attention because they don’t want you to suffer the embarrassing side-effects. Your co-workers or friends probably won’t tell you because they may not feel comfortable sharing this personal observation. It’s not easy to tell someone they have bad breath and it usually goes untreated for long periods of time and until someone speaks up.
For the most part, you can’t smell your own breath. Some try licking the inside of their wrist, letting it dry, and then checking for any odour (this doesn’t always work).
When the bacteria that cause bad breath are in high levels, your sense of smell and taste can be altered as well, preventing you from experiencing the full enjoyment of eating, or the taste of a fine wine.
Is Bad Breath Contagious?
You can’t catch halitosis from another person but you can contract the bad bacteria that cause it from someone else. The bad bacteria can be passed by kissing, sharing utensils, sharing toothbrushes, and can even be transmitted to and from your pets!
Will Improved Personal Hygiene Help?
While in some cases, tongue scraping and improving oral hygiene (especially cleaning between the teeth) can help reduce plaque and odours, in other cases, even the most meticulous brushing and flossing will not eliminate bad breath because an underlying problem has developed. In fact, many bad breath sufferers have healthy looking mouths and impeccable oral care habits.
What about mouth wash?
Most mouth washes, breath sprays and chewing gums tends to only mask the issue because the underlying problem is an imbalance of the good and bad bacteria in your mouth.
At Parkway Dentistry, we can address the root cause of the problem (the reason for the bacteria buildup), bring balance back to your mouth, create healthier oral conditions, and then help you maintain much fresher breath.
Do I Need Help From A Professional For My Bad Breath?
Depending on how severe the problem is, you may need to get help from a professional.
Answer These Questions:
- Are you on guard all the time because of your breath?
- Do you frequently notice a bad taste in your mouth?
- Has anyone told you that you have bad breath?
- Do you use mints, gum and mouthwash but nothing works?
- Does anyone else in your family have gum disease or bad breath?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, talk to your hygienist. They can help!
How Can Halitosis Be Treated?
To treat bad breath, our office utilizes the amazing OraVital® System – a unique, oral treatment that thoroughly removes the problem-causing bacteria with a non-invasive, simple treatment protocol.
There may be a simple solution to your breath odour problem and we’ll help you discover if this is the case. At Parkway Dentistry, we can help you assess if your oral hygiene techniques are actually working. We can also recommend specific mouth rinses that help reduce the bacteria responsible for the odour and neutralize them.
In addition, a simple oral microbiology test will tell us if you have high numbers of the specific types of bacteria known to produce odours. The treatment is simple, and effective.
We also evaluate other potential contributing factors which can generally impact your breath such as hydration, diet, meal patterns, lifestyle, and your overall oral health.
How Do I Prevent Halitosis?
There are many things that can help prevent halitosis, however if the root cause is an imbalance of bacteria, it will need to be addressed with microbiology testing and treatment first.
After treatment, the following behaviours will help maintain fresher breath:
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid letting your mouth dry out
- Chew gum and mints that contain pure xylitol
- Have snacks like hard, crunchy fruits and vegetables to stimulate saliva and clean the mouth naturally
- Eat foods rich in fibre, and limit foods high in sugar as they will increase bacteria
- Rinse your mouth vigorously after eating
- Clean between your teeth well at least twice a day
- Avoid products that contain alcohol, as they increase oral dryness
- Use mouthwash that decreases bacteria and neutralizes odours
- Take an Oral Probiotic lozenge daily that contains BLIS K12, letting it dissolve in your mouth slowly
- See your dentist/hygienist at least every 3-4 months
Will My Chronic Bad Breath Return?
There is a possibility that bad breath may return. There are so many things that can have an impact including things that are not in your control such as what we breathe in, hormones, and underlying health issues. Other things that can upset the balance are:
- Lifestyle factors such as diet, alcohol intake, smoking, and stress
- Antibiotics, whitening products, toothpastes and mouthwash
- Kissing, and sharing utensils–Bacteria is transmissible, so if your partner or members of your family also have the same problem, the bacteria can return. There are times when treating spouses at the same time is ideal
Let us help you restore your breath confidence! Contact us today and get started on the road to better oral health!