How Do I Get Rid of Halitosis with Dental Treatment?Barotz Dental | March 19, 2018
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is one of the most embarrassing dental conditions. Unlike other dental conditions, chronic bad breath is often stigmatized by society, and few people speak openly about it.
Halitosis can lead to interpersonal relationship issues, low self-esteem, and social anxiety. People with bad breath are labeled as having poor hygiene, which makes people suffering from bad breath feel ostracized, often for a condition they cannot help.
At the same time, halitosis is a common condition. Bad breath can affect men and women of all ages. About one in four adults has halitosis, while around 50% of elderly adults have bad breath. With that said, you shouldn’t be embarrassed by your bad breath - instead, we recommend seeking dental intervention, since it’s typically easy to treat.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Studies show that about 90% of cases of bad breath begin in the person’s mouth. First it is important to note the differences between bad breath and halitosis. Bad breath is generally used to describe an acute condition that comes and goes based on certain circumstances, like eating pungent foods or morning breath.
On the other hand, halitosis is a chronic condition, in which the patient has permanent coffee breath, even if he or she is not a coffee drinker. Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, is generally caused by foul smelling bacteria in one’s mouth or gut. There are a lot of factors that can play into chronic bad breath, including:
● Tobacco products. Smoking is notorious for causing foul breath. Not to mention, smokers and smokeless tobacco users have an increased risk for gum disease, a prevalent cause of bad breath.
● Poor oral health. Bad breath is often caused from food and bacteria accumulation, due to not brushing and flossing daily. When plaque collects on the gums, teeth, and tongue, it can cause an unflattering smell. In some cases, bad breath is caused by failed dental restorations. For instance, bacteria can collect in or around crowns, bridges, and fillings, creating a bad smell. If you wear dentures or a partial denture, bad breath is sometimes caused by dentures that don’t fit properly or aren’t cleaned routinely.
● Medication. Certain medications, especially ones that cause dry mouth, can offhandedly lead to bad breath. Some medications can also cause bad breath by inducing your body to break down chemicals that create a phosphorous or egg-like smell when exhaled.
● Certain illnesses, like gastrointestinal disorders, some cancers, metabolic disorders, and GERD can cause bad breath.
● Dental infections. Halitosis can be caused by tooth decay, gum disease, or other mouth infections.
● Ear, nose, and throat disorders. In some cases, halitosis is caused by chronic infections in the ear, nose, and throat. Sinus infections lead to postnasal drips, which causes bad breath. Tonsil stones are also known to produce bacteria and cause bad breath.
Acute bad breath is easy to treat through lifestyle changes, like brushing, flossing, or rinsing with a mouth rinse, while chronic halitosis will need to be diagnosed and treated by a dental professional.
If you’re dealing with bad breath, even after making changes in your lifestyle, like brushing and flossing frequently, brushing your tongue, and changing your diet, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our dentist. We will be able to get to the root cause of your halitosis. If we find that the cause of your bad breath is outside of our realm, we will be happy to refer you to another doctor who can help.
Dental Treatments that Help Halitosis
Since halitosis is often caused by an abundance of bacteria in the mouth, we can help treat your bad breath by neutralizing bacteria and recommending products to improve your oral hygiene. The treatments that we recommend for your halitosis will depend on the condition of your oral health. These are some common treatments used for combating bad breath:
● Regular professional dental cleanings. Routine dental cleanings will keep your mouth and gums as free of bacteria as possible. Our hygienists will use specialized tools to remove plaque buildup not only on the surface of your teeth, but also below the gumline. If we determine that you have gum disease, we might recommend more extensive periodontal treatments to extract the odor-causing bacteria below your gum line.
● Cavity fillings. Untreated cavities can lead to foul smelling breath, as the bacteria within the cavity breaks down proteins, it can emit a sulfur smell. During a cavity filling, we will remove all of the tooth decay in the cavity, then seal off the area with a composite resin to strengthen the tooth structure and hinder bacteria from re-entering the tooth’s pulp.
● Wisdom teeth extractions. Impacted, infected or partially erupted wisdom teeth are common causes of bad breath, which can be rectified through extraction.
● Prescribe anti-halitosis products. For some cases, especially when dry mouth is a culprit, we might recommend anti-halitosis products. For patients with dry mouth, we might recommend artificial salivas, drinking more water, or chewing sugar-free gum. While this won’t treat the bad breath at its source, it can help stimulate saliva production for an acute treatment. We also might recommend antimicrobial or antiseptic mouth rinses and toothpaste to help reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.
Are you tired of getting funny looks from your coworkers when you breathe too closely in their direction? Contact us and schedule an appointment with our office immediately to treat your halitosis and rule out bigger problems.