At our dental office in Midtown Houston, when we talk to patients about needing a nightguard for protection of their teeth, I would say more than half of them look at me and say, “Not me…. I don’t do that” or “I know I won’t wear that thing." When in reality, most of us do some sort of extra parafunctional habits that cause noticeable damage on teeth.
We have all had questions about it, whether we have known someone with it or for ourselves- BAD BREATH. We want to know what causes it and how to fix it. Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by several factors. Some are dental related and can be fixed very easily.
CAUSES of BAD BREATH:
In the most simple form, bad breath is caused by the bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria can come from your teeth, your gums or your tongue. So there are several things that can be done to rid your mouth of the bacteria and therefore decrease any bad breath you may have. The first thing to do is to make sure you have no cavities or infection. Your dentist will be able to check this for you at your regular visits. Your teeth and your gums will be evaluated and if you have either of those things they will be able to tell you how to treat it.
Bacteria can accumulate around your teeth and under your gums in the form of plaque and tartar. This is where your home care and dental hygiene come into play. You must remove the plaque from your teeth daily in order to stop bad breath. This means brushing for 2 minutes at least twice a day and flossing around every tooth at least once a day. Electric toothbrushes are great at easily removing the plaque for you and they can remove more than using just a manual toothbrush. We always recommend electric toothbrushes to patients who are prone to plaque build up or have experienced bad breath in the past. Flossing is also really important, not only for gum health, but also if you struggle with bad breath. It is sometimes this simple step that is the source of bad breath due to being neglected in home care.
Which brings me to the most neglected area- the tongue. This is not only the most neglected, but also is the main source for bacteria that causes bad breath. Brushing your tongue when you brush your teeth will help remove the bacteria and therefore not allow bad breath. Sonicare recently came out with a mechanical and chemical solution to help specifically clean your tongue and rid your mouth of bad breath. This tongue brush attaches to your sonicare and helps break up the tongue film of bacteria at 31,000 brush strokes per minute. This is used with BreathRx antibacterial tongue spray that helps clean out the deeper tongue grooves- this also helps neutralize the gases responsible for causing bad breath. We have this available in our office.
Using a mouth rinse is the final step in the triage of brushing, flossing and rinsing to help rid your mouth of excessive bacteria build up. None of these things can be done alone to see results, but when done all together, you will notice your bad breath go away.
Other factors that may be contributing to bad breath but not dental related include: acid reflux, medications that cause dry mouth, post nasal drainage from infection or allergies and the foods that we eat. Our first line of defense is to make sure our mouth is properly cleaned with the hygiene tips given above, and if other issues are still effecting it, we can discuss other options with your physician to help aid in the cure of bad breath.
If you have more questions about this or other dental services we offer, contact our dental office in Midtown Houston at 713-942-0101.