Bad breath is very embarrassing, and it sometimes points to a health issue in the mouth or elsewhere in the body. Drs. Brian and Katherine Lee of Dentistry at Windermere expose the reasons behind halitosis and help treat them.
Bad breath is no laughing matter
Don’t ignore your bad breath, or halitosis. Besides having an adverse effect on your interpersonal relationships, halitosis frequently indicates oral and systemic health problems.
Your Cumming, GA dentists look for signs of tooth decay and other oral health problems such as gum disease and poor tooth alignment. He or she asks patients what concerns them. A patient may complain of persistent halitosis related to:
- strong-tasting foods, such as onions and garlic, which stay in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract
- Smoking cigarettes and cigars and chewing tobacco
- Drinking coffee and alcohol
- Fasting, dieting and insufficient hydration after working out
Also, sugary and starchy foods, such as bread, cookies and pastas, encourage oral bacteria growth. These microorganisms release Volatile Sulfur Compounds, or VSCs, compounds cause the “rotten egg odor” common to bad breath.
This variety of halitosis can be eliminated with menu changes, smoking cessation and daily hydration. But what can you do about halitosis emanating from health-related issues?
Health problems are often linked to halitosis
Bad breath frequently starts with chronic or acute health conditions. For instance, poorly controlled diabetes causes a characteristic fruity bad breath. Chronic kidney disease makes breath smell very pungent– like urine or ammonia. Thick, green mucus from sinusitis or even pneumonia smells when the sick individual exhales. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux, leads to very smelly breath odor.
Plus, while cancer or Parkinson’s Disease do not cause halitosis, some of the drugs used in their treatment may. Certain psychiatric, hypertensive and allergy drugs do as well. Oxygen therapy for COPD and other respiratory issues leads to xerostomia, or chronic dry mouth. A dry mouth often means bad breath.
Of course, it’s just common sense that problems right in the mouth affect breath odor. Periodontal disease and dental abscesses are notorious for noticeable halitosis.
What can remedy bad breath?
Drs. Brian and Katherine Lee alleviate halitosis. For everyday bad breath, simple lifestyle habits can help:
- Limit aromatic foods, such as onions and garlic, and choose lower sugar items.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day washes away food residues, stimulates saliva and moisturizes oral mucosa.
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily for 2 minutes each time as advised by the American Dental Association. Floss daily, too, to control Brush your tongue because its rough surface holds food particles and bacteria.
- See Dr. Lee every 6 months for a comprehensive oral exam and hygienic cleaning. The dentist finds cavities and gum disease, and your hygienist removes plaque and tartar which cause bad breath.
Dr. Lee may advise over the counter mouth rinses to control simple bad breath. Prescription rinses with zinc chloride fight oral bacteria and the VSGs they give off. Your Cummng, GA dentist treats oral health issues and refers patients to their physicians if he or she believes halitosis comes from a health problem such as diabetes.