Chronic bad breath is not normal

What’s that smell?

Chronic bad breath is not normal

Did you just pop a breath mint?  Are you a person who constantly has a stock pile of gum and mouth rinse, but find that they don’t really work?  Most mouth rinses and mints are designed as a cosmetic fix and might help if its is something you ate, however, chronic bad breath can be the sign of something more complex than what you had for lunch.

Obviously, certain foods such as garlic and onions can make ones breath a bit questionable.  After eating, these foods are absorbed in the blood stream and transfered to the lungs.  Exhalation allows the residual smell to escape the body.   Brushing, flossing and mouth rinse will serve as a cosmetic fix, but the smell will last until those onions make it all the way through the digestive tract.

I didn’t eat anything smelly

Another cause of bad breath can be xerostomia, or dry mouth.  Lack of moisture in the mouth causes bacteria and food that would normally be sent down your throat with excess saliva to build up and smell bad.  Dry mouth can be caused by numerous medications, salivary gland problems and mouth breathing.  Often times,  a prescription for artificial saliva can help with these conditions.

Lack of brushing and flossing can lead to excess food and bacteria building up in the gum tissues.  The food collects around the teeth and rots releasing an unpleasant odor.  This can lead to Periodontal Disease.  Deep pockets, left uncleaned, come complete with a supply of rotting food for bacteria to proliferate.  Uncontrolled Periodontal Disease can lead to bone and tooth loss.

Bad breath can also be a sign of other health concerns including respiratory infection, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorder or kidney ailment.  In this case a referral to a medical doctor for additional treatment might be necessary.

What can I do?

Keys to great smelling breath include regular visits to your dentist.  Regular cleanings will keep your mouth cleaned up and can head-off potential problems.    In-between visits, make sure to brush your teeth and tongue.  Floss regularly and if you sense your breath might be less than par, don’t hesitate to schedule a quick visit at the office.   For those of you with dentures, make sure to remove them at night and clean them thoroughly.  Remember, a visit here could put those mints to rest.

To your health,

Dr. Bob

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