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Published: 2022-07-20 10:34:09
Updated: 2022-07-20 10:34:09
Posted July 20, 2022 10:34 a.m. EDT
This article was written for our sponsor, the North Carolina Dental Society.  
Bad breath is something most people have dealt with, whether it’s due to eating a pungent meal or simply waking up with morning breath. Chronic bad breath, though, might be a sign of a health concern.
Fortunately, you have options when it comes to dealing with bad breath, no matter its source. Here are some causes of bad breath and what you can do about them.
Neglecting to take care of your teeth and mouth is a sure way to get smelly breath.
“When you don’t brush your teeth well enough, you’ll collect food and plaque around the teeth and the gums,” said dentist Daniel Duffy of Live Oak Dental. “You can also get bad breath from gum disease.”
Flossing and brushing will remove the food source for the carbohydrate-loving bacteria that cause bad breath. Flossing catches pieces of food that hide between teeth, and brushing with fluoride toothpaste helps repair enamel.
Additionally, minty toothpaste can freshen breath.
“Brushing your tongue can help, as well,” said Duffy. “Bad bacteria can build up on your tongue and lead to halitosis. There are also antibacterial mouth rinses that your dentist can prescribe that really help out with this condition.”
Using an electric toothbrush will also help you thoroughly brush, and a water pick will boost your routine with a pressurized stream of water that cleans between teeth and in the pockets between teeth and gums.
Bad breath may stem from eating strong-smelling foods, smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol because all of these things either have an innate smell or because they dry out your mouth. Carrying a toothbrush and toothpaste means you can brush anytime but, if that’s not possible, chewing sugar-free gum can freshen breath.
“Dry mouth is one of the causes of bad breath,” said Duffy. “Gum is something that stimulates that saliva flow.”
Additionally, you’re at risk for bad breath if you wear dentures.
“You’ll want to make sure you take those out at night and be sure to clean them adequately,” said Duffy.
You should regularly rinse dentures and soak them in a solution made with a cleansing tablet. You can also use an adhesive to prevent food from getting trapped between your dentures and gums.
Bad breath may be connected to your health.
“A health condition like sinusitis, bronchitis or another respiratory infection can cause bad breath,” said Duffy. “People who have a condition that limits their saliva flow or who take medications that result in dry mouth can also suffer from bad breath.”
That’s because saliva is necessary to wash away dead cells that accumulate and decompose, causing bad breath.
Tonsil stones — small lumps of calcium salts and other cell debris that get stuck in your tonsils — also cause bad breath. A dentist can use a special spraying tool to wash them away.
Finally, serious health conditions connected to bad breath include diabetes, kidney disease, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis and liver disease, according to Healthline. It’s important to visit a medical professional as soon as you notice a problem that persists with time.
While brushing your teeth or using an oral rinse can help with bad breath, plaque will build up over time, and health concerns connected to bad breath need treatment.
“Going to see a dentist twice a year is an excellent way to resolve bad breath,” said Duffy.
In addition to regular checkups, you can tell your dentist about any concerns you have and get specific advice to help with your bad breath. For example, share with your dentist if food consistently gets stuck in the same place.
“If you get food stuck between two teeth, it can cause a foul odor,” said Duffy. “Be sure and tell them if that is happening.”
Your dentist will also catch signs of health concerns and notice other issues that require medical help.
“If you’re seeing your dentist regularly and they see signs of gum disease, they could refer you to a periodontist,” said Duffy.
This article was written for our sponsor, the North Carolina Dental Society.
Copyright 2022 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
©2022 Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc.


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