Good News About Bad Breath Causes and Treatment Options

Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Good News About Bad Breath Causes and Treatment Options

Bad breath, also known as halitosis or morning breath, stinks! It’s a common condition that affects many people around the world—about 25%. If this bad smell comes from your mouth, it can be an embarrassing problem that can negatively impact social and professional interactions and also affect your confidence.

Fortunately, if you think you may suffer from halitosis, Penn Dental Medicine has good news about bad breath causes and treatment options. Read on for fresh breath information and solutions here.

The 411 on Symptoms, Bad Breath Causes, and Treatment Options

A young man brushes his teeth with his daughter to follow his dentist’s halitosis treatment.Halitosis can originate from the mouth, nose, or throat. Bad breath symptoms include:

  • Metallic taste in the mouth.
  • Unpleasant odor from the mouth.
  • Constant dry mouth.
  • A bad taste in the mouth.
  • White or yellow coating on the tongue.
  • Thick saliva.
  • Post-nasal drip.
  • Sore throat.
  • Persistent cough.
  • Gums that bleed easily.
  • Loose teeth or bleeding gums.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to speak with a health-care professional or dental provider to determine the underlying cause and seek appropriate treatment.

How Can You Tell if You Have Bad Breath?

If you suspect that you may have bad breath, a simple self-test can be performed at home. The “lick test” involves licking your wrist and waiting approximately 10 seconds for the saliva to dry. Then, smell the area of the lick. If there is an unpleasant odor present, it may indicate that you have bad breath. Additionally, ask a trusted friend or family member for their opinion.

What Causes Bad Breath?

The most common bad breath cause is poor oral hygiene, which allows bacteria to accumulate on the teeth, gums, and tongue. Other potential causes of bad breath include:

  • Periodontal disease (gum disease) and tooth decay.
  • Food particles stuck in between teeth or other hard-to-reach areas of the mouth.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Dry mouth (caused by certain medications, dehydration, and certain medical conditions).
  • Certain bacteria that live in the throat or nose.
  • Certain foods (such as garlic, onions, or spices) and alcohol.

It is important to note that some medical conditions, such as diabetes, kidney failure, and liver disease, can also cause bad breath.

How Is Bad Breath Diagnosed?

Your dentist may conduct several tests to determine the cause. One of the most common methods is the “sniff” test, where the dentist smells the patient’s breath. They may also ask the patient to breathe into a specialized device that detects the levels of sulfur compounds in the breath. In some cases, they may even take a sample of the bacteria that cause bad breath from the tongue or throat.

By identifying the underlying cause of bad breath, your dentist can recommend the proper treatment, whether it’s through improving oral hygiene, addressing an underlying health condition, or other means.

How To Treat Bad Breath

There are several treatments available that can effectively manage and eliminate bad breath.

  • Improve oral hygiene habits: Brushing twice a day (including your tongue), flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash can significantly reduce the buildup of bacteria in the mouth and prevent bad breath.
  • Drink plenty of water: Drinking enough water helps keep the mouth hydrated and prevents dry mouth, a common cause of bad breath.
  • Regular dental cleaning: Professional cleaning by a dentist can help to remove plaque and tartar buildup that can cause bad breath and gum disease.
  • Avoid tobacco products: Smoking and other tobacco products can cause bad breath, stain teeth, and increase the risk of gum disease and oral cancer.
  • Tongue scraping: Using a tongue scraper helps to remove odor-causing bacteria from the tongue surface and prevent bad breath.
  • Chew sugar-free gum: Chewing sugar-free gum can increase saliva production and neutralize odors in the mouth, thereby reducing bad breath.
  • Mouthwashes: Antiseptic mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine, chlorine dioxide, or other antibacterial agents can kill bacteria and freshen your breath.
  • Address underlying medical conditions: If the cause of bad breath is an underlying medical condition such as sinus infections or acid reflux, treating the condition can also help alleviate halitosis.

When To See a Dentist

If you have persistent bad breath that does not improve with basic oral hygiene practices, it may be time to see your Penn Dental Medicine dentist. Additionally, if your bad breath is accompanied by other symptoms like pain or swelling in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, or a fever, it is important to seek medical attention right away.

At Penn Dental Medicine, we’ll help you get your fresh breath back with dentist halitosis treatments. Or, we’ll provide instructions for treatments you can do yourself. Either way, we’ll sweeten your smile soon. So if you think you’re suffering from bad breath or if a family member’s morning breath seems to last all day, we’re ready to help. To schedule your appointment, call our office at 215-898-8965 or complete this form.

If you’d like to learn more about our services before your visit, just fill out this form to download “Comprehensive Care and You: Penn Dental Medicine’s Dental Services.”

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