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Why you may be experiencing bad breath and what to do about it

Did you know your dentist can influence your issues with bad breath? After all, a scent is particulate, so your bad breath is caused by microscopic pieces of smelly substances. Therefore, the quality of your breath may have a simple cause – like eating onions, garlic, and curry – or it may be linked to your dental health. Foods with strong odours can continue to affect your breath even after you brush your teeth.

In fact, spicy foods can seep through your pores, affecting your body odour. Alcohol has the same effect, and so does coffee. Both can be sensed in our sweat. We’re focusing on halitosis though, and these foods can stay in your breath until your body finishes metabolising them. This could take several days. Still, at the most basic level, bad breath is caused by food particles in your teeth, gums, and tongue that have begun to attract bacteria. The bacteria eat this leftover food, excreting smelly acids that affect your breath.

Basic dental care

Brushing teeth helps, but food residue may remain on your tongue, in the spaces between our teeth, or even in cracks and splits on the surface of your teeth. When you brush your teeth, brush your tongue too, getting rid of food particles stuck in your membranes. Flossing helps with the food bits stuck between your teeth. Mouthwash is also helpful for rinsing out excess bacteria and tiny food flecks. Tobacco and nicotine can affect your breath as well.

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Sometimes, the root of your bad breath lies deeper. It can be a sign that you have gum disease, which is why it persists despite brushing, flossing, and mouth-washing. In such cases, the smell comes from tissue damage caused by plaque and tartar, so you need a professional cleaning to scrape off the tartar and antibiotics for the infection. You might also benefit from laser dental treatments.

Physical wounds sometimes cause infections. If you use dentures or mouth guards that don’t fit well, or if your traditional braces chafe the skin, the resulting bruises could become open wounds that start to smell if they go untreated. Similarly, the rot in cavities and yeast infections can stink up your breath. Usually, all these potential toxins are washed away by saliva. It also neutralises any excess acid in the mouth.

Medical triggers

When your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva to rinse off the mess, your breath can start to smell. Some medications leave you with cotton-mouth and bad breath because they cut down saliva production as a side effect. This dry mouth effect is called xerostomia, and it’s a principal cause of halitosis. In such cases, chew sugarless gum and eat crunchy fruits or vegetables with bite (like carrots, sugarcane, or celery) to stimulate saliva production.

On occasion, medical problems in other parts of your body can manifest as bad breath. These include diabetes, bronchitis, pneumonia, liver damage, kidney malfunctions, sinus issues, and acid reflux. With so many possible causes, it can be hard to spot the exact cause of your halitosis. Keep a food diary, drink lots of water to flush out your system, don’t sleep with dentures in, and be sure to visit your dentist two to four times a year, to maintain your overall dental health.

For further guidance in improving your breath, call Dental Avenue Maroubra today and book a consult.

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