April 11, 2017
When you know you have bad breath, you feel embarrassed. Sometimes, however, you may not even be aware of your halitosis. Unfortunately, this oral health condition often signals a problem with your teeth, gums or overall health. Dr. John Stentz and Dr. Priya Shaffer of Circle Pines Dental educate patients about the reasons behind bad breath and how you can eliminate it through dental cleaning in Circle Pines and other oral health care practices.
What are the Reasons for Bad Breath?
Never ignore bad breath. Besides damaging professional and social situations, halitosis can indicate oral and systemic health problems.
Your dentist in Circle Pines looks for signs of tooth decay, abscess (infection), periodontitis (gum disease) and poor tooth alignment as these issues change how our breath smells. Also, a conversation between you and your dentist can reveal hidden causes for bad breath such as:
- Consumption of aromatic foods, such as garlic and onions, which linger in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract
- Smoking cigarettes and cigars and chewing tobacco
- Drinking coffee and alcohol
- Xerostomia (dry mouth) from dieting, fasting and poor hydration during and after working out or hard physical labor
Also, starchy foods such as breads and pastas, foster bacterial growth in the mouth. These germs give off large amounts of Volatile Sulfur Compounds, or VSCs, leading to the typical “rotten egg odor” of halitosis.
Diet modifications, smoking cessation and adequate daily hydration relieve this relatively benign kind of halitosis. However, what can solve bad breath that originates in overall health problems such as diabetes?
Halitosis and Your Overall Health
Dr. Stentz and Dr. Shaffer maintain that bad breath may be linked to chronic or acute health conditions. For instance, diabetics with wide blood sugar variations often have breath with a fruity smell Chronic kidney disease makes breath smell like urine or ammonia. Mucus from sinus infections or bronchitis smells as the patient exhales. GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux, causes noticeably strong bad breath.
Also, while cancer or Parkinson’s Disease do not cause halitosis, some drugs used to treat them impact breath odor. Some psychiatric medications and high blood pressure and allergy drugs do, too. Oxygen therapy for lung disease leads to xerostomia, which in turn, causes bad breath.
The Keys to Fresh Breath
For simple bad breath, try these lifestyle modifications:
- Limit strong smelling foods, such as onions and garlic, and reduce your intake of starches.
- Hydrate with several glasses of water a day. Drinking water rinses food residues from your teeth and gums, stimulates antibacterial saliva and moisturizes soft oral tissues, avoiding dry mouth.
- Brush your teeth twice daily according to the American Dental Association guidelines. Floss each day to eliminate plaque. Brush your tongue, too, because its rough surface retains food residues and bacteria.
- Come to Circle Pines Dental twice a year for an oral exam and hygienic cleaning to prevent gum disease and tooth decay and to inspect for oral cancer and deteriorating restorations such as fillings and crowns. If your dentist suspects you have a systemic health problem, he or she will refer you to your primary care physician.
Think about Your Breath
Don’t wait until someone tells you that you have bad breath. Contact Circle Pines Dental for your routine cleaning and check-up. Your dentist will help you improve your oral health and breath.
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