The word “halitosis” comes up a lot in general dentistry and discussions about oral hygiene, but what is it? The Parkcrest Dental Group isn’t just about treatment – we want to educate you, too. The Parkcrest Dental Group blog is an ideal place to explain the facts about a wide range of topics that relate to your dental hygiene. In this entry, we examine halitosis – what it is, what causes it, and the ways you can treat and manage it.
What Is Halitosis?
We’ve all had that deeply discouraging moment where we suddenly realize that, for one reason or another, our breath smells bad. Whether it’s from eating garlic, a tuna sandwich, skipping breakfast or too much coffee in the morning, we all have to occasionally sneak some gum to mask the smell of our breath.
Usually gum, food, brushing and flossing, and maybe using mouthwash will solve the problem. But for some people, their bad breath is a chronic problem. While the term halitosis can be used to refer to temporary or persistent bad breath, chronic halitosis is a much bigger problem.
What Causes It?
As we’ve already mentioned, a brief bout of halitosis is typically caused by eating or drinking something particularly pungent. The smell can linger for a while after eating not only because it was in your mouth, but it’s also currently digesting in your stomach. Being sick can also cause bad breath due to a lack of food, dehydration, fatigue and your body working to fight an infection. Chronic bad breath is a different story and can be caused by a range of factors.
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Smoking, drinking too much, and eating poorly can all be contributing factors to chronic halitosis. Smoking dries out the inside of your mouth and a lingering aroma of its own. Alcohol isn’t much different. Eating too much junk food causes problems with a wide range of bodily functions – especially digestion, which can contribute, too.
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Side Effects of Medication
If you’re taking a prescription medication and noticed your breath smells worse than usual, take a look at the possible side effects. A lot of medications can cause halitosis as a result of dry mouth.
If you have an ongoing illness, you might find yourself tackling halitosis more often than most. In much the same way as leading an unhealthy lifestyle, having to live with an illness puts a strain on your body, affecting the way it functions and slowing down certain processes.
At the Parkcrest Dental Group, it’s common for us to treat patients for tooth problems who also complain of having bad breath. Many dental health issues that are painful enough for people to seek treatment often involve infection, cavities, or a buildup of bacteria or plaque. All of these produce their own distinctive smells, and the worse the problems get, the worse the smell gets, too.
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Is There a Way to Treat It?
So, is there a way to treat persistent bad breath? Yes and no. Depending on the reason your breath is bad, you’ll either be waiting until it clears up or finding a way to manage it. Taking a set course of medication, dealing with a temporary illness or having a dental issue that can be fixed all typically mean your halitosis will be gone once the problem is.
But, if it’s a chronic issue, then you’ll have to look further ahead. Better management of your diet, staying hydrated and making sure you practice routine dental hygiene will all help. If you can’t figure out why you’re still suffering from halitosis, then it’s best to speak to an expert at the Parkcrest Dental Group or your GP.
The Parkcrest Dental Group and Overall Oral Hygiene
If you’re looking for information on a range of general dentistry topics, our blog regularly updates with entries about keeping your teeth and gums healthy, as well as what happens if you don’t. On the other hand, if you’re looking for friendly, professional dental experts to help you with whatever oral issues you have, contact the Parkcrest Dental Group — your local dentist in Springfield, MO — today.