Everyone has had (and shared!) “situational” bad breath. Ever eat garlic fries at a Seattle Mariners game?
But chronic bad breath, aka Halitosis in dental speak, is something else.
Unlike morning breath, or even garlic breath, chronic bad breath lingers, even after mints, mouthwash or extended brushings. It just doesn’t quite go away, and it can be a sign of something more serious.
If you suffer from on-going bad breath, you’re not alone. Right after tooth decay and gum disease, bad breath is the third most common reason patients seek dental care. Is bad breath becoming a daily nuisance for you?
Having on-going bad breath could be a symptom of various causes. Here are some possible culprits.
4 Causes of Chronic Bad Breath
- You Have Dry Mouth – Believe it or not, your spit plays a key role in maintaining the health of your teeth and your breath. Saliva is your mouth’s super-hero. When it’s flowing like it should, it rinses and flushes away many of the unwanted leftover particles from your mouth. It also helps break down the food you eat and contains disease-fighting substances that help prevent cavities and infections. Unfortunately, chronic dry mouth is a condition that severely reduces your saliva flow. This leads to dental issues like cavities and on-going bad breath. Dry Mouth is caused by medications (allergy medications, etc.), certain medical conditions (diabetes, acid reflux), alcohol, tobacco and recreational drug use, or even drinking too much caffeine. Fortunately, If you’re dealing with severe dry mouth, we can help offer some relief with various dental remedies.
- You Have a Mouth, Nose or Throat Infection – According to the Mayo Clinic, nose, sinus and throat issues that cause post nasal drip can also contribute to bad breath. Bacteria feed on the mucus your body produces, especially if you have a sinus infection, or nasal congestion from an allergy. Stuffiness, sniffles and bad breath is no way to go through life.
- You Have Gum Disease (or other Dental Issues) – If you have cavities or deeper pockets around your teeth from gum disease, this offers bad breath causing bacteria extra places to hide; areas that are often difficult to properly reach and clean when you brush between your teeth. If you suspect you might have a cavity, or you’re starting to experience tooth sensitivity, please don’t postpone scheduling a dental exam.
- You Suffer from Seasonal Allergies – Here in Seattle and throughout our beautiful PNW allergy season runs for about 8 months – from Feb to Sept! On-going bad breath can be an unwanted symptom from our long-lasting allergy season.
Treating Bad Breath is Good for Everyone
Good news. Chronic bad breath can be treated. Here are some ways to bring back some freshness in your life, and the world around you.
- Don’t Miss Your Teeth Cleanings – Stay on top of your semi-annual cleanings. It’s the best way to prevent plaque from building up on your teeth and forming tartar – that rock hard by-product of plaque that adheres to your teeth. Plaque build up not only leads to tooth decay and cavities, it’s also one of the biggest causes of bad breath. Having your teeth regularly cleaned keeps your teeth healthy and reduces bad breath.
- Brush + Floss After Every Meal – If you have dry mouth, you’ll need to crank up your at-home oral hygiene a tad. Brush your teeth like a pro after every meal and snack, and don’t forget to master the art of flossing.
- Clean Your Tongue – Give your tongue some love. It’s home to a lot of bacteria that live to promote bad breath. Scrubbing your tongue gently with a toothbrush can help keep the odors in check. If your tongue gets coated due to an abundance of bacteria from smoking or dry mouth, try using a tongue scraper – it can work wonders too.
- Boost Your Saliva – Keep your mouth moist and support your hard working saliva. How? Stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Rinse your mouth with water when you can after snacks or meals. We also offer a moisturizing spray like CariFree CTx2 spray that will help keep your mouth moist throughout the day – ask us about it on your next visit.
- Get an In-Office Fluoride Rinse – If your saliva flow is low, you may be getting more cavities than normal, or have a higher risk of getting them. Give your teeth a little extra protection from tooth decay by adding a fluoride rinse during your next visit.
- Tackle Plaque with an Anti Cavity Mouth Rinse – If built up bacteria (plaque) on your teeth is the culprit of your bad breath, we may recommend an anti-cavity mouth rinse that kills the bacteria. A mouth rinse such as our CariFree Anticavity rinse helps treat dry mouth, removes cavity causing plaque, and reduces bad breath.
- Switch to a Prescription Toothpaste – Bad breath related to chronic dry mouth could also be treated with a prescription strength anti-cavity toothpaste like ClinPro 5000, which we can prescribe and offer you right here at our office. A prescription toothpaste will reduce the dry mouth symptoms that promote bad breath, while also giving your teeth a little extra cavity protection.
Treating bad breath is good for you and the environment – like everyone around you!
If you suspect that dry mouth or some other issue is causing your bad breath, please reach out to us so that we can help diagnose it and treat it. Just call us to make an appointment at (206) 524-1000 or reach out to us online to request a consultation.