With the starting of a New Year, there is usually hope, renewed commitments, resolutions, diets, fasts and Bad Breath. Yes, that dirty word “Bad Breath”!
What is Bad Breath?
Bad Breath (Halitosis) usually starts from the gums and the tongue. Bad Breath is produced by sulfur compounds of food or food particle. Bad Breath can also be caused by Fasting or Dieting. Both fasting and dieting cause a decrease in salivary gland production of saliva. Saliva is one of the human body’s natural cleansing mechanisms, and the key source in your mouth to control unwanted odors. A decrease in saliva allows bacteria to grow inside the mouth and bad breath to develop. For example, when you sleep, saliva flow decreases, therefore allowing bacteria to grow in your mouth. This causes a condition called “Morning Mouth” or “Dieting Mouth”. Another cause of bad breath is created with poor oral hygiene.
Bad Breath is NOT just a mouth problem. Bad Breath can also be caused by medical infection, diabetes, kidney or liver failure. Even stress, snoring, age, hormonal changes, and post nasal drip can have an effect on your breath. Another big culprit of bad breath is Xerostomia (Dry Mouth). Dry Mouth has several causes, including various medications, tobacco, radiation and chemotherapy.
It is important to practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice/day under normal conditions. However, with dieting or fasting, brushing and flossing should increase to 3-4/day. Proper brushing, including brushing the tongue, cheeks and the roof of the mouth. This will remove bacteria and food particles. Flossing removes accumulated bacteria, plaque and food that may be trapped between teeth. To alleviate odors, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or tongue scraper, ( a small plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that build on the tongue). If you wear dentures, clean the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth.
I know, I know, you have heard it 1000 times, but visit your dentist regularly because dental checkups will help detect and problems early. If you think you suffer from bad breath, your dentist can determines its source and provide proper treatment.
If you have any dental health related questions, don’t forget to “Ask Dr. Pierson“. You question may be the next blog.