Bad Breath: What Are the Most Common Causes and Treatments?

Oct 22, 2014 @ 07:35 AM — by Lauren Shanard

A woman with short brown hair against a white background covers her mouth with both handsHalitosis, also known as chronic bad breath, can be embarrassing and frustrating. But many people don’t realize that it is also often a symptom of a deeper underlying dental problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Cosmetic dentist Lauren J. Shanard has treated many patients who suffer from bad breath. At Contemporary Dental Arts, PC, in Williston, Dr. Shanard can perform an exam and determine the causes of your bad breath, as well as your treatment options. In many cases, a thorough dental cleaning and restorative dentistry treatments to improve the health of the teeth and gums can stop bad breath.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Bad Breath?

There are a few potential causes of halitosis. Some of the more common causes of bad breath include:

  • A Diet of Odorous Foods - Certain foods can be major culprits of bad breath. Foods with powerful flavors, like onions and garlic, have a reputation for causing bad breath.
  • Leftover Food - While certain foods cause bad breath, any food can cause halitosis under the right circumstances. Sometimes small particles of food end up stubbornly stuck between teeth, where they can start to decay and breed bacteria, leading to unpleasant bad breath.
  • Tooth Decay - If that leftover food is left to sit, or if you simply suffer from poor overall dental hygiene, the plaque and tartar buildup can lead to cavities. This can in turn cause a distinctive odor of decay.
  • Chronic Dry Mouth - A steady supply of saliva is responsible for carrying bacteria and food particles away from your mouth and teeth on a regular basis. Patients with chronic dry mouth cannot rely on that function, and are therefore susceptible to a buildup of bad breath-causing bacteria.
  • Throat or Sinus Infection - Bad breath does not always originate in the mouth. In some cases it can be a telltale sign of an illness or bacterial infection ramping up in nearby areas like the throat or the sinuses.

These causes are just the tip of the iceberg. Bad breath can also result from a number of other issues, including certain medications or a tooth abscess. Your dentist will be able to give you a thorough assessment to determine the specific causes of your bad breath.

What Are the Most Common Treatment Options for Bad Breath?

Treatment for bad breath depends on what is causing the condition. If the underlying cause of your case of halitosis is simply poor dental hygiene, you may be able to fix the problem simply by improving your brushing and flossing habits. If your hygiene has led to tooth decay, the appropriate removal of decay and placement of fillings or dental crowns can solve your breath issues. Meanwhile, a good prescription mouthwash may help those with chronic dry mouth, while antibiotics can help patients with bad breath caused by a sinus infection. By identifying the primary cause of your bad breath, your dentist can determine the best course of treatment.

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Don’t settle for living with bad breath - do something about it. At Contemporary Dental Arts, PC, our capable staff is ready to help. For more information on bad breath causes and treatments, contact Contemporary Dental Arts today

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