Bad Breath or Halitosis What??? By on July 06, 2010

Halitosis is the scientific name for bad breath.  This condition has affected all of us at one time or another.  Some common causes include:

What you eat affects the air you exhale. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odor temporarily.  This odor will continue on your breath until your diet changes.

If you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food remain between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums, rotting and leaving an unpleasant odor.   Imagine a party on a hot sunny day and three days later finding a hamburger you forgot to clean up lying under the bench.  What is it going to smell like?  Look like?  Well that same “burger” lies incubating under your gums and between your teeth if you don’t floss.  That image alone should be enough to make you floss if you don’t normally do it!  Helps your breath too...

Your tongue harbors sulfur producing bacteria, a common cause of “morning breath.”  Use a tongue scrapper when in you brush in the morning and especially at night before going to bed.  If you cannot locate a tongue scrapper, use your toothbrush. 

Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth (xerostomia), which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor. Dry mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems, radiation treatment or continuously breathing through your mouth.  Learn to close your mouth when breathing.

Bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If we determine that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause of bad breath.

Maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath, so be sure to schedule regular cleaning and check-up visits with us. If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take. Some medications may play a role in creating mouth odors. Bring this log with you when you see us next.

If you are still concerned about bad breath, then I invite you to make an appointment to see us. We can help identify the cause and then develop a treatment plan with you to eliminate it.  Visit our website for further information and assistance with an appointment.


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Center for Esthetic Dentistry
Nancy Summer Lerch, DDS, FAGD, AAACD

Dr. N. Summer Lerch is the first female board-accredited cosmetic dentist in all of New England and the fourth in the world. She and her team are committed to creating and maintaining beautiful smiles for our patients. Dr. Lerch is proud to be affiliated with:

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