Whether it was following a particularly garlicky meal, morning coffee, or a few drinks after work, everyone has experienced bad breath at some point in their lives. Usually, it’s nothing to worry about. However, when bad breath becomes an ongoing issue, there’s a possibility your mouth may not be in tip-top shape. At my dental office in Chapel Hill, we’d like to offer a few solutions to remedy bad breath and provide reasons why it could be pretty serious and should not be ignored.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Bad breath is caused by high levels of bacteria in the mouth. When bacteria feed on plaque, they produce hydrogen sulfide. It’s this byproduct that gives breath its stench.
Here’s How to Keep Bad Breath at Bay
- Brush & Floss. You know brushing and flossing are what helps keep your mouth cavity-free and makes for good dental checkups. But it can also help rid your mouth of bad-breath causing bacteria. Make sure you’re brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time and scrubbing each surface of each tooth. Flossing at least once a day helps to reach those spots a toothbrush can’t.
- Clear the Tongue. The tongue shouldn’t be ignored when brushing. Due to its texture of bumps and grooves, it makes it a favorite place for bacteria to burrow in and hide. You can help remove the bacteria by gently brushing the tongue each time you brush your teeth. If the brush isn’t an option due to a sensitive gag reflex, try a tongue scraper instead.
- Drink H₂O. A hydrated mouth is a happy mouth, and a healthy one, too. Drinking plenty of water encourages saliva production. Saliva naturally rinses bacteria away and protects your mouth from bad breath. However, if a mouth becomes dehydrated and dry, it produces less saliva and increases the chance of bacteria lingering around.
Why Is Bad Breath Serious?
While staying hydrated and maintaining excellent oral hygiene can help keep bad breath away, it’s still very important to visit your dentist if it becomes an ongoing problem. Bad breath may be much more than embarrassing. It could actually be a sign of gum disease, which is serious.
If untreated,gum disease may cause increased sensitivity, receding gums, and tooth loss. But that’s not all. Gum disease can also lead to other problems throughout the body like increased risk for heart attack and stroke.
Don’t let something that seems small, like bad breath, create a serious problem for your overall health. If you notice signs of chronic bad breath, schedule an appointment at my Chapel Hill dental practice. We’re here to help diagnose what’s causing it and work with you to cure it in a judgement-free, caring office. Give us a call today.
Serving patients from Chapel Hill, Durham, and Pittsboro.