Bad Breath? Ask Yourself These 4 Questions to Learn Why
On the surface, bad breath might seem like nothing more than a small personal issue. It could embarrass you, but nothing worse. However, bad breath, or halitosis, can actually be a serious medical issue. Keep reading to find out what your bad breath might stem from and, once you and your dentist or doctor have determined the cause, how you can treat it.
1. Do You Smoke?
Smoking has a series of negative side effects, from aging skin to emphysema and even lung cancer. But one of the more minor side effects is having consistently bad breath. You can chew gum to cover the smell, but your bad breath will persist for as long as you smoke.
Smoking has other side effects on your teeth and oral health. Smoking can yellow your teeth, exacerbate oral lesions and lead to tooth rot and loss. Quitting smoking as soon as possible will pay off in positive medical benefits your whole life long, so talk to your doctor to get help quitting today.
2. Do You Have Dry Mouth?
Like bad breath, waking up with a dry mouth might seem like nothing more than a minor inconvenience. But saliva serves several purposes, from helping you break down food as soon as you start chewing it to helping remove bacteria from your teeth to reduce your risk of cavities. If you have a consistently dry mouth, you're at a greater risk of developing bad breath and cavities.
Several different issues could cause dry mouth, including smoking, drinking alcohol or experiencing consistent stress and anxiety. Some medications also list dry mouth as a side effect. If you've noticed a consistently dry mouth, speak to your dentist about it immediately. They might recommend that you talk to a doctor about switching medications or work with a therapist to manage your stress.
3. Do You Brush and Floss Your Teeth Every Day?
A build-up of bacteria and resulting tooth decay can cause more than tooth pain — they may also cause bad breath. Gingivitis, or gum disease, is also caused by bacteria and can have the same side effect.
Brushing and flossing your teeth daily along with visiting your dentist every six months can help you avoid plaque build-up, cavities and gum disease. If you haven't visited a dentist in a while and you aren't consistent about practicing good oral health, schedule a dental appointment. Your dentist can treat cavities or gingivitis in the office and make recommendations about ways to improve your dental health.
4. Could You Have an Underlying Medical Condition?
If you've eliminated all of the above options, your halitosis could stem from a more serious issue. In some cases, issues like kidney failure and certain types of cancer can have side effects like bad breath. Acid-reflux disease is much less dangerous than the above diseases, but it can damage your oesophagus, hurt your stomach and cause bad breath in the meantime.
Only a very small amount of halitosis sufferers have an undiagnosed medical condition causing the issue. Still, it's better to be safe than sorry — if your dentist is at a loss for why you have bad breath, you might want to schedule an appointment with a doctor for a check-up.
Do you think one of the above issues is causing your bad breath? Visit your dentist today to get a conclusive diagnosis and work on eliminating your bad breath today.
If you live in the Melbourne area, Carlton Dental is here for you. If you have bad breath or any other dental issues, get in touch with us today for better oral health.