It's Only Bad Breath. Or is it?
Breath odor is the scent of the air you breathe out of your mouth. Unpleasant, distinctive, or offensive breath odor is commonly called bad breath.
Alternative Names: Halitosis
-In some cases bad breath may be a symptom of an illness
-Consumption of certain food or beverages (such as cabbage, garlic, raw onions, or coffee)
-Foreign body in the nose (usually in children)
-Poor dental hygiene
-Bowel obstruction (can cause breath to smell like feces)
-Chronic renal failure (can cause breath to smell like ammonia)
-Diabetes (fruity or sweet chemical smell with ketoacidosis)
Use proper dental hygiene (especially flossing), and remember that mouthwashes are not effective in treating the underlying problem.
Fresh parsley or a strong mint are often effective ways to fight temporary bad breath. Avoid smoking. Otherwise, follow prescribed therapy to treat the underlying cause.
When to Contact a Dental Professional
-Breath odor persists and there is not an obvious cause (such as smoking or eating odor-causing foods).
-You have breath odor and signs of a respiratory infection, such as fever, cough, or face pain with discharge from the nose
Some things your dentist or hygienist might ask you:
Do you take vitamin supplements?
Do you smoke?
Does good oral hygiene improve the odor?
What home care measures have you tried? How effective are they?
Is there a recent sore throat, sinus infection, tooth abscess, or other illness?
What other symptoms do you have?
The physical examination will include a thorough examination of the mouth and the nose.
You may be in need of a thorough dental examination and cleaning.
Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.
Brushing is the most effective method for removing harmful plaque from your teeth and gums. Getting the debris off your teeth and gums in a timely manner prevents bacteria in the food you eat from turning into harmful, cavity causing acids.
Most dentists agree that brushing three times a day is the minimum; if you use a fluoride toothpaste in the morning and before bed at night, you can get away without using toothpaste during the middle of the day. A simple brushing with plain water or rinsing your mouth with water for 30 seconds after lunch will generally do the job.
Since everyone's teeth are different, see me first before choosing a brushing technique. Here are some popular techniques that work:
- Use a circular motion to brush only two or three teeth at a time, gradually covering the entire mouth.
- Place your toothbrush next to your teeth at a 45-degree angle and gently brush in a circular motion, not up and down. This kind of motion wears down your tooth structure and can lead to receding gums, or expose the root of your tooth. You should brush all surfaces of your teeth - front, back, top, and between other teeth, rocking the brush back and forth gently to remove any plaque growing under the gum.
- Don't forget the other surfaces of your mouth that are covered in bacteria - including the gums, the roof and floor of your mouth, and most importantly, your tongue. Brushing your tongue not only removes trapped bacteria and other disease-causing germs, but it also freshens your breath.
- Remember to replace your brush when the bristles begin to spread because a worn toothbrush will not properly clean your teeth.
- Effective brushing usually takes about three minutes. Believe it or not, studies have shown that most people rush during tooth brushing.