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Bad Breath: Causes and Treatment

This is one of the most frequent complaints voiced by dental patients.

What causes it?
Generally fermenting food debris and saliva causes bad breath. However, it may also be caused by conditions such as:

  • habits like smoking or drinking
  • foods like garlic or onions
  • nose disorders
  • sinus infections
  • respiratory tract infections
  • cirrhosis
  • ulcers

First of all, see your dentist. Your dentist can assess the problem and let you know if it is related to some condition in your mouth such as gum disease, a tongue coating, leaky crowns, worn fillings or old dentures.

3 Types of Bad Breath:

1. Habit (smoking,drinking) and Food (garlic) Related
You are what you eat. So if you continue to smoke or eat garlic foods, your breath will smell. Brushing your teeth, using a mouthwash and breath mints, can treat this cosmetic problem.

2. Mouth condition
If you have one of the mouth problems mentioned above your bad breath is caused by bacterial plaque that produces large amounts of sulfur compounds (CH3SH).

3. Medical Condition
If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you should be referred to a physician for investigation into a medically related cause.

If your dentist determines that your bad breath is caused by a mouth condition, you should get that condition treated. This may involve oral hygiene instruction (do you know how to clean a tongue coating?), a professional dental cleaning, some new fillings, or prescription oral rinses.

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