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5 Common Causes of Bad Breath and What to Do About It

As many as half of Americans suffer from chronic bad breath (or halitosis), which is an embarrassing problem that can take a toll on your confidence. While temporary bad breath is often caused by the foods we eat, chronic halitosis usually has other causes. 

At Novi Family Dentistry in Novi, Michigan, Abir Faraj, DDS, and her team can identify the cause of your chronic bad breath, so you can banish it once and for all. If you have persistent bad breath, here are five possible causes you should know about.

1. Poor oral hygiene habits

Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day can help keep your teeth and gums healthy — and keep your breath fresh, too. Brushing and flossing can help remove food particles that feed harmful bacteria. As these bacteria multiply, they can emit a foul odor that’s emitted every time you speak or exhale.

Food particles themselves can also cause odors. To make sure you’re brushing and flossing with the right techniques, the American Dental Association offers tips for brushing and tips for flossing.

2. Tobacco use

Foods and drinks, such as garlic and coffee, aren’t the only substances that can give you bad breath. Tobacco can leave a smelly residue behind, too. Plus, tobacco can cause oral health problems, including gum disease and dry mouth, which can increase your chances of having halitosis.

3. Oral health problems

Gum disease is a leading cause of adult tooth loss, and it can cause bad breath, too. Gum disease happens when bacteria move down the surfaces of your teeth, invading your gums and causing infection. As the bacteria colonize the area below the gums, the infection creates toxic substances, which, in turn, cause odors. Cavities also involve odor-causing bacteria, and so do other oral health issues, such as abscesses and dry mouth.

4. Other health problems

Lots of diseases and medical conditions can cause bad breath, including postnasal drip, tonsil infections, chronic heartburn, stomach ulcers, respiratory infections, diabetes, and liver disease. Metabolic diseases and some types of cancer can also lead to bad breath.

If you have chronic halitosis with no identifiable underlying cause, Dr. Faraj may recommend you visit your doctor to talk about disease testing.

5. Medications

Unfortunately, medicines, which are meant to keep you healthy, can sometimes lead to bad breath. Some medicines, such as diuretics and allergy medicines, can reduce your production of saliva. Saliva helps wash away tiny food fragments, and it also balances your mouth’s pH level. When you don’t have enough saliva, you’re at greater risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and — yep — bad breath.

If you take a medicine that causes dry mouth, do not stop taking it. Let Dr. Faraj know, and she can prescribe a special rinse or other products to supplement your natural saliva. And, at your next doctor’s appointment, let your doctor know about your dry mouth symptoms so they can decide if you need to have a different medication or a change in your dose.

If you have chronic bad breath, don’t try to mask it with mouthwashes. Instead, treat the source. To learn how we can help, call 313-646-7903 or book an appointment online with Novi Family Dentistry today.

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