Uh, You Could Use a Mint

Bat Breath, Newton, MAHalitosis.

If you’ve ever seen a Listerine commercial you know that word. It’s the fancy term for bad breath. Everyone is afraid they have bad breath and don’t know it. You head to a meeting or other social situation and wonder how your breath is. That’s why the grocery and drugs stores have shelves overflowing with bad breath remedies. Of course, many of them only mask the problem temporarily. That may work fine when your bad breath is of the “Doritos Nacho Cheese” variety.

But when your bad breath is more regular, there can be other causes to blame, such as lax home hygiene. Here’s some information on the possible causes from the team at Cosmetic Dentistry Center.

What’s behind bad breath?

There can be many reasons a person’s breath is, uh, less than the minty fresh.

Food— When food is being broken down, this can increase bacteria in your mouth and this can create bad breath. Eating certain foods, such as onions or garlic, can also cause bad breath. Once you eat those types of foods, they are digested and can enter your bloodstream, where they are carried to your lungs, and, you guessed it, your breath.

Tobacco products— Smoking itself causes stale breath. But it also increases the risk of gum disease, which is another source of foul breath.

Poor home hygiene— If you’re a lazy brusher and flosser, odds are you have bad breath. Food particles remain in your mouth, creating odors. Plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth throughout the day, needs to be removed by brushing and flossing daily. If you don’t, the bacteria starts to irritate the gums and eventually causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that are like little hot tubs for bacteria to party…and create bad breath.

Dry mouth— Saliva is important in your mouth, helping to cleanse it and remove food particles. If you have dry mouth, your decreased saliva production can lead to bad breath.

Infections in the mouth— If you’ve had wisdom teeth removed or other surgical wounds in the mouth, these can cause bad breath. But as long as they don’t become infected, this is only temporary.

Other mouth, nose, and throat conditions— Your tonsils can become inflamed and covered with bacteria. That will make for some bad breath. Chronic sinus infections and the like will do the same.

Other causes— Taking some medications can contribute to dry mouth, which contributes to bad breath. Certain metabolic disorders and cancers will cause breath odor, as does acid reflux disease.

Now you know why your breath may be a little more than stale. The first key to good breath is good home hygiene: brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing. Beyond that, keeping your twice-yearly appointments with the team at Cosmetic Dentistry Center for your cleanings and exams is important. Is it time for your next appointment? Contact us at (617) 965-7673 to make an appointment.

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