Bad Breath: Keep Your Mouth Clean, Healthy and Offensive-Free with Proper Oral Care

(By Dental Specialist in La Jolla, Dentist Joe D'Angelo) BRUSHING YOUR TEETH 2X A DAY IS YOUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST BAD BREATH.
(By Dental Specialist in La Jolla, Dentist Joe D'Angelo) BRUSHING YOUR TEETH 2X A DAY IS YOUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST BAD BREATH.

By Dr. Joe D’Angelo and Dr. Ashley Olson

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(By Dental Specialist in La Jolla, Dentist Joe D'Angelo) BRUSHING YOUR TEETH 2X A DAY IS YOUR FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST BAD BREATH.

Envision yourself at a dinner party or a business lunch, distracted by someone’s bad breath.  How did it affect your experience?  What did you remember from that interaction?  Did you offer them a mint?  Did you tell them they had bad breath? ...Of course not!

Have you ever asked yourself, “Is my breath fresh?”

Bad breath is embarrassing.  In addition, it can be an indication of deteriorating oral health. When it comes to controlling bad breath, also known as halitosis, prevention through proper oral care is your first line of defense.  There are other causes of bad breath that extend beyond oral hygiene, including diet, medications, and other health issues.

HOW IS BAD BREATH CAUSED?

BACTERIA:

A common cause of bad breath is an accumulation of bacteria in the mouth.  These microorganisms colonize on the tongue, teeth, and gums, and produce foul smelling volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that can cause offensive orders. It is important to brush and floss regularly to limit this buildup.

PERIODONTAL DISEASE:

The presence of pockets, a hallmark of periodontal disease, provides isolated, hard to reach, protected areas for anaerobic bacterial growth.  These areas can be very difficult to adequately clean at home.  Identification of these areas and proper treatment by a dentist or dental hygienist is recommended on a regular basis.

VERY LOW CARB DIET:

Eating a high protein, very low-carb diet can cause our bodies to burn fat instead of glucose for energy.  This puts our bodies into a state called ketosis.  When by-products of burning fat called keytones are released, some are expelled in our breath, causing it to smell.  While this diet may be great for your waistline, it isn’t always the best for your social life.

DRY MOUTH:

In our

previous column

, dry mouth and the importance of proper oral care was discussed. Dry mouth, which can be caused by a variety of factors, can often lead to bad breath due to decreased salivary flow.  Saliva cleanses our mouths and helps manage pH and bacteria levels in our oral cavity.

MEDICATION:

Prescription medications can dry out the mouth, which can cause bad breath. Among the more likely types to cause problems are some of the drugs used to treat depression and anxiety, antihistamines, decongestants, high blood pressure medications, and muscle relaxants.

DENTURES AND BRIDGES:

Dentures, like natural teeth, need proper care and maintenance.  Both bridges and dentures can trap food particles & debris, causing bacteria to grow quickly on the surface. Bridges can be especially difficult to maintain.  Keeping them clean is essential to avoid offensive odors.

BRACES

:  Similar to dentures and bridges, braces have plenty of crevices for food debris to hide.  Flossing around braces can be time consuming, but it is crucial to get in the habit to help prevent bacterial growth, cavities, and gingivitis.

SMOKING:

Besides the obvious concern of smelling like an ashtray, smokers are at an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay.  Smoking interferes with proper function of gum tissue cells, leaving smokers more susceptible to periodontal disease and infections.  Cigarettes also leave chemicals like tar and nicotine in the mouth.  These contribute to bacterial growth and dry mouth, which in-turn cause bad breath.

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