How Bad Breath May Mean Oral Health Problems

Posted on: 28 August 2019

Everyone experiences bad breath, also known as halitosis, after eating something pungent like garlic or onions. However, your dental health can also contribute to this problem. While some people's bad breath problem is worse than others, everyone can do something to reduce their chances of having a chronic problem. Here are some reasons why you might be struggling with bad breath and things you can do to improve your oral health.

What Causes Bad Breath?

When bad breath sticks around well after you've consumed certain foods, then you definitely have a problem and need to take action. Here are some common dental and non-dental reasons why your bad breath doesn't seem to go away.

Dental Reasons

Bad breath is often directly related to a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Your mouth has both good and bad bacteria and everyone has a different level and balance of each. However, if you have bad breath, it usually means that your bacteria levels are much higher than what is ideal. Some common causes for excess dental bacteria include:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene
  • Dry Mouth/Low Saliva
  • Oral Cancer
  • Gum Infections
  • Severe Cavities

Non-Dental Reasons

Certain medical conditions can not only cause bad breath but also contribute to dental problems. In conjunction with seeing your dentist, you may want to see your primary care physician to look for the following problems:

  • Digestive System Problems
  • Throat or Sinus Problems
  • Lung Problems

What Can be Done About Bad Breath?

If other medical problems have been ruled out, and your bad breath is assessed to be related to your oral health, then your best bet is to up your oral hygiene. Even if you think your hygiene is pretty good, you may want to increase oral care frequencies or try rinses and mouthwashes if you have chronically bad breath.

If you have dry mouth, then try to find ways to moisten your mouth or ask your dentist about chews or gums that could increase your saliva. Try brushing your tongue or using a scraper to scrape off excess bacteria. Scraping the tongue also helps with gum problems and tooth decay.

Chronic bad breath may be a sign of a potentially serious dental problem that you shouldn't ignore. If your primary care doctor says that you're in good health, then your bad breath could be related to your oral health. Your family dentist can help determine the potential cause of your problem and help devise techniques customized to your individual needs.