Halitosis, or bad breath, can be more than just an embarrassing personal problem; in some cases, it can be a sign of dental problems that require attention. If you have halitosis, it's important to discuss the issue candidly with your dentist. Here are a few topics to discuss at your next dental exam. With the right treatment and a complete history of your health, your dentist can help you come up with a plan to beat bad breath.
Not brushing and flossing properly can lead to bad breath. Bacteria can build up on the surface of the tongue, your teeth, and the rest of the mouth. Discuss your brushing habits and techniques with your dentist to see if there are any ways you can improve your oral healthcare routine. In some cases, prescription-strength mouthwash and more frequent, thorough brushing can help eliminate bad breath.
Gum disease can also be a cause of bad breath, and it can lead to other problems, including tooth loss. If you have bad breath and notice that your gums are prone to bleeding and sensitivity, arrange for a checkup with your dentist. He or she can provide treatments to help manage the gum disease, which can help prevent bad breath. Deep cleanings, prescription mouthwash, and improved oral hygiene habits can all help treat gum disease and the accompanying bad breath.
In some cases, severe dry mouth can lead to bad breath. While some medical conditions that cause dry mouth should be treated by a physician, there are some things your dentist can do to help. He or she can prescribe medications to help produce saliva, and your dentist can also partner with your primary care physician to determine the cause of your dry mouth. Some prescription medications may be the problem, and your doctor and dentist may be able to find an alternative medication combination to help. People who have difficulty breathing through their noses may also experience bad breath due to dry mouth. If this is a problem for you, discuss your available treatment options with your dentist.
Of course, there are some personal habits that can lead to bad breath, including smoking and eating certain foods. Your dentist will likely recommend that you stop smoking entirely, but he or she can also provide you with different nutritional plans that can help you avoid foods that contribute to bad breath. Consider keeping a log of all the foods and drinks you consume every day so you can go over it with your dentist.
Bad breath doesn't have to be a permanent problem. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today to determine the cause of your halitosis so you can come up with a treatment plan together.