The occasional bout of bad breath is common and unavoidable. From a morning cup of coffee to sprinkling a generous dose of garlic on a slice of pizza, we all experience a little less than fresh breath every now and then.
However, chronic bad breath can be a sign of an underlying oral or general health problem that you shouldn’t ignore.
Our dentists Dr. Elizabeth Abrams, Dr. Michael Abrams, and our team at Manhasset Dental Arts offer a range of general and cosmetic dentistry services at our office in Manhasset, New York. Let’s look at what might cause your bad breath and what you can do about it.
What your chronic bad breath is trying to tell you
The best thing you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy (and your breath smelling fresh) is to practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth after meals, and floss at least once a day (and don’t forget to gently clean your tongue).
Additionally, you should schedule a dental exam and cleaning every six months to prevent cavities and gum disease or to catch them as soon as possible.
Bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease can also lead to chronic bad breath if left untreated (halitosis), in addition to increasing your risk of tooth loss in extreme cases.
If you use dental appliances like dentures, Invisalign, or a retainer, be sure to keep them clean and that they fit properly to prevent bacteria buildup.
Digestive problems and upper respiratory infections
Digestive problems like GERD (acid reflux disease) and upper respiratory infections can also cause bad breath.
Dehydration can lead to dry mouth and less saliva. Saliva plays a key role in keeping the teeth and gums clear of bacteria. When your mouth is too dry, it can lead to bad breath.
While oral health problems like gum disease and tooth decay are common causes of bad breath, it can also be a symptom of serious health problems like liver disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.
Many people aren’t aware that our oral and general health are intricately linked, so it’s even more important to maintain good oral health if you have an underlying medical condition like heart disease.
When to see the dentist for bad breath
It’s always a good idea to check in with your dentist any time you develop new or alarming symptoms. If it’s been more than six months since your last dental exam, schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
However, you don’t have to wait until your next scheduled appointment if you notice chronic bad breath, pain, bleeding gums, or any signs of gum disease.
Our dentists will start you off with a comprehensive dental exam where we learn your medical history and help you make any lifestyle adjustments as needed, such as quitting smoking. In addition to being a leading cause of bad breath, smoking and using tobacco products increase your risk of several potentially serious oral and general health issues down the road.
For more information about the causes of and treatment options for chronic bad breath, contact Manhasset Dental Arts today to schedule an appointment.