Halitosis, Bad breathHalitosis affects more than 80 million people in the US.  In most cases people are unaware they have a problem.

What causes bad breath?

Typically bad breath originates around your teeth and on your tongue.   It is caused by bacteria in the mouth, decaying food particles and bad oral hygiene.  The bacteria and decaying debris produce an unpleasant odor (think sulfur smell).  Dry mouth (xerostomia), stress, smoking, snoring, sinus problems and other medical conditions can all worsen the problem.  Saliva helps by washing away odor-causing bacteria and food particles.  When you sleep, saliva glands slow down causing the dreaded “morning breath”.

How can I control bad breath?

tongue cleanerGood oral hygiene and cleaning visits with the hygienist are No. 1.  More advanced periodontal conditions often require root planing with anesthesia.  I find regularly cleaning your tongue with a specialized tongue scraper is extremely helpful.  It is necessary to clean between teeth with floss or specially designed brushes, such as “Soft Pics”.  In addition, drink plenty of H2O and try chewing sugar-free gum that contains Xylitol.  This will help inhibit bacteria and stimulate saliva production.  Yes, watching your diet can help.  Avoid spicy foods, garlic, onions and coffee.  These foods and drink linger for up to 12 hours.