Few dental concerns cause as much embarrassment as chronic bad breath. Also known as halitosis, the condition can affect your self-confidence, career, and personal relationships. If you suffer from bad breath, you may feel as if there is nothing you can do to combat the condition. Fortunately, Memphis dentist Ettienne van Zyl can determine the causes of your bad breath and find the most effective general dentistry treatment for you. There are many different factors that can lead to bad breath. Therefore, your treatment will be completely tailored to your needs.
What Are the Causes of Bad Breath?
There are a number of causes of bad breath, and some may come as a bit of a surprise. The reasons for halitosis include:
- Insufficient dental hygiene: When you do not take proper care of your teeth, bacteria can build up in your mouth, leading to chronic bad breath.
- Diet: Even if you brush and floss after meals, certain foods can affect the odor of your breath. Garlic, onions, and aromatic spices will enter your blood stream and travel to your lungs. When you breathe, the air will carry the odor of these substances.
- Smoking: Smoking is a huge factor when it comes to bad breath. This habit will not only affect the smell of your breath. It will also increase your risk for gum disease, stain your teeth, impair your taste, and raise your risk for oral cancer.
- Dental infection: An infected tooth harbors bacteria. You may also develop gum abscesses, which will affect your breath. Typically, if you have a dental infection, you also will experience discomfort and other symptoms.
- Dry mouth: Your saliva helps to wash bacteria and bits of food out of your mouth. If you develop dry mouth, it will be easier for odor-causing bacteria to accumulate in your mouth.
- Systemic health conditions: Some ear, nose, and throat conditions will cause small sores and nasal drip. Additionally, some cancers and gastroesophageal reflux disease can affect the odor of your breath.
Halitosis Treatment Options
With so many diverse causes of bad breath, there are a number of potential treatments. Dr. van Zyl will closely examine your oral and physical health to find out the underlying cause of your halitosis. Then he will recommend the most effective and conservative treatment. These options may include:
- Improved oral care: If your bad breath is the result of poor oral hygiene, your dentist may teach you more effective ways to care for your teeth. For example, brushing more frequently and brushing your tongue can help reduce bacteria. Even if you already maintain good oral hygiene, more rigorous dental care may help combat bad breath.
- Lifestyle changes: Changes in diet or quitting smoking may be the simplest and most effective ways to reduce bad breath. Often, you may combine lifestyle changes with improved dental hygiene.
- Root canal therapy: If a dental infection is the cause of your bad breath, root canal therapy may be the right option. Dr. van Zyl will clean out your tooth to remove bacteria and preserve the remaining healthy material.
- Dry mouth treatment: Changes to your medications, oral moisturizers, and learning to breathe through your nose can combat dry mouth.
- Additional medical care: If your bad breath is the result of another medical concern, we may recommend that you visit your primary care doctor for a checkup and additional treatment.
Contact Us to Put an End to Your Bad Breath
Don’t let dry mouth affect your self-confidence. Schedule an appointment with Dr. van Zyl and find out the most effective way to freshen your breath.