Dealing With Bad Breath and Oral Health

Almost everyone has bad breath, also known as halitosis, occasionally. There are three basic reasons for bad breath.

  • The first is simple: an unclean mouth. If you don't routinely clean your teeth, gums, and tongue, plaque, a soft, sticky, almost invisible film made up of harmful bacteria, will build up and eventually cause bad breath. If you wear braces or dentures, you should be especially conscientious about brushing and rinsing after eating.
  • Medical problems can cause fresh breath to go sour. For example, bad breath can be caused by a stomach disorder, a sinus infection with excess postnasal drip, or the way your body chemistry interacts with medications.
  • Daily habits also play a role. For example, smoking or chewing tobacco can affect your breath.

Most plaque can be removed with routine oral hygiene care. To control plaque, add routine prophylaxes (cleanings) by a registered dental hygienist. The dental hygienist will remove calculus from above and below your gum line, take a medical and dental history, and examine the condition of your mouth, teeth and gums. The dental hygienist will also counsel you about plaque control and develop an at-home oral hygiene program designed especially for you.

If you are already practicing routine oral hygiene care at home and bad breath persists, ask your dental hygienist for additional advice.