Halitosis Could Be A Symptom of A Bigger Medical Issue
Some people don’t know what halitosis is, but the truth is they probably know someone who has it. In fact, according to the American Dental Association, about 50% of American adults have had bad breath at some point in their life. There are literally thousands of reasons that you may develop halitosis, also known as bad breath. Most of these potential causes are relatively harmless, however, in some instances, bad breath can be a sign of a more significant health issue.
What Causes Halitosis?
There are countless reasons you could have foul breath, including hundreds of types of naturally occurring bacteria that happen to cause bad breath. Keep in mind that your mouth is the perfect environment for these bacteria to thrive. These bacteria live off of the pieces food you eat that get stuck between your teeth or gums. Consequently, they leave a foul-smelling waste behind. These bacteria aren’t the only causes for halitosis! Dry mouth is another common cause, as well as gum disease, certain foods, and even smoking. In a reality, most of these factors are preventable.
Medical Conditions Can Cause Bad Breath Too
When it comes to halitosis, some of the potential causes are relatively unavoidable. For instance, there are a variety of medical conditions that can lead to bad breath. One of the more obvious would be mouth infections. However, if a patient practices excellent oral hygiene (which does happen) and still has halitosis to the dentist it could be a sign of another medical issue. Medical conditions that can lead to halitosis include certain sinus conditions, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. How is this possible? Our mouths are the gateways to our body, in which all of our body systems are connected. Therefore, when a patient becomes sick, signs and symptoms can actually appear in different parts of the body as well. This connection is referred to as the Oral Systemic Link.
How can You Prevent Foul Breath?
In most cases, improving your oral is the best place to start. Many patients put in the recommended two minutes of brushing twice per day, but skip out on the daily recommendation of flossing. The truth is that flossing plays a vital role in keeping your teeth clean, despite what you may have heard previously in the media. In fact, without flossing you miss cleaning 35% of each tooth’s surface. Brushing your tongue is also important and occasionally gets forgotten. Mouthwash is another beneficial solution for bad breath, however, it is not a replacement for brushing or flossing. It should be in addition to! Staying hydrated is another way to prevent dry mouth and ultimately bad breath. However, dry mouth is one of the instances where avoiding halitosis may be tricky. Some patients who experience dry mouth do so due to medications they are taking, salivary gland issues, or even just breathing through their mouth.
While many people will experience halitosis in their lifetime, they don’t have to forever. They can always look for solutions to fix the problem, such as practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding odor causing foods, and choosing not to use tobacco products. If you or a loved one suffers from halitosis don’t hesitate to reach out. You are not alone and we’re here to help you improve both your oral and overall health. We take the “Family” part of Wurzbach Parkway Family Dental very seriously, as we consider all of our patients part of our own. If you are interested in learning more feel free to contact us or schedule an appointment to meet with one of our dentists.