It is estimated that 25-50% of the population regularly suffers from bad breath (halitosis). Those who have it may not even be aware of it due to issues with their sense of smell, or by a developed tolerance to the odor. Yet, bad breath can have a negative impact on the social lives of those who experience it, causing them embarrassment, frustration, and often despair. However, the beginning step to solving a problem is having an awareness of it.
One of the simplest ways to determine if you have bad breath is to lick your wrist. After letting it dry for a moment, smell the area. Alternatively, smelling your dental floss or tongue scraper after use may give you a good indication. Some people who suffer from a condition called halitophobia persist in the belief that they have bad breath, despite the fact that they don’t have unpleasant mouth odor, so asking a close friend or family member may be a good test.
Although there are numerous factors that can contribute to the cause of bad breath, the most common reason is poor dental hygiene. When bacteria breaks down food particles, sulfur compounds occur, which can cause unpleasant odors. Of course, some foods including garlic and onions can especially affect the breath.
The use of tobacco products, alcohol or coffee, certain medications, low-carbohydrate diets, and some diseases or medical conditions can also be to blame. Moreover, the reduction of saliva which helps cleanse the mouth can occur due to disease, hormonal changes, some medications or vitamin supplements, or simply aging.
Typically, the best prevention for bad breath consists of regular brushing, flossing and tongue cleaning to remove food particles and bacteria, in addition to regular visits to a dentist. Avoiding cavities and gum disease in combination with lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking can often take care of the problem. Yet, if bad breath continues, a dentist may need to explore further conditions or treatments.
If you or someone you care about suffers from bad breath and would like to find out more testing, causes, treatments, and how Dr. Heidi Finkelstein at My Plantation Dentist can help you have a healthy smile and fresh smelling breath, contact us today to schedule your appointment for an examination, at 954-584-1030.