If you’ve ever suffered from bad breath, you’ve probably bought a bottle or two of mouthwash. Mouthwash can be a tremendous tool in masking bad breath after a meal; but it’s just that, a mask. Mouthwash does not address or correct any of the root causes of bad breath.

At our office in Plymouth, MI we frequently get questions from our patients regarding the causes of bad breath. In today’s dental health blog from Plymouth Dentistry, we are going to look at some of the causes of bad breath, and provide tips for freshening it.

Bad Breath is Caused By More Than Just Garlic and Onions

Food is one of the most common causes of bad breath. But that doesn’t mean you have to completely avoid onion and garlic. In truth, anything you eat can cause you to have bad breath.

Bad breath is caused by the same mechanism that creates tooth decay. Whenever you eat, bits and pieces of food remain in your mouth. You may not even be able to see them, but they’re there. This left-over food serves as a sort of magnet for bacteria. None of this bacteria smells really pleasant.

Foods high in sugar tend to attract the most bacteria. But the sugar in your diet may also come from places you weren’t expecting. For instance, white bread is actually a source of sugar in your diet. The carbohydrates in white bread breakdown into natural sugars, all of which attract bacteria.

The best way to rid your mouth of this nasty bacteria is to brush after a meal. If that’s not feasible, rinsing your mouth several times with water can also remove much of this bacteria.

Dry Mouth May Be Causing Your Bad Breath

Your mouth naturally produces a lot of saliva. This saliva helpfully washes odor and decay causing bacteria out of your mouth. If your mouth is dry, bacteria collects in your mouth. This can ruin both your breath and your teeth.

Dry mouth can be caused by any number of things. Breathing out of your mouth while exercising can evaporate the saliva in your mouth. A cold or nasal congestion can cause the same effect.

Other common causes include cigarettes and certain medications. A dry mouth could even indicate a problem with your salivary gland.

But correcting dry mouth is easy. First, drink more water! Water helps remove bacteria from your mouth by keeping it hydrated. If you’re drinking tap water you’ll also have the additional benefit of strengthening your enamel, as most tap water is enriched with fluoride.

You may also want to consider chewing sugar-free gum on occasion. Sugar-free gum not only helps to cover bad breath, it also stimulates your mouth’s production of saliva.

Bad Breath Can Be a Sign of Other Problems

If you’ve been suffering from bad breath, it’s imperative that you’re making a dental appointment at least once every six months. Bad breath may be a sign from your mouth that’s there’s something wrong. It may indicate tooth decay or an oral disease.

A build-up of tartar or plaque on your teeth can only produce bad breath, then can also cause cavities and other problems with your teeth. Routine brushing and flossing cannot reach or remove all the tartar and plaque in your mouth. This is why routine teeth cleanings are so important to well-being.

Beyond problems with tooth decay, bad breath can also suggest the presence of an oral disease in your mouth. Oral diseases, such as gum disease or oral cancer, are extremely dangerous because they may go completely unnoticed by a patient. Regular dental appointments are vital to screen for these diseases.

We encourage you to take this opportunity to schedule an appointment at Plymouth Dentistry in Plymouth, MI. You can schedule an appointment online by clicking here.