Everybody gets bad breath occasionally, but if you have chronic bad breath, it can be a real detriment to your personal and professional relationships. Treatments that cover up your bad breath always leave you uncertain about just how bad your breath smells, and they don’t get to the root of the problem. Bad breath could be a symptom that something is truly wrong with your oral health.
What Causes Bad Breath
The primary cause of bad breath is bacteria living in your mouth. Many bacteria are like us–they breathe oxygen. But other bacteria, called anaerobic bacteria, actually find oxygen toxic, so they hide from it. These bacteria breathe sulfur, and when they “exhale,” they breathe out stinky sulfur compounds that can build up in your mouth, giving you foul-smelling breath.
Why Most Treatments Don’t Cure Bad Breath
Most of the things you use to combat bad breath don’t combat the bacteria that are really responsible. At best, they temporarily conceal the smell.
Mints and breath sprays are the worst. They just put another smell on top of the bacterial smell. Your breath doesn’t really smell good, it’s just harder to separate out the different smells.
Gum isn’t as bad. Gum can actually pull bacteria off your teeth and tongue as well as providing a more pleasing smell. It also stimulates production of saliva–your body’s natural antibacterial rinse. But chewing gum often can’t get into the deep places where anaerobic bacteria live.
Mouthwash can also help combat bad breath somewhat, if it’s antibacterial. Some mouth rinses just conceal the smell, but others are designed to kill bacteria. The benefit is that these actually do reduce the number of smell-producing bacteria in your mouth. But the result may not last long. Mouthwash with alcohol can dry your mouth out, and with less saliva, bacteria that survived in deep hidden places will reproduce and colonize your mouth again, maybe making the smell even worse.
Getting Bad Breath Bacteria Where They Live
The bacteria that cause bad breath don’t hang out on the surface of your teeth. They are looking for deep, hidden places where they can thrive away from oxygen.
If you have a deep film on your tongue, it may include anaerobic bacteria, but it’s more likely to find these bacteria in more concealed places. These bacteria will live between your teeth, for starters, which is why it’s important to floss to help maintain fresh breath.
But these bacteria are really looking for places they can conceal themselves. Sometimes they may shelter in the folds and crevices of your tonsils, creating a foul-smelling ball of bacteria and debris, called a tonsil stone.
The most dangerous places these bacteria will live are below your gum line or inside your teeth. Bacteria colonize the area around your teeth, separating your teeth and gums to create more space for them to live. This can damage your gums and threaten your teeth.
Anaerobic bacteria can also colonize the inside of a tooth. The infected tooth can give these bacteria a way to enter more deeply into your body, perhaps using your sinuses to attack your brain.
We can locate the source of your bad breath and eliminate it. Gum disease treatment can eliminate the bacteria living below your gum line, and a root canal can get them out of your teeth, saving your tooth and eliminating bad breath. If we can’t save the tooth, a dental implant is a tooth replacement option that looks and functions just like your natural teeth.
And regular checkups will make sure your bad breath doesn’t come back!
If you are looking for a long-term solution to your bad breath in Orlando, please call (407) 834-6446 or email us for an appointment with Dr. Weinstock.