There is bad breath, which can result from certain strong-smelling foods as garlic or from fasting, and then there is chronic halitosis, which is persistent and indicative of an underlying medical condition. While occasional bad breath may make you reach for mouthwash, mint-flavored toothpaste, or chewing gum, all of these are short-term solutions that only mask the odor, not treat it.
Chronic halitosis requires first a proper diagnosis of its underlying cause and then thorough treatment. Contact us to make an appointment with Dr. Josie Dovidio if you have bad breath that continues even if you’ve changed your diet or oral hygiene routine.
Causes of Chronic Halitosis
Halitosis – bad breath – is mostly caused by food particles that cling to your teeth, tongue, and gums, where they collect bacteria cells that, as they die, release an unpleasant-smelling sulfur compound. Foods like garlic and red wine, once absorbed into the bloodstream through digestion, are transferred to the lungs, where that same compound is exhaled. The back of the tongue can also collect bits of food and plaque, hiding easily in the cracks of the tongue’s rough surface. And if you wear dentures, failing to clean and soak them daily allows bacteria to accumulate between the teeth and under the plate. Poor oral hygiene can lead to bad breath simply because the bacteria left by food decays if not washed away with daily brushing and flossing.
The other causes of chronic halitosis are diseases and infections, medications, and tobacco usage. Gum disease is the most common culprit, as constant bad breath is a telling symptom. But diabetes, liver or kidney failure, pulmonary disease, tooth decay, oral infections, respiratory infections, xerostomia (“dry mouth”), and smoking or chewing tobacco can affect the odor of your breath, as can such medications as antihistamines, anti-Parkinson drugs, anti-depressants, narcotics, and anti-hypertensives.
If you have chronic halitosis and would like to discuss treatment options with Dr. Dovidio, call our office and we’ll schedule an appointment. Chronic halitosis has straightforward solutions, whether the cause is rooted in a lack of proper oral hygiene, illness, or a reaction to medication. An examination by Dr. Dovidio will help to identify the cause and propose a solution.
Treatments for Halitosis
The most uncomplicated treatment for chronic halitosis is improving your oral health by brushing daily, flossing twice a day, and seeing Dr. Dovidio for regular check-ups and cleanings. You can discuss ways to make your efforts more effective with Dr. Dovidio if you’d like to upgrade your oral healthcare regimen. Bringing in a list of the foods you eat and medications that you take can help to identify, and later eliminate, probable causes of your bad breath.
Some dental causes for chronic halitosis are tooth decay, a root canal infection, moderate to severe gum disease, and dry mouth or xerostomia. An examination will reveal if you have any of these conditions, and Dr. Dovidio will discuss which treatment plan would be appropriate for you.
If gum disease or tooth decay is not the reason for your bad breath, Dr. Dovidio may refer you to your family physician to determine what is causing the halitosis and how to treat it. If the suspected cause is a serious illness, you may need diagnostic tests. Follow your physician’s advice, and follow up with Dr. Dovidio on your progress.
If you smoke or use tobacco products, ask Dr. Dovidio how you can stop. Smoking not only stains the teeth and promotes bad breath, it can also lead to gum disease, decay, and tooth loss.
While proper dental care will bring favorable results if the problem lies in poor oral hygiene, gum disease, tooth decay, and root canal infections will require visits to restore or remove the teeth and medicine to treat the infection. In the case of root canal infections, antibiotics may be prescribed. Periodontic mouthwashes are also effective in eliminating gum disease and may be included as part of your treatment by Dr. Dovidio. Drinking plenty of water will help as well; you can swish a mouthful around to help loosen food bits caught in your teeth, and it also keeps your mouth moist.
If you have occasional bad breath or chronic halitosis, please call our office so we can determine the source and prepare a course of treatment that will eradicate it. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Dovidio and see how we can best help you to overcome halitosis. We hope to see you soon.