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Halitosis No More: Bad Breath Causes and Treatments

By drfrey on May 08, 2015


A woman covering her mouth, as if to indicate she suffers from bad breathWe’ve all been there - that crucial moment during a conversation or other intimate moment when we realized that our breath might be somewhat less than fresh. It’s not a good feeling.

For some people, bad breath is more than just an “uh-oh” moment. For sufferers of chronic halitosis, it is a constant source of self-consciousness and often depression.

Thankfully, the cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice of Dr. Scott Parr and Dr. Tara Frey, The Smile Center, offers hope to those who are held back by their bad breath. What many people do not realize is that bad breath is often a problem that is rooted in preventable causes, rather than one that simply has to be lived with and covered up by chemical sprays and rinses. With proper diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan, most people who suffer from bad breath can dramatically improve their condition and their quality of life. If you are interested in discovering how you might benefit from customized bad breath treatments at our Virginia Beach dental practice, we invite you to meet with one of our esteemed dentists at your earliest convenience.

Are you brushing and flossing properly?

Believe it or not, if you suffer from bad breath, there is a good chance that it is caused by poor oral hygiene. Don’t be offended. Many people who brush and floss every day are surprised and often irritated when we inform them that they have not been brushing and flossing properly, and that this is one of the likely causes of their bad breath. However, a proper at-home oral hygiene regimen should consist of the following:

  • Brushing and flossing after every meal, as well as after consuming foods and beverages that are high in acidic content (berries, citrus fruits, sodas, salad dressings, etc.)
  • Using a soft-bristled tooth brush with gentle force, up and down, on all surfaces of the teeth, including the back surfaces
  • Brushing the tongue thoroughly
  • Flossing between each teeth with a clean section of floss, gently guiding the floss with a zig-zag motion, up and down and under the gum line
  • Using an antimicrobial mouth rinse

Of course, this oral hygiene regimen should be augmented by routine visits to our office for professional cleanings to remove the plaque and tartar that cannot be removed at home. If you are not visiting the dentist twice a year and brushing and flossing as described above, then your bad breath may be at least partly a result of poor oral hygiene.

Other Causes of Bad Breath

Other causes of bad breath include:

  • Gum disease, particularly in its advanced form (periodontitis)
  • Root canal infections
  • Tooth decay
  • Improperly cleaned dentures
  • Smoking
  • Malnutrition
  • Certain medications and diseases
  • Dehydration and dry mouth
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Metal braces

How is bad breath treated?

The recommended treatment plan for bad breath will depend upon the identified cause or causes in your particular case. One of our dentists will conduct a thorough health history and examination of your mouth to arrive at the likely causes and then suggest the most conservative course of treatment that is likely to produce the best results.

In most cases, patients are able to achieve good results through lifestyle changes. Almost certainly, an improvement to your oral health regimen will be recommended. If you smoke, you will be asked to quit. If you do not drink enough water, you will be provided with strategies to increase your water intake.

Of course, if there is an underlying oral health issue at fault for your bad breath, we will discuss your treatment options with you and schedule your appointments accordingly.

Learn More about Bad Breath Causes and Treatments

To learn more about bad breath causes and treatments, please contact The Smile Center today.

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