Bad breath is a common affliction with many people. When it advances or doesn't go away, it becomes known as chronic halitosis.
Bad breath is caused by decaying particles of food and bacteria that pass into your bloodstream and to the lungs, where odor is emitted from breathing.
While people spend lots of money on products that treat the symptoms of bad breath, they often neglect to take steps to address the root causes of bad breath-such as bacteria, and decaying food particles remaining in spaces between the teeth, on the gums and on the tongue. In many cases, good daily oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing and rinsing, can keep bad breath in check. This also applies to denture-wearers.
Other conditions, such as gum disease, can cause persistent bad breath. Under normal conditions, your saliva acts to cleanse your mouth of the particles that can decay and later cause bad breath. People with a condition known as dry mouth, in which saliva production is diminished, can sometimes suffer from bad breath. Of course, if you eat certain kinds of food (like garlic and onions), take certain kinds of medications, or smoke cigarettes or cigars, you may also experience symptoms of bad breath.
In some cases, persistent bad breath may be a sign that you have a more serious health problem, including a gastrointestinal, respiratory or sinus problem.
In most cases, over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses will temporarily freshen breath, but only mask the root cause. The American Dental Association acknowledges the effectiveness of some anti-microbial mouth rinses that are shown to reduce plaque and gingivitis. Good oral health habits can contribute to reducing and eliminating halitosis: brushing and flossing daily as well as regular professional cleanings performed by our office.