The Science Behind Bad Breath and How to Combat It

Bad Breath

Bad breath can be very unpleasant—both for you and anyone you come into contact with—but in almost every case, it can be remedied. There are many causes of bad breath, or halitosis, most of which have to do with improper dental health. Attacking bad breath, though, is not merely about comfort: halitosis can be a sign of tooth disease or other more serious dental afflictions.

What is Bad Breath?

Bad breath, or halitosis, is a condition usually caused by sulfur-producing bacteria. These bacteria live in the throat and on the tongue. On occasion, these bacteria will break down proteins in your mouth at a very fast rate. This causes volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) to be released from the throat or tongue, and these foul-smelling compounds then cause halitosis.

There are several major external causes of halitosis, some of which lead to the breakdown of proteins in your mouth and some of which cause halitosis for other reasons. The number one factor in halitosis is poor dental health. If you don’t brush or floss regularly, then bits of food will remain in your mouth. This leads to the development of bacteria which can cause halitosis. In addition, the food itself can rot in your mouth, causing bad breath. Additionally, poor dental health can lead to gum and tooth disease, such as periodontitis, a condition noted for causing bad breath.

Other causes of halitosis include use of tobacco, non-dental health conditions such as diabetes or bronchitis, or the consumption of certain foods.

How to Combat Bad Breath

Luckily, halitosis is usually controlled quite easily. In most cases, simply adopting good oral hygiene will do the trick. If your breath is especially bad, your dentist may recommend special toothpastes or mouth wash to help combat the bacteria in your mouth. If you have developed gum or tooth disease, then this condition will have to be treated separately. Once treated, your bad breath should go away. This goes for other health conditions that may be causes of halitosis as well. Regular visits to your dentist both for cleaning and for monitoring are essential for maintaining fresh-smelling breath.

Contact Temple Family Dentistry

If you have any questions about halitosis or anything else related to your dental health, do not hesitate to contact Temple Family Dentistry. Give us a call at (610) 929-4252 or fill out the form below to get started today.