What To Do When You Have Chronic Bad Breath

Mints, mouthwash, gum… if you have chronic bad breath, you have probably tried it all. But chronic bad breath, also called Halitosis, is something that mints, or even a good brushing, just can’t solve. Chronic bad breath is different from standard “morning breath” or the bad breath you might get after eating garlic or a tunafish sandwich. The condition known as halitosis remains for an extended amount of time and may be a sign of something more serious. At Affinity Dental, we want our patients to have all the relevant information, so you can make the best choices when it comes to your oral health. Here we discuss what halitosis is, what the symptoms and causes are, and what you can do to handle it. Read on to learn all about halitosis, and what you can do if you have chronic bad breath. 

What is halitosis, and what are the symptoms?

Halitosis is an oral health condition in which the main symptom is bad smelling breath. Halitosis is different from acute bad breath in that it is persistent, and remains for an extended period of time.

What causes halitosis?

There are many different causes for the condition known as halitosis. Halitosis may be caused by:

  • Poor oral health care or other dental issues: If you are not practicing a good daily oral healthcare routine of correct and regular brushing and flossing, food can remain in the mouth, becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. Cavities can form and deeper pockets from the onset of gum disease can give bacteria places to hide in your mouth, causing an unpleasant odor and taste in the mouth.
  • Health conditions such as mouth, nose and throat infections: Nose, sinus and throat issues can lead to a post nasal drip, which can contribute to bad breath. Bacteria feeds on the mucus your body produces when it’s battling something like a sinus infection, creating an unpleasant taste and a bad odor in your mouth.
  • Dry mouth: Saliva is critically important to your oral health, and if your body is not producing enough saliva, the result may be halitosis. Saliva rinses and removes remaining food from your mouth, neutralizing some of the acid that forms in your mouth as food breaks down. When your mouth is too dry for saliva to perform this function, the result can be bad breath. Causes of dry mouth include: certain medications, certain medical conditions, alcohol use, tobacco use, and excessive caffeine. 
  • Smoking and tobacco: Tobacco products cause a multitude of problems for your body, including your mouth and your breath. Tobacco products leave their own odor on your breath, but they also contribute to bad breath by drying out your mouth. Smokers are also more likely to develop gum disease, which can also result in halitosis. 
  • Other chronic health conditions: Halitosis is most often linked to conditions in the mouth, however it may also be a sign of other chronic health conditions including: gastric reflux, diabetes, bronchitis, gastrointestinal disorders, liver disease, or kidney disease

How can you handle halitosis?

The first step to handling halitosis is to examine your oral healthcare routine. Ensure your daily oral care routine includes twice-daily tooth brushing and daily proper flossing with quality dental care products, such as ones with the ADA seal of approval on their packaging. Most bad breath bacteria live on the tongue, so be sure to brush your tongue, inside of your cheeks, and the roof of your mouth. If you have dentures, take them out at night and clean them completely before putting them back in your mouth. 

Next, consider your fluid intake. Are you drinking enough water? Drinking plenty of water can cut down on many of the conditions that lead to chronic bad breath. Additionally, chewing sugar-free gum is a simple way to increase beneficial saliva production, helping to keep the mouth from becoming too dry.

Examine your caffeine intake and other eating habits. Cutting back on caffeine can help increase saliva, and eating healthy foods that require plenty of chewing – such as apples and carrots – can help boost saliva production as well. 

Consider any other health conditions you may have. While halitosis is most often associated with conditions in the mouth, it can also be a sign of other chronic health conditions. If you have followed the tips listed above and are still experiencing chronic bad breath, a visit to your General Practitioner may be prudent to rule out any other health conditions that may be contributing to your halitosis.

If you are experiencing persistent bad breath, be sure to check in with your dentist. At Affinity Dental, we are here to be your partners in your oral health. Sometimes, a thorough professional teeth cleaning to remove any built up plaque and tartar is all you need! Our team of dental care professionals will work closely with you to identify the cause(s) of your bad breath and help you develop ways to address it. With a proper cleaning and exam, we can identify any oral health problems and advise you on next steps, including what types of dental products to use and potential treatment plans to address cavities or gum disease. Give us a call at (619) 697-2800, or contact us here to set up your next appointment. At Affinity Dental of La Mesa, California, we are open for routine dental care and check-ups, and we are following all local, state, and federal health guidelines to ensure your safety. Book your next appointment today!