Bad Breath

Tuesday, 15 September 2020
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Bad Breath

Did you know that there are lots of possible causes for bad or stale breath?
Luckily, there are solutions that you might not have thought of!

  • Do I have gum problems or decay causing bad breath?
  • Will my dentist or hygienist tell me if I have bad or stale breath?
  • Is that smell coming all the way from my stomach?
  • Could this be a bacterial imbalance in my mouth?
  • Is my diet or dry mouth causing bad breath?

For all the answers to these questions, follow the link below.

Do I have gum problems or decay causing bad breath?

The most common cause of bad or stale breath is dental disease- either tooth decay or gum problems. The easiest way to minimize dental problems is to come in for a dental examination and a hygiene scale and clean regularly. This way, decay and gum problems are caught and treated early and are less likely to give you bad breath.

We understand life gets busy and sometimes we become overdue for our regular dental maintenance. This is when you might find that your gums bleed when you are brushing and flossing. This is a sign that you have gingivitis- a gum infection that is the most common cause for bad and stale breath. Luckily, the treatment is very straightforward!

Book yourself in to see our hygienist for a thorough scale and clean to remove the bacteria that are causing the gingivitis and to give you some tweaks and tips on preventing it recurring. We promise not to judge you- gingivitis is common and we are quick to look for solutions, rather than nag you here at Grandis Dental!

Similarly, decay can cause bad breath if it is left untreated for a long time due to stale food particles and bacteria filling the cavity. If you can see a decay in your mouth, give our lovely reception staff a call and they’ll get you booked in to see either Dr Gretchen or Dr Kathy to have your decay removed and restored, and your breath back to fresh.

To maintain a healthy mouth, we suggest toothbrushing with a soft toothbrush or an electric toothbrush twice a day. Don’t forget to use your toothbrush to brush your tongue to get any food remnants off your tongue as well! Use a Fluoride toothpaste when you brush- any of the big brands such as Colgate, Oral B, Sensodyne and Macleans all contain Fluoride and help to toughen the tooth enamel and help to reduce numbers of bad bacteria. Don’t forget to floss once a day. We know it’s a hard habit to get into, so that’s why we suggest children start early. If you don’t floss at least once a day, you are allowing 35% of the surfaces of your teeth to not be cleaned, and the food remnants and plaque particles will remain where they are and can cause bad breath, tooth decay and gingivitis.

Will my dentist or hygienist tell me if I have bad or stale breath?

Yes! We understand we have a unique position of being able to discuss bad breath with people so we feel that it is our responsibility to let our patients know of any dental problems we find during a visit. Here at Grandis Dental, we are always very mindful to be tactful and not judgmental when discussing bad breath. We like to focus on the things you do right, and how to tweak the things that need some work. We all know people that are unaware that they have bad breath, so we feel that it’s important to tell our patients during their visit, even if they don’t ask!

Is that smell coming all the way from my stomach?
It might be! Once we’ve ruled out dental problems causing bad breath, one of the other causes to consider is stomach problems such as reflux. Stomach acid in the mouth can leave a sour taste and smell. The acid in the mouth will often leave a unique erosion pattern on the teeth, meaning that dentists and hygienists are
sometimes the first people to suspect that someone has reflux, or other gastrointestinal problems. If you think you might have reflux or heartburn, check out the helpful information at https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/gord-reflux

This will give you an indication of if you should ask your GP about the possibility of reflux.

Could this be a bacterial imbalance in my mouth?

Yes- but probably not in the way that you think! Did you know that there are over 300 different species of bacteria that live in your mouth? Some are good and some are bad, just like in your stomach. If there is an overgrowth in some bacteria, this can lead to an imbalance. When we find large numbers of the bad bacteria, this can be accompanied by bad breath. There are some very convincing ad campaigns that promise to “blast off bad bacteria” with the aid of mouthwashes and other products. The truth is that these products don’t have the ability to access the bad bacteria and the majority of people that buy these products spit money down the drain with minimal result. Brushing twice and day and flossing once a day are much more effective tools than commercial mouthwashes for the majority of us. You’ll find that none of the staff here at Grandis Dental use a commercial mouthwash, as we know that they are more likely to kill off the good bacteria rather than the bad.

The people that are most at risk of having high numbers of bad bacteria are those undergoing aggressive medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Unfortunately, people that are taking medications to suppress the immune system after organ transplants and for autoimmune diseases are also more prone to bacterial imbalance. In these scenarios we would suggest maintaining regular dental visits, and we may suggest some extra home products to try to balance things.

Is my diet or dry mouth causing bad breath?

Perhaps.

So many people come into their dental appointments apologizing for eating garlic or onion, but the truth is, these foods don’t cause a bad smell unless consumed in enormous amounts! This might be surprising, but food smells aren’t really terribly offensive to anyone in the dental field. Your teeth are usually pretty efficient at getting your food into your stomach and not much will remain in the mouth. As long as you are brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, your diet shouldn’t cause bad breath.

Did you know that even over the counter antihistamines are known to cause dryness of the mouth? There are many other medications that have a similar side effect, which means that the balance of bacteria can be thrown off. A dry mouth is a much more inviting environment for the bad bacteria to thrive and replicate, and often they can smell quite pungent. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magical solution to reverse this dryness permanently.What we suggest is frequent sips of plain water to keep the mouth wet, and to keep bacteria levels stable.

We hope that this information is useful to you in debunking some of the common myths about bad breath. If you have any questions about bad breath, please feel free to call us on (08) 6404 2899 or leave a reply below.