Dr. Brett L. Johnson

General & Cosmetic Dentistry

What’s Really Causing Your Bad Breath

What’s Really Causing Your Bad Breath

You don’t need to be an Oregon City family dentist to know about the importance of having fresh breath. When our breath turns from fresh to foul, it can cause a number of embarrassing problems. From coworkers electing to meet online instead of in the conference room to family members voicing their concerns over what you had for lunch, bad breath is something we’d all just rather avoid.

While most of us understand that what we eat can impact how our breath smells, there are other subtler causes that transforms our breath from fresh to funky. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few causes of bad breath you might never suspect.

Troublesome Tongue

A healthy tongue should appear bright pink, but if you look in the mirror and see yours covered in a whitish film, that could be the cause of some serious stink. That whitish film is actually a collection of foul smelling bacteria that can sour your breath. Fortunately, you can easily remove this buildup by brushing your tongue or by using a tongue scraper. While a toothbrush will work in a pinch, a scraper will do a better job of keeping your tongue, and breath, clean.

Breaking with Bread

Cutting out carbs from your diet and replacing them with more protein helps to kick start the body into burning fat for energy, but it could also cost you a few points on the freshness scale. In the process of burning fat, the body also produces a compound called ketones, which cause bad breath. Unfortunately, extra brushing and flossing won’t help to eliminate the odor caused by ketones, since your oral health isn’t the cause of your dragon breath. Your best bet is to use mints and chew sugar-free gum until your body normalizes.

A Common Condition

As if having the sniffles wasn’t bad enough already, a case of the common cold can also cause your breath to come down sick as well. Respiratory tract infections create mucus, which odor-causing bacteria love to feed on. If that wasn’t already foul, being stuffed up forces you to breathe through your mouth more, which leads to dry mouth, another cause of bad breath.

An Uninvited Guest

It’s an understatement to say that an ulcer can be a real pain, but it can also be the cause of bad breath. Ok, well the not the ulcer itself, but a type of bacteria that causes ulcers to develop, Helicobacter pylori, can also add bad breath to your list of ailments, according to a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology. Fortunately, eliminating the bacteria may also help restore your breath back to normal. Your doctor can test you for H. pylori and prescribe an antibiotic that should do the trick.

Sour Side Effect

Over 400 medications and over-the-counter drugs, including those designed to treat such common conditions as anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, and indigestion, can cause dry mouth as a side effect. While you probably don’t give your saliva too much thought, it actually plays an important role in helping the body digest food and to clean the mouth of harmful bacteria and food particles that linger after eating. When saliva flow drops far enough to cause dry mouth, foul smelling bacteria and decaying food particles remain and begin to produce stinky odors. Since it’s not always possible to change your meds, the American Dental Association recommends that patients dealing with dry mouth try chewing sugar-free gum during the day to stimulate saliva production.

Your Oregon City Family Dentist Can Help

If you suffer from a perpetual case of bad breath, our team at Oregon City Dentistry can help. By scheduling an exam and cleaning, Dr. Johnson can help to determine the cause of your bad breath and offer a treatment solution.

Don’t let bad breath ruin your day. Contact our office to schedule your next dental appointment today.

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