This post focuses on a problem we’re asked about from time to time, at Dr. Steven W. Haywood in Timonium. And that problem is bad breath.
Bad breath, or halitosis, has several causes. The most prevalent cause is inadequate oral hygiene. Often, halitosis occurs midday arising from the inability to brush teeth between meals. Small food fragments on the teeth, gums, and tongue grow bacteria. The wastes of the bacteria and decay of the food create a sulfur compound, which emits the offensive odor. Food particles, bacteria, and sulfuric gas all need to be removed to eliminate bad breath caused by poor oral hygiene.
While poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of halitosis, many elements can contribute to or worsen the trouble. The best remedy is consistent, thorough brushing and flossing, but other actions might also be necessary depending on the cause(s).
For example, a salivary gland issue or certain medications can cause dry mouth. Saliva moistens the teeth and gums, clearing away odiferous dead cells. Saliva also neutralizes the ever-present acids on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. Limiting caffeine, chewing sugar-free gum, using OTC saliva substitutes, and using a humidifier can add moisture to the mouth.
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