Bad Breath (Halitosis)

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A person may not always know that they have halitosis (bad breath). The odor detecting cells in the nose eventually become accustomed to the constant flow of bad smells from the mouth. Whether you call it bad breath or halitosis, it's an unpleasant condition that can be cause for embarrassment. If you are concerned about bad breath, see Dr. Mahlin. He can help identify the cause and, if it's due to an oral condition, develop a treatment plan to help eliminate it.

If you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor.

Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, can contribute to objectionable breath odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled when you exhale. Use of tobacco products will cause halitosis in a similar way. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odor temporarily. Dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.

Bad breath may be a sign of a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, post nasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney failure. If Dr. Mahlin determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause of bad breath.

Maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath. Schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods your eat and make a list of medications you take. Some medications may play a role in creating mouth odors. Let Dr. Mahlin know if you've had any surgery or illness since your last appointment.

Brush at least twice each day and ideally after every meal, with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth.

Mouthwashes can mask odors but do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath. If you must constantly use a breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, see Dr. Mahlin. If you need extra help in controlling plaque, Dr. Mahlin may recommend using a special antimicrobial mouth rinse. A fluoride mouth rinse, used along with brushing and flossing can also help.

If you have any questions regarding bad breath, Dr. Mahlin would be happy to discuss them with you.


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