Millions of people suffer from it, but nobody talks about it. In an age when almost any problem is openly discussed on TV talk shows and in the daily papers, there’s still one subject few people talk about – Indeed, as a TV commercial put it, “Even your best friend won’t tell you!”
It is estimated that over 35 million Americans suffer from bad breath that never goes away. This does not include the bad breath that you get from eating lots of garlic or onions – that’s temporary and easy to deal with. Smoking can also cause this transitory bad breath. What we are talking about is chronic bad breath!
Ninety percent of bad breath problems occur in the oral cavity. This problem can be caused by a variety of things. These include poor oral hygiene, gum disease, dry mouth, medications, or even a medical disorder such as diabetes, sinusitis, or emphysema. In the case of bad breath being caused by a medical condition, treating the disease can often times eliminate the cause of bad breath.
Regardless of the cause, there are several things the individual can do to help prevent or reduce the effects of bad breath. First, you need to seek out a dental professional to help determine the cause. Regular checkups will allow your dentist to help evaluate and eliminate potential problems. A checkup every three to six months (need is determined by your dentist) can allow your dentist to evaluate you for gum disease, poor oral hygiene, dry mouth or other such problems that can lead to bad breath.
Upon examination, your dentist will determine the origin of your bad breath. If the odor is due to periodontal problems or gum disease, your dentist will help you get started in returning your mouth to a healthy status. If the problem is due to poor oral hygiene or heavy plaque build-up, your dentist will work with you to remove the plaque and improve your oral hygiene.
It is imperative that a patient maintains good oral hygiene. This must include proper brushing 2-3 times a day, flossing daily, as well as brushing your tongue. Even those with dentures are susceptible to bad breath. Denture patients must brush their dentures as well as their tongue. They should also remove their dentures nightly and allow their gums to relax. Occasionally, your dentist may recommend some other products such as rinses or special pastes to help control the situation.
Just remember – the first step is seeing your dentist on a regular basis. Always make sure you have good communication with your dentist and let him or her know your concerns!