Bad Breath Can Be Managed
Question: “Dr. Arnold, I have persistent bad breath, and I’m very self-conscious about it. What can I do about this problem?”
Answer: You are certainly not alone because halitosis (bad breath) is a problem for many people. Bad breath is often caused by VSCs, or volatile sulfur compounds. These odiferous compounds are a result of the breakdown (by bacteria) of many sulfur-containing foods. Additionally, some foods such as onions and garlic are absorbed into the bloodstream and transferred to the lungs. Exhalation can be unpleasantly aromatic. Dietary modification can improve this condition, as can drinking more water.
Maintaining exceptional oral hygiene is probably the most effective way to control bad breath. This begins with thorough brushing after every meal, flossing at least once per day, thorough cleaning of the tongue, and regular dental visits. Unfortunately, when food particles remain in the mouth bacteria accumulates, and this could also lead to periodontal (gum and bone) disease and bad breath.
Many mouthwashes with alcohol simply mask the odor temporarily and can actually exacerbate the problem. Therefore, look for alcohol-free products which will help neutralize the acidity of the mouth, slow down bacterial reproduction, and decrease VSC’s. This eliminates the cause of malodor at the source and can improve one’s breath for several hours. Fortunately, several such products exist and can be purchased online or from your dentist.
If all of the above methods are utilized without positive results, you may have a medical condition that requires attention from a physician. Sometimes gastric reflux, chronic sinusitis, or diabetes can lend themselves to bad breath. You should consult with your dentist and/or physician to figure out the cause of your halitosis so that it can be addressed appropriately.
Dr. Jim Arnold is a practicing dentist in Chesterton and Valparaiso. He is also a clinical mentor with the Hornbrook Group and serves on the Advisory Board for the Academy of Comprehensive Esthetics as the Fellowship Chairman. You may send questions to his office at: 1830 South 11th Street, Chesterton, IN 46304 or email them to: drarnold@SmilesByArnold.com. More information on this or many other dental topics can be found at www.SmilesByArnold.com.