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Bad breath is a stigma in our culture, and many others; no one wants to talk about it (or tell you that you have it). For some, it may seem like your committed routine of brushing and flossing daily is of no good if you still put off a foul odor from your mouth, leaving you with many questions about this embarrassment. We are sharing the 411 on bad breath with you today, what causes it, and how to prevent it.

Bad breath is more common than you think

It can happen to anyone! According to the National Institute of Dental Research, nearly 65 million Americans are plagued with bad breath at some point in time, although many people are completely unaware that they have it.

What causes bad breath

Of course, if you eat a meal ridden with garlic or onions, your breath will smell less than fresh, and probably down right gross. But, true bad breath, known as halitosis, is caused by bacteria in the mouth that break down into amino acids that contain sulfur, hence the “rotten egg” smell. Not removing this bacteria by thoroughly brushing and flossing every day, is the direct cause of the buildup of this bacteria. But, bad breath can also be a sign of a serious health condition so do not ignore it.

You are what you eat

Well, sort of. Smoking, alcohol, and even coffee can cause bad breath. Also, certain medications can dry out the mouth. Our saliva is a natural cleanser that washes away some of the bacteria and can actually help in maintaining a healthy balance in the mouth. Without it, dry mouth can lead to an excessive buildup of oral bacteria.

How do I get rid of bad breath?

That depends on the cause. Some sufferers truly have a bacterial imbalance in their mouth in which there are too many anaerobic bacteria causing the bad breath. Other problems such as gum disease, sinus infections (or drainage), diabetes or tonsil stones could also be the culprit. If the stink is caused by gum disease, it is likely that a good deep dental cleaning and some consistent at-home oral hygiene efforts are in order.

Most importantly

Be sure that you consistently practice good oral hygiene habits at home such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and add an alcohol-free oral rinse to your nightly routine for an extra layer of protection. Also, be sure you undergo regular trips to the dentist, twice a year in fact, for routine dental cleanings and checkups to ensure the plaque build up around your teeth and gum line is cleaned. This will not only help improve your breath but stave off the perils of gum disease.

For more information about oral health or to schedule an appointment, contact Brian Hockel, DDS today by calling 925-478-7776 to schedule a consultation today.

Dr. Brian Hockel and Dr. Rebecca Jardine are proud to serve patients from Walnut Creek, Clayton, Concord, and Lafayette, California, as well as from the greater San Francisco East Bay area and beyond.