If bad breath becomes more than an inconvenience, it may be time to
visit your dentist
TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Everyone suffers occasionally from bad
breath. Bad breath is most commonly caused by certain foods, tobacco or
alcohol. However, if you suffer from persistent bad breath, it could be
a sign of something more serious - and a reason to schedule an
appointment with your dentist.
It is estimated that 50 percent of the population has halitosis, or bad
breath, at any one time, and that one-half of this group has chronic
bad breath.1 Approximately 90 percent of bad breath is intraoral in origin — it
stems from bacteria on the tongue, gums and teeth — while the other 10
percent can originate from other, more serious, sources.
"Chronic halitosis can be an indicator of gum disease or dry mouth,"
says Dr. Harry Höediono, President of the Ontario Dental Association.
"See your dentist if you are concerned about your bad breath - he or
she can determine the cause and provide treatment."
If your gums and teeth are healthy, your dentist may refer you to your
family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause of bad breath. Bad
breath may be a sign of a medical disorder, such as diabetes,
respiratory tract infection, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic
bronchitis, gastrointestinal disturbances or liver or kidney ailments.
For most of us, bad breath is usually caused by the food we eat and how
often we clean our teeth. Here are some tips to help keep your breath
Floss and brush your teeth, gums and tongue daily. If you don't clean
your mouth, any remaining food particles will attract bacteria, which
cause bad breath and contribute to tooth decay.
Brush and floss your teeth after eating, if you possibly can. If you
can't do a thorough cleaning, drinking water or chewing sugar-free gum
are good options.
Dry mouth (or xerostomia) decreases the flow of saliva. Saliva inhibits
the growth of bacteria that contribute to bad breath by cleansing the
mouth and removing odor-causing food particles. Dry mouth is caused by
some medications, alcohol and breathing with your mouth open. Drink
plenty of water or chew sugar-free gum or candy to keep your mouth
Cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco can cause dry mouth and bad
breath - on top of being harmful to your overall health. Ask your
dentist for help with smoking cessation.
"Chronic bad breath is a very visible sign that something is not right;
your dentist can help identify the cause," says Dr. Hoediono. "If it's
due to an oral condition, we can develop a treatment plan to help
eliminate it. You don't have to live with bad breath."
For more information, visit www.youroralhealth.ca.
1 ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, "Oral malodor", Journal of the American Dental Association, Vol. 134, February 2003.
SOURCE Ontario Dental Association
For further information:
Public Affairs and Communications
416-922-3900, ext. 3314