SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI-Whether it is bumping into a neighbor while out shopping, making small talk in the close confines of the office or meeting up a first date, fresh breath should be a priority for all social interactions.
“Don’t assume that you don’t have bad breath because you don’t notice it,” said Dr. Tracy Davis, who is a Nixa dentist at Barnett-Davis Dental Group. “You acclimate to your own smell, which means you aren’t able to smell your own breath even with the breathing into cupped hands and sniffing technique.”
There is a simple fresh breath self-test for a more accurate representation of what breath smells like to others. Use a spoon to scrape from the very back portion of the tongue toward the front of the mouth. After the saliva dries, smell the spoon to find out what others smell.
“Bad breath, which is medically called halitosis, is not something you have to live with or ineffectively mask with breath mints or gum,” said Dr. Kelly Barnett, a Springfield MO family dentistry expert. “We can help you find out the source and get your breath smelling fresh again.”
Bad Breath Causes
Many factors could be causing or adding to halitosis, but ultimately bad breath boils down to one cause: oral bacteria. These conditions can contribute to oral bacteria and negatively affect your breath:
- Untreated periodontal disease
- Food with strong odors like onions, garlic
- Dry mouth, also called xerostomia
- Sinus infections, allergies or post nasal drip
- Digestive issues and acid reflux
- Poor dental hygiene and overdue dental visits
- Smoking and using other tobacco products
Bad Breath Solutions
Treating halitosis means controlling the oral bacteria in the mouth that causes it. That means removing as much bacteria as possible, using products to clean bacteria off hard-to-reach areas of the mouth and treating conditions that promote its growth.
“Ruling out periodontal disease is the first step in treating halitosis,” said Dr. Marc Barnett, a Nixa dental care provider since 1984. “Treat periodontal disease will improve breath, but if gum disease isn’t to blame, then we can discuss other treatments or mouth rinses to get long-lasting fresh breath.”
Gum disease is an inflammatory condition caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. The disease is characterized by swollen, red gums and a receding gum line. The bacteria from gum disease causes toxins to form in the mouth and left untreated will damage the gums and supporting jawbone until tooth loss occurs.
“Food particles and plaque get on and in between your teeth every time you eat or drink anything,” said Dr. Nick Matthews, who offers cosmetic dentistry services like teeth whitening. “Your primary weapon against bad breath is brushing and flossing to remove the food source of the bacteria.”
However, oral bacteria reside in areas that cannot be brushed, including the very back of the tongue, back of the throat, tonsils and deep below the gum line. Saliva is the body’s natural defense for these areas because it moistens and cleanses the mouth by neutralizing acids produced by plaque. It also washes away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums and cheeks, so it is essential to deal with any condition causing dry mouth to avoid an increased risk for cavities and bad breath. Saliva alone is not enough to keep teeth healthy. Regular dental appointments are essential to scrape away the plaque from below the gum line and keep bad breath at bay.
“Mouthwash and breath mints are temporary fixes that mask bad breath,” said Davis. “We can prescribe antiseptic mouth rinses that are far more effective and long lasting because they kill the germs that cause bad breath.”
Whatever the cause of halitosis, it is not a condition that people need to continue to cover up or be embarrassed about. The dentists at Barnett-Davis Dental Group can help people get on their way to fresh breath and renewed confidence.
To learn more about Barnett-Davis Dental Group, call (417) 581-3600 or visit their website (http://www.barnettdavisdental.com/).
About Barnett-Davis Dental Group
Drs. Marc and Kelly Barnett, Dr. Tracy Davis and Dr. Nick Matthews practice a full range of cosmetic and general dentistry in the Springfield, MO area. The dental group has been ranked as “Best of the Ozarks” by the Springfield News-Leader newspaper and “Top Dentists” by the local 417 Magazine.
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