Cases of chronic bad breath should be investigated more thoroughly as they can be an indicator of a more serious condition. About 25% of bad breath comes from systemic issues that can be chronic or acute but either way they should be addressed by a medical professional especially if they are accompanied by fever, swollen glands, sore throat, post nasal drip, productive cough and/or discolored discharge from the nose. Bad breath can accompany systemic conditions such as a medical infection, allergies, diabetes, liver malfunction, kidney failure, lung diseases, sinus conditions, and/or gastrointestinal disorders.
The majority of bad breath that comes from the oral cavity can be caused by a variety of factors, however if symptoms of painful or swollen gums that bleed easily or loose teeth are present you should see your dentist as soon as possible. These additional symptoms may indicate an oral infection or disease that needs immediate attention.
Conditions in the mouth that can contribute to increased bacteria count and in turn increased halitosis range from external factors (food, drinks, smoking, etc.) to dry mouth. Diets with inadequate hydration or high in sugars or high in foods with strong odors or high in alcoholic beverages are more likely to lead to enduring bad breath. Additionally, poor oral hygiene (not brushing and flossing, cleaning the tongue and cleaning any dental appliances daily), or having crevice areas on the tonsils that trap food, can also lead to a battle with bad breath.
So what is to be done to win the battle and keep the holidays merry? Here are some tips.
- Brush and floss your teeth and clean your tongue to reduce bacteria and the food particles it uses to make bad odors. This includes cleaning any dental appliances like partials or dentures, orthodontic appliances, and occlusal/ night guards.
- Keep hydrated. Drink water especially if you are having cocktails containing alcohol, drink water between cocktails.
- Place lemon wedges in your water and then bite into the lemon slice to help stimulate saliva. Saliva can help kill bacteria and clear the mouth of odor causing bacteria.
- Chew sugarless gum or mints to cover the odor caused by foods and to stimulate saliva flow.
- Snack on raw vegetables. They are usually high in water content and some contain vitamin C, which can help kill odor-causing bacteria.
- Get regular dental check-ups and cleanings. Have cavities, gingivitis, and periodontal disease treated to reduce bad odors caused by oral infections and diseases.
Hopefully this information helps you have halitosis free holidays. Enjoy the time spent with friends and family, eat, drink, and be merry. Just remember to brush, floss and scrape to keep your breath from being the topic of conversation.