Bad Breath Treatment Irvine, CA

Dr. Ursula Levine, DDS | Levine Dentistry, Inc.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Dentist Woodbridge, Irvine, CA

Halitosis, or bad breath, can cause stress and anxiety in social situations because of the stigma that is attached to this condition. Many over-the-counter products claim to fight bad breath. However, most of these simply cover up the symptoms without addressing the cause of the problem.

In some cases, halitosis can be caused by serious medical or dental conditions. This is why seeking professional help for this problem is important. In addition, by identifying the underlying cause of halitosis, a dentist can design an effective solution.

Understanding Halitosis

There are a number of different possible causes of bad breath. Some of these are related to lifestyle. For example, certain foods, such as onions and garlic, contain sulfurous compounds with a strong odor. Consumption of these foods causes the breath to smell of these chemicals. The same is true of regular alcohol and tobacco consumption.

Poor oral hygiene habits also lead to bad breath. Food particles that are not completely removed by brushing and flossing will sit in the mouth collecting bacteria. This not only causes tooth decay and gum disease, but will also cause the breath to smell bad. Similarly, if dentures or orthodontic appliances are not thoroughly cleaned, they can harbor bacteria that lead to bad breath.

Gum disease is one of the leading causes of chronic bad breath. The cause can be traced to bacteria harbored in infected gum pockets throughout the mouth. These bacteria produce byproducts that emit an unpleasant odor.

Dry mouth can also lead to halitosis. This is because saliva helps to cleanse the mouth of odor-causing bacteria and food particles. When the flow of saliva is reduced, these tend to remain in the mouth and cause bad breath. This is a main reason that most people’s breath is smelly in the morning; during the night, the flow of saliva is significantly reduced.

Certain medications will cause bad breath, through a variety of mechanisms. In some cases, the medication itself or its breakdown products exit the body in the breath and smell bad. Some medications cause dry mouth or otherwise interfere with the body’s ability to get rid of food particles and bacteria. Others change the body’s metabolic processes, leading to byproducts that can be detected in the breath.

More serious diseases can also cause bad breath. Infections in the mouth, such as an abscessed tooth, can cause the breath to smell bad. Sinusitis (a sinus infection) or other respiratory tract infection can act in a similar way. Acid reflux, in which acidic fluid from the stomach makes its way up the esophagus (the throat), often causes the breath to smell like the acid and partly digested food in the fluid. Metabolic disorders, including diabetes, can cause the buildup of byproducts that lead to particular smells in the breath. (These smells are often, but not always, considered unpleasant.) Systemic diseases, such as cancer, can act in a similar way.

Treating Bad Breath

The first step in treating bad breath is the most crucial one. The cause of the bad breath must be correctly identified. Once this has been done, then the condition can be treated effectively. Dr. Levine invests the necessary time to investigate each patient’s situation thoroughly.

If the cause of halitosis is gum disease, professional deep cleaning is the primary treatment indicated. If it is an abscessed tooth or other oral condition, then treatment of this condition should improve the problem of bad breath.

If Dr. Levine suspects a medical condition as the source of the halitosis, then she will refer you to your primary care physician to investigate this further.

You may also need some tips on how to clean your mouth thoroughly. Many people have never been taught how to brush and floss properly, and may miss areas when they do these things.

Treat Bad Breath in Irvine

Don’t let bad breath affect your self-confidence and willingness to participate in social life. Dr. Levine can help. Please call 949-727-9600 or email us today to schedule an appointment at our Irvine dentistry practice with our trusted dentist.