Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is one of the most embarrassing oral health issues. The good news? It’s also preventable! The key to preventing and treating bad breath begins with oral hygiene and regular dental exams. Healthy, clean teeth and gums are less hospitable to bacteria and other smelly substances found within your mouth. At the Park Ridge, IL dentist office of Drs. Maria and Thanasi Loukas, we want only the best for our patients—no breath mint necessary.
What Causes Bad Breath?
Most people experience bad breath only after eating a pungent meal, especially those that include onions or garlic. While it’s true that these substances are often to blame, chronic bad breath is generally a sign of an oral health and/or hygiene issue. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria and food deposits, also causes bad breath. If you brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss once daily, you’ve done an excellent job of preventing plaque buildup.
Did you know that nearly 50% of all bacteria in your mouth are found on your tongue? Dr. Loukas explains that the presence of these bacteria may explain why some people have bad breath even after brushing and flossing. Adding antimicrobial mouthwash, such as Listerine, and a tongue scraper to your hygiene regimen will remove unwelcome substances hidden in hard-to-find areas of your mouth.
How Do Dental Exams Prevent Bad Breath?
Even if you practice excellent hygiene, Dr. Loukas recommends scheduling a professional teeth cleaning and dental exam once every six months. Some cases warrant more frequent dental visits. For example, a patient who has been diagnosed with periodontal disease is advised to follow a more stringent hygiene and cleaning regimen. In addition to bad breath, gum disease also causes a bad taste in your mouth, bleeding gums, and eventually tooth loss. During your exam, Dr. Loukas will look for telltale symptoms of oral health issues, including gum disease, tooth decay, and oral cancer.
Checklist for Fresh Breath
Between dental visits, protect your teeth and gums by performing these simple actions:
- Look for dental care products that contain thymol or eucalyptus essential oils, which have natural antibacterial properties.
- Chew gum that contains Xylitol, a sweetener that has been shown to help prevent tooth decay.
- Stash a few single-use toothbrushes and floss picks in your car, purse, or desk.
You don’t have to live with bad breath. To learn more about preventing oral malodor, or to schedule an appointment with Drs. Thanasi and Maria Loukas, contact us at (847) 696-1919. We welcome patients living in Chicago, Park Ridge, and the neighboring communities. For the latest news and insights, follow Park Ridge Dental on Facebook.