In Houston and Memorial City, Texas

Bad breath is one of the leading causes of social embarrassment for humans today. Recent studies throughout different countries have shown that nearly 25% of the global population suffers from bad breath, or halitosis, on a recurring basis. This condition can also be a sign of other underlying health issues.

At Bunker Hill Dentistry, we offer our patients who suffer from halitosis a variety of treatment options.

What Causes Bad Breath?

A person having a dental exam

The first step in treating a case of halitosis is to identify the root causes of the condition. There are six main types of causes that can lead to bad breath, ranging from more common to rare.

Poor Dental Hygiene

The most common cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene. A lack of brushing or flossing your teeth, doing so poorly, or not scheduling regular cleanings with your dental care provider could each play a part. 

With inadequate dental hygiene, food particles get left behind in between the teeth, on the tongue, and in the mouth, causing bacteria to grow. This will often be accompanied by bad tastes and odors in the mouth. If you have dentures, it is important to clean these regularly and thoroughly to avoid the same issues.

Be sure to not only floss and brush your teeth regularly, but also remember to brush your tongue thoroughly, to get rid of the bacteria that can linger in the back of the mouth.

Specific Foods

Certain foods like onion and garlic can lead to strong breath while they are in your body. This isn’t a cause for medical intervention, and brushing and flossing your teeth can help with the odor. However, anytime you digest food, elements of it are absorbed by your bloodstream. Therefore the odor can often linger while you are still digesting these foods until they are completely out of your system.

Gum Disease

Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are some of the leading causes of bad breath. Gum disease can eventually lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. These are serious dental conditions that require intervention and treatment by a dental health care provider.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is a condition where saliva production in the mouth severely decreases. Saliva is an essential mechanism that the mouth uses to clean itself by removing excess particles. Without enough saliva to break down and remove these particles, bacteria builds up and bad breath can occur.

Dry mouth can have various causes, including side effects to some medicines and by breathing too much through the mouth instead of the nose.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco use, including smoking and chewing tobacco, can stain the teeth and directly cause bad breath, as well as indirectly through leading to dry mouth and gum disease. If you are worried about or already prone to halitosis, it is a very good idea to avoid tobacco products.

Health Condition

Aside from gum disease and dry mouth, there are other non-dental health conditions and diseases that can lead to bad breath. These can include:

  • diabetes
  • post-nasal drip
  • chronic lung and sinus infections
  • bronchitis
  • seasonal allergies
  • gastrointestinal conditions

Do You Need to Treat Halitosis?

Treating bad breath varies on the person and the conditions. Those who have morning breath or suffer from halitosis by eating certain foods might not need a serious treatment. Of course having even occasional bad breath can sometimes be embarrassing and can affect one’s social and professional lives, which would be reason enough to seek a consult.

Constant bad breath is likely a sign that there are other underlying issues happening in the mouth or body. In these cases it is vital to seek the opinion of your dentist and look at possible treatments.

Treatment Options for Bad Breath

Treatments for halitosis differ depending on the cause of the bad breath. The following are the most common treatments your dentist will recommend or perform.

Dental Cleaning

Brushing and flossing your teeth daily is almost always step one in combating bad breath. Removing the food particles and plaque that can build up and create foul smelling bacteria is always going to have some level of positive results. Beyond that, it is very important to visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings. Dental professionals have access to tools and training that help to go beyond regular daily maintenance of your mouth.

Those with dentures should clean their mouth and dentures daily, and remove their dentures overnight.

Oral Hygiene Routine

If brushing, flossing, and dental cleaning isn’t fixing the bad breath, your dentist may prescribe additional steps to add to your routine, such as:

  • using antiseptic mouthwash
  • tongue scraping
  • chewing gum/artificial saliva for a dry mouth

Gum Disease Treatment

Different kinds of gum disease, as well as the severity of the disease,  will require different treatments. Early-stage gum disease which is limited to only the gums is called gingivitis. Treatments for gingivitis include:

  • Root planing and scaling: this non-surgical procedure is used to deal with plaque or tartar build up under the gums. “Scaling” refers to scraping away bacteria above and below the gum line. “Planing” is smoothing out rough spots on the root of your tooth so the gums have a clean surface to attach to.
  • Deep cleaning, irrigation, and disinfection: an oral irrigation – passing a stream of high-pressured water through the diseased area – is often done after a planing or scaling to flush out bacteria jarred loose from the procedure. It may also be done in conjunction with a deep cleaning or application of an antimicrobial.
  • Medication: Antibiotics and antimicrobials can be used either alone or in combination with other methods to treat gum disease in certain cases. 

Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Treatments available for this form of gum disease include:

  • Gum grafts: When gums recede due to periodontitis, they can’t grow back. However, a gum graft can replace lost gum tissue by surgically transferring it from another area, such as the roof of your mouth, to the affected area. A gum graft is a relatively quick and easy procedure done under local anesthetic with a recovery time as little as a week.
  • Bone grafts: Periodontal disease that is advanced enough can destroy bone in your jaw. A bone graft with material from either your jaw or a tissue bank can replace that lost bone so that you don’t also lose teeth as a result of the periodontitis.
  • Flap surgery: In severe instances of periodontitis, the dentist must use a scalpel to peel back the diseased tissue so that he can clean and reshape the gums at the root of the tooth. Then he sutures the gum tissue back into place to heal. 
  • Laser surgery: Laser therapy is similar to flap surgery except that the dentist uses a dental laser to remove diseased tissue while leaving healthy tissue alone. This less-invasive technique can lower the risk of infection and bleeding and allows for a faster recovery time.
  • Tooth replacement: If you’ve lost teeth as a result of periodontitis, or require tooth extraction, we can replace them with implants of a single artificial tooth, multiple teeth, or even an entire row of teeth. Tooth replacement is often done in connection with bone grafting.

Treatment of Health Condition

For cases in which bad breath is a symptom of a non-dental health condition, your dentist may help to diagnose the condition and help point you in the right direction for further care. They may be able to determine the problem based on the specific odor, or by asking questions about your lifestyle and family medical history.

Lifestyle Changes

While a deep cleaning could temporarily resolve bad breath caused by lifestyle, a more permanent solution is always a good idea.  Changing the habits that are causing bad breath can go a long way in stopping the problem.

  • Stop tobacco use
  • Avoid certain foods (onion and garlic)
  • Commit to both brushing and flossing daily
  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake while reducing meat
Why Bunker Hill Dentistry?
Dr. Le and Ann Le
Dr. Le and his wife and office manager Ann Le
SpecialistsDr. Le and his team can perform thorough cleanings and dental exams to determine the best treatment option for your bad breath.

Serene setting – Our office is designed to provide a calm, relaxing environment to help put your mind at ease during treatment. Take a tour.

 Client satisfaction – We have one mission – total client satisfaction. “Care, Comfort, Convenience”is our guarantee to every client. More about Bunker Hill Dentistry.

Bunker Hill Dentistry Lobby View
Reception room at Bunker Hill Dentistry
State of the art – We utilize other advanced technology such as the i-CAT 3D x-ray machine, All-On-4® implants and an anesthesia-delivery wand, for faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment.

 Conveniently located – Located in Memorial, just a short drive from Houston’s city center. Find us on the map.

Make an Appointment and Treat Your Bad Breath

If you are in the Memorial City or greater Houston area and are suffering from bad breath, reach out to us at Bunker Hill Dentistry today. “Care, Comfort, Convenience” is our guarantee to every client. Book an appointment with us and let’s get to the root of the problem so you can start to feel more confident with every breath.

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