I’m Tim Mahoney of Timothy G. Mahoney, DDS. Today’s post offers some answers to persistent questions about bad breath.
Q. My wife says my breath is awful, but I brush twice a day. Shouldn’t that be enough?
A. Bacteria can multiply and stink in hidden crevices that can only be reached with floss. Time to start flossing. If your breath hasn’t improved in a few months, make an appointment so we can review other possible causes of your halitosis.
Also keep in mind that brushing just the teeth may not get rid of food particles between the teeth and up in the gums. Gently brushing the gums, sides of the mouth and the tongue in addition to the teeth may make the difference.
Q. My breath seems to get worse during hay fever season. What’s up with that?
A. Allergies can change mouth odor in a couple of ways. First, anything that stimulates post-nasal drip can be a trigger because bacteria at the back of the throat mixes with the mucous and emits a smelly odor as it breaks down. Second, hay fever medications often cause dry mouth which can bring about stinky breath. Antihistamines can reduce post-nasal drip so this is a catch-22. If you take antihistamines, drink water frequently throughout the day to keep your mouth hydrated, suck on sugar-free mints to stimulate saliva production, and rinse with a non-alcohol mouth rinse.
Q. What health conditions can lead to bad breath?
A. As addressed before, any condition that reduces saliva creation generally causes halitosis. It is also a frequent side effect of diabetes, kidney failure, and liver failure. Of course, if your kidneys or liver is failing, you have bigger problems.
Q. Why did my wife’s breath became appalling when she went on a strict low-carb diet?
A. Ketones were probably the culprit. Ketones are formed when the body digests fat – which is usually the goal of a low-carb plan. On the flip side, she was probably not cheating!
Let us know if you have other questions on general dentistry.
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