It is common knowledge that you need to take care of your teeth. What is less commonly known is that good oral hygiene is necessary not just for having a winning smile, but to maintain your overall health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to serious problems such as heart attacks, strokes, trouble controlling diabetes, and even preterm labor.
Good oral hygiene cannot be underestimated in terms of both self-esteem and being healthy. One of the most common effects of poor oral hygiene is bad breath. Not only can this be embarrassing in the extreme, but studies show that for about 85% of people, halitosis is symptomatic of an underlying, and potentially serious, dental condition.
Gum disease, cavities, dry mouth, bacteria on the tongue, and, more worryingly, oral cancer are some of the underlying causes of bad breath. Using mouthwash to mask the smell and cover bad breath is not a solution. Brushing and flossing will not cure the cause of the bad breath either.
The only way to know what is causing your bad breath is to visit your local dentist, such Chandler Family Dentistry. Your dentist will be able to help you figure out what exactly is causing your bad breath.
One of the most common causes of bad breath is gum disease, an infection of the gums around the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults and has been linked to heart attacks and strokes. Gum disease usually occurs in people over 30 years of age. Smoking, diabetes, and dry mouth are all risk factors. Aside from bad breath, red, swollen or bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, and pain when chewing are symptoms of gum disease. Regular dental check-ups along with good oral hygiene habits can help prevent gum disease.
Cavities, another cause of bad breath, are the second most common disease in the United States, following the common cold. Cavities form when plaque combines with sugar, creating acids that decay tooth enamel. As we age, the enamel naturally erodes, increasing our chances of cavities. Dry mouth and medications can also increase the chance of tooth decay. Your dentist can detect and repair the effects of tooth decay.
A more serious potential cause for halitosis is oral cancer. Oral cancer affects millions of people, with the Oral Cancer Foundation estimating one death every hour from oral cancer. Oral cancer is highly curable if diagnosed and treated early. The biggest risk factors are tobacco and alcohol. Symptoms of oral cancer include bad breath, sores, and rough patches in the mouth. Difficulty chewing or moving your tongue can also be symptoms. Regular dental visits can help catch oral cancer early.
Preventing these dental problems is a matter of good oral hygiene and establishing a healthy routine to take care of your teeth.
1. Brush at least twice daily and floss once daily. If you can brush after each meal, this can help in removing plaque and prevent tooth decay and other dental problems. Take your time brushing to clean the teeth as thoroughly as possible,
2. Talk to your dentist about what you should include in your routine. For some brushing and flossing may not be enough. People who experience dry mouth from medications or have a history of cavities should include more fluoride in their routine.
3. Watch what you put in your mouth. Limit your sugar intake. If you use tobacco, quit. Everything that goes in your mouth can have a serious impact on your oral health.
4. Don’t pass up on our dental examinations. Visits to Chandler Family Dentistry can identify problems before they become issues. Your dentist is your best tool to a winning, healthy smile.