Bad Breath


“So Doc, I’ve been getting bad breath. What’s going on?”

Believe it or not, bad breath (also known as halitosis) is actually a pretty common complaint.  It’s absolutely nothing to be embarrass about.   After all, that’s what the dentist and dental hygienist are here for.

What causes bad breath? It can be a few things, they can include:

  • Bacteria and plaque that accumulate on the tongue
  • Smoking
  • Tooth infection
  • Gum infection
  • Gum/bone disease (periodontal involvement)
  • Dentures that are not cleaned regularly
  • Strong odored foods
  • Throat infection
  • Physiological body change


Some people may try to use mouthwash to combat bad breath. If it works, great! Many times though, I’ve found that mouthwash masks the problem and the underlying cause still remain.

During your dental checkup, be sure to mention to your dentist if you think you may have bad breath. The first thing your dentist would want to do is find out the cause(s) of the bad breath. Usually its due to bacteria accumulation on the tongue, and this can be easily solved by brushing and cleaning your tongue daily.

Halitosis may also be caused by bacteria and hardened plaque and tartar buildup (calculus) trapped underneath the gums. In this case a thorough deep cleaning may be required to remove the bacteria and tartar beneath the gingiva.

If there are other contributing factors involved, together you and the dentist would explore other causes. If necessary, sometimes a physician referral may be necessary to rule out systemic involvement like diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, etc.

Good and proper oral hygiene at home is a great first place to start, followed by regular dental checkups.

If you have any questions about bad breath, its causes, and treatment, your local Pierce County dentist is here to help. Give us a call today!


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