Thursday April 2, 1998
Dear Dr. Mady: I have been experiencing a problem for the past two years with bad breath. I feel it is so embarrassing that I avoid trips to the dentist, and I am afraid to get close to anyone. What can be causing this disgusting oral odour and what can I do about it? -George in St. Clair Beach
The most common causes include certain foods, poor oral hygiene, gum disease, cavities or holes where fillings have fallen out and food remains, tobacco products, a dry mouth (xerostomia) or a medical disorder.
When bacteria accumulates because of poor oral hygiene or gum disease, or when saliva flow is lowered due to medications, alcohol or for other reasons, bad breath can result. Saliva is necessary to wash away food particles and bacteria. Certain disorders or medications can also lead to a dry mouth. Also, respiratory tract and sinus-related infections are culprits in this battle against bad breath.
In any case, you should contact your dentist to determine whether the cause is of dental origin. Regular checkups will allow your dentist to diagnose possible reasons. By doing this and maintaining good oral hygiene, you could only help the problem. If your dentist finds the cause is not of oral origin, you may be referred to a periodontist (gum specialist).
Regardless of the cause, brush at least twice a day, clean between your teeth and under the gums with floss or other interdental cleaners, and brush your tongue. If you are a denture or partial denture wearer, don't forget to remove them when you sleep and clean them thoroughly before placing them back in your mouth.
______________________________________________________________________________This column is reprinted with the permission of the author and The Windsor Star. "Ask the Dentist" is written by Windsor dentist (and ECDS member), Dr. David Mady Jr.. The column appears the first Thursday of each month in the Windsor Star. Readers with questions can write to "Ask The Dentist", c/o The Windsor Star, 167 Ferry St., Windsor Ontario, N9A 4M5