What causes bad breath and what can be done about it?
Bad breath is usually caused by bad oral hygiene habits, but gum disease can also be a big factor in halitosis. By brushing properly, you can remove the food particles and bacteria from the mouth. Flossing will also remove plaque, bacteria, and food that are trapped between the teeth. Mouth rinses can provide temporary bad breath relief, but it is important to consult Durham dentist Dr. Schlotterer and/or your family physician if the halitosis persists.

Does bad breath come from other sources than the mouth?
Yes, it can. Bad breath can be caused by stress, various medical conditions, age, diet, snoring, and hormonal changes. However, bad breath that originates in the stomach is considered very rare.

Why is saliva so important in the fight against bad breath?
Saliva is the mouth’s key ingredient in keeping bad breath under control because saliva can wash away the bacteria and food particles that primarily cause bad breath. The salivary glands slow down while you sleep and allow bacteria to grow inside the mouth. This is commonly known as “morning mouth.” To alleviate bad breath from “morning mouth,” we recommend brushing your teeth and eating breakfast as soon as possible.

Do certain foods cause bad breath?
Absolutely! Foods that are very spicy, including garlic and onions, may cause bad breath. In addition, coffee can sometimes be detected on the breath up to 72 hours after you’ve digested it!

How do I control bad breath?
To control bad breath, Durham dentist Dr. Schlotterer recommends brushing and flossing at least twice a day and practicing other good oral hygiene habits. Chew sugar-free come and clean your tongue with a tongue scraper or toothbrush.

Should I use a mouth rinse or mouthwash? What kind?
You are more than welcome to use one if you like them. Most mouthwashes are very effective oral antiseptics that can freshen the breath for up to three hours. While their success in preventing gingivitis, tooth decay, and gum disease is limited, some anti-cavity and fluoride rinses have been proven to fight up to 50% more cavity-causing bacteria. Call Digital Dentistry at Southpoint today if you have more questions about mouthwashes and mouth rinses.

When and how often should I rinse?
Durham dentist Dr. Gary Schlotterer suggests the following if you are using an anti-cavity rinse. Practice these steps after every meal: brush, floss, and then rinse. Before applying an anti-cavity rinse, the teeth should be as clean as possible to receive all the benefits of the liquid fluoride. You can also follow these steps for anti-plaque rinses. As a general rule, always follow the instructions on the bottle and heed every single precaution.

What is the proper way to rinse?
Dr. Schlotterer recommends first using the proper amount of liquid in the mouth. Then close the lips and keep the teeth slightly apart. At this point, swish the mouthwash around your mouth using as much force as possible. This includes using the lips, tongue, and sucking action of the cheeks. Swish the sides and front of the mouth equally for about 30 seconds; then you can thoroughly rinse the mouthwash out of your mouth.

Are there any side effects to rinsing?
Habitually using some mouth rinses can lead to root sensitivity, ulcers, soreness, stains, sodium retention, numbness, fluoride toxicity, and changes in taste sensation. Children tend to accidently swallow mouthwash, which is why we recommend that children only use mouthwash if they are under adult supervision. Stop using the mouthwash and call Digital Dentistry at Southpoint immediately if you experience any irritation or adverse reactions to the rinse.