Dr. Mirani, cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills, often works with patients who suffer from chronic cases of bad breath (halitosis). Chronic halitosis originates in the mouth and is caused by bacteria generated from oral debris found in hard to clean areas of the mouth such as between the teeth, below the gum line and certain areas of the tongue. A program of regular cleanings, proper dental hygiene, proper hydration, avoiding alcohol based mouth washes, avoiding acidic foods and using the proper toothpaste will greatly reduce mouth odors.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath is sometimes caused by certain foods like garlic which are absorbed into the body and through the lungs when you breathe. This food odor is temporary and should not be confused with Chronic Halitosis.
Chronic Halitosis originates in the mouth which is inhabited by various bacteria. The balance between the different kinds of bacteria determines the quality of your breath. Odor causing bacteria are anaerobic (without air) in nature which means they cannot live in the presence of oxygen. Anaerobic bacteria inhabit the surface of the tongue by residing between the papillae (small bumps) of the tongue which is oxygen deficient. In essence, they live "within" the tongue and cannot be removed completely with a tongue scraper. The bacteria are naturally occurring and will re-form in the mouth even after cleansing. These naturally occurring bacteria feed on proteins (oral debris) and produce volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) as a by-product of metabolism causing an unpleasant or offensive odor.
Everyone has some level of VSC in their mouth and at low levels they cannot be detected by the nose. However, when the levels of VSC become high it becomes distinguishable as bad breath. Anaerobic bacteria are necessary because they breakdown proteins as the start to digestion, and produce these sulfur compounds as a by-product. The proteins come from oral cellular debris (poor oral hygiene), dead bacteria, saliva, food debris, mucous, post nasal drip and phlegm. Certain conditions cause these bacteria to produce these VSC at an unusually rapid rate. Types of foods may include dairy products especially if you are lactose intolerant and certain foods high in protein. Numerous antibiotics or sulfa-drugs upset the balance of bacterial flora causing some to proliferate and others to perish. An important factor in bacterial growth is the pH of the mouth. Bacteria reproduce faster in a more acid environment. Coffee and acidic foods increase acidity. Hormonal changes have even been implicated with bad breath. During menstruation, estrogen causes sloughing of body lining tissue including that of the mouth. This gives additional nutrition for anaerobic bacteria. Genetics also plays a role. The more fissured the tongue, the greater the anaerobic environment and the higher the level of VSC.
Halitosis is rarely associated with certain medical conditions - e.g.: diabetes. If the onset is sudden, grows noticeably worse over a short period of time and is associated with fever, see a doctor.
How do I Eliminate Bad Breath?
Bad breath treatment starts with a healthy teeth and gums free of infections and plaque. This is why Dr. Mirani is such a proponent of regular checkups and cleanings. Halitosis can easily be caused by gum disease, cavities, decay, periodontal pockets, washed out fillings or dental crowns and porcelain veneers that are not fitted right.
Once Dr. Mirani and her staff help you to achieve a healthy mouth it is important to maintain a proper at home oral hygiene program and to focus on any action which will produce a maximum amount of saliva. Saliva not only helps irrigate the gums, flushing away debris, but the oxygen also combats odor causing bacteria. This is why it is important to stay hydrated and avoid any action that can dry the oral tissue. These actions include smoking, using alcohol based products, stressful situations, consuming acid based food and drinks (coffee and milk), breathing with your mouth open, etc. Using certain medications such as antihistamines can also decrease oxygen levels.
Many people turn to mouthwash for bad breath treatment. This is not the best choice because mouthwashes only mask odors for 15 or so minutes and the high alcohol content may dry out your mouth, which makes halitosis even worse. Dr. Mirani can however prescribe a pH balanced antibacterial mouth rinse that will also help control plaque and bacteria.
What do I do if I think I suffer from Chronic Halitosis?
Dr. Mirani helps dental patients throughout Beverly Hills to achieve optimal oral heath through Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry, Regular Checkups and Cleanings. Call Dr. Mirani’s office today at (310) 858-5933 to schedule an appointment if you are seeking bad breath treatment. Dr.Mirani will examine your teeth and gums to determine the source of the odor if required will a proper treatment program.