Bad Breath Remedies (Part I of III)

Bad breath can be caused by many sources: sinuses, lungs, stomach, mouth, and systemic disease. The main remedy for bad breath is not by masking it with potent mouthwashes, but by attacking the problem at the source. Sinus issues can be alleviated by a series of allergy shots and by use of decongestant/antihistamine preparations. Lung problems can be helped by proper diagnosis and handling any infection that may be present. For stomach issues, there are a number of good medications available over-the-counter that can ease acid reflux. Systemic problems such as diabetes should be treated through good medical care from one’s physician. A thorough medical examination is a great first step to rule out other sources before tackling issues with the mouth. After a complete medical exam from a physician, the dentist will examine the mouth and look for issues of gum disease or food impaction. Gum disease starts by forming pockets between the gums and the teeth. Food and bacteria can become trapped in these pockets and cause a foul odor. Open contacts between teeth can also trap food. If that has not been thoroughly cleaned out, bad breath can occur. In these situations, the dentist will recommend treatment to eliminate gum disease or to close the gaps by restoring the contact between the offending teeth.

Bad Breath, Causes

It may not be the “Heartbreak of Halitosis”, but bad breath can make social situations awkward. There is a myriad of causes of bad breath. Just because the air goes through the mouth does not mean that the source of the odor comes from the oral cavity. In addition to the mouth, bad breath can stem from the sinuses, lungs, stomach, or it can even have a systemic origin. In Atlanta, due to the great amount of pollen and allergens floating in the air, post nasal drip is the most common source of bad breath. The drippings will collect in the pharynx or larynx and will cause a malodor to the breath. Lung infections such as bronchitis can also be a source. Regurgitation of stomach contents will impart a rather noxious aroma. Systemic problems such as diabetes can change the breath odor also. Ketoacidosis caused by a sugar imbalance will impart a fruity, but not necessarily pleasant scent to the breath. As far as the mouth is concerned, gum disease and food impaction are the major sources of halitosis.

Denture Adhesives

A good fitting denture along with an adequate amount of saliva will usually allow a denture to fit well without the use of denture adhesives. However, over time, the gums will naturally shrink and thus the dentures will begin to loosen. The better thing to do is to go to your dentist for a reline. An impression is made of the new gums and new plastic is processed into place giving the denture a fit that is as good as new. In the interim, denture adhesive can be used, but it should not be relied on as ill-fitting dentures can be a source of chronic irritation that could possibly lead to malignancy. Another reason that denture adhesive may be needed is very flat gum ridges. If there is not enough bone present to resist the lateral forces of chewing, the denture could become continually dislodged.

Powder and Paste Adhesives

There are a number of varieties of denture adhesives, mostly pastes, powders, and wafers. All types seem to work reasonably well, although pastes should only be used sparingly because they tend to be very thick in viscosity and could throw off the proper fit of the denture.