This post from Neal C. Johnson DMD in Billings offers some answers to persistent questions about bad breath.
Q. My wife says my breath is horrible, but I brush twice a day. Shouldn’t that be enough?
A. Bacteria can propagate and stink in hidden crevices that can only be reached with floss. Time to start flossing. If your breath hasn’t improved in a few months, make an appointment so we can look at other possible causes of your halitosis.
Also keep in mind that brushing just the teeth may not eliminate food particles between the teeth and up in the gums. Gently brushing the gums, sides of the mouth and the tongue in addition to the teeth may make the difference.
Q. My breath seems to get worse during hay fever season. What’s up with that?
A. Allergies can change mouth odor in a couple of ways. First, anything that stimulates post-nasal drip can be a trigger because bacteria at the back of the throat mixes with the mucous and emits a smelly odor as it breaks down. Second, hay fever medications often cause dry mouth which can lead to stinky breath. Antihistamines can diminish post-nasal drip so this is a catch-22. If you take antihistamines, drink water frequently throughout the day to keep your mouth moist, suck on sugar-free mints to stimulate saliva production and rinse with a non-alcohol mouth rinse.
Q. What health conditions can bring about bad breath?
A. As explained before, any condition that decreases saliva generation can cause halitosis. It is also a persistent side effect of diabetes, kidney failure, and liver failure. Of course, if your kidneys or liver is failing, you have bigger problems.
Q. Why did my breath become appalling when I went on a strict low-carb diet?
A. Ketones were most likely the culprit. Ketones are generated when the body digests fat—which is usually the goal of a low-carb plan. On the flip side, sounds like you weren’t cheating!
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