Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, can be an embarrassing problem. However, you don't have to let it haunt your social situations forever. If you're able to identify the underlying cause of your halitosis your breath will soon be fresh again.

Causes of Halitosis

The causes of halitosis are almost all linked back to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your mouth. Sometimes, simply poor oral hygiene is a cause of halitosis. This poor oral hygiene can lead to minor gingivitis or could lead to severe tooth decay, both of which can cause halitosis.

To complicate matters, your mouthwash can actually give you halitosis. Mouth washes that have alcohol in them kill all bacteria in your mouth, which is a good thing in the short term. However, these mouth washes also take out all of the good bacteria in your mouth too. These good bacteria help your mouth to break down sugars and other things that contribute to bad breath. If you decide to use a mouth wash you may want to use an alcohol-free variety.

The one cause that isn't linked directly to bacteria overgrowth is GERD. GERD, or acid reflux, causes halitosis from the excess acid produced in the stomach. If you have GERD, your food has trouble moving through your system and actually begins to decay in your stomach. When the acid comes up your throat, small particles of this decayed food comes with it, causing your bad breath.

Home Treatments

Treating halitosis at home may be as simple as increasing the frequency that you floss and replacing your toothbrush more often.  Your toothbrush should be replaced as soon as the bristles show signs of wear and before three months.

Another home treatment option is to put a teaspoon of sea salt in a small glass of water and use that weekly as a mouthwash. It works to inhibit negative bacteria growth without thoroughly removing the beneficial bacteria in your mouth. However, you should use it no more than weekly as excessive saltwater use could wear down your enamel.

When To See Your Dentist

If your home treatments aren't working or you have signs of severe infection, it's time to see your dentist. Red bleeding gums, abscesses, and sores are all signs you should go in to see your dentist and not treat at home.

Depending on the cause of your halitosis your dentist may have to prescribe antibiotics or special mouth washes. If your halitosis is caused by a tooth infection, your dentist may ask to remove the affected tooth. For more information or assistance, contact companies like Smile City.