Your smile is a major component of the impressions you leave on those around you. However, even if you have beautifully straight, perfectly white teeth, you may still be leaving a poor impression. Bad breath can often indicate an imbalance of your natural mouth flora, which not only causes foul breath but other oral health issues as well. D.A. Dental is here to help.
What is Halitosis?
Halitosis is a technical term for bad breath, and it can be caused by a variety of different factors. The factors include certain foods, which can be absorbed into the bloodstream where it can be transferred to the lungs and exhaled, gum disease, smoking and other tobacco products, dry mouth, and health complications such as respiratory tract infections, sinusitis, or diabetes. Halitosis can also be caused by imbalances in your natural mouth flora.
How Does Mouth Flora Become Imbalanced?
The mouth is a warm, moist environment that is home to a variety of microbiota. There is a common misconception that all bacteria in the mouth is bad and needs to be eliminated. However, the truth is that many of the microbes in your mouth are beneficial for maintaining a healthy mouth. Any changes in the balance can result in gum disease, tooth decay, and halitosis.
The mouth is quite complex. Just like oral bacteria, plaque is naturally occurring. Just like oral bacteria, we are taught to believe that all plaque is bad. In actuality, too much plaque is bad. Saliva in the mouth forms a protective layer on the teeth, called a pellicle, an event that occurs within minutes of brushing and flossing. Aerobic bacteria attach to this pellicle, forming a thin film. It is when the film becomes thick and sticky, or hardens completely when problems arise. As the film thickens, the amount of oxygen that can penetrate decreases, shifting the environment from aerobic to anaerobic, and the bad bacteria begin to attach and thrive. When this happens, the balance is thrown off, and your risk of developing oral health issues, including halitosis, increases.
Restoring the Balance
While it is natural to want to eliminate all bacteria from your mouth, what you want to do is restore the balance. You do not want to turn your mouth into a sterile environment. When you eliminate all of one type of bacteria, you run the risk of another bacteria taking over. Brushing and flossing daily are important habits to have. These habits help to eliminate the thicker layers of film on your teeth, preventing unwanted buildup on your teeth. Certain types of mouthwashes have also been developed, along with other products such as lozenges, which are designed to return homeostasis to your mouth. When the natural balance of your mouth has been restored, your breath will improve, as will your oral health. However, if you notice that your breath is still bad, even after improving your oral care routine and taking action to maintain the homeostasis of your mouth, it may be time to ask for professional help.
When the flora in your mouth is balanced, you will experience better breath and improved oral health. For more information, and to schedule your consultation, call D.A. Dental today at (774) 374-8295.