You may be suffering from halitosis (bad breath) without even knowing it. It is estimated that 1-in-4 people suffer from bad breath to some degree. And because you are desensitized to the odor, you may not recognize how bad your breath really is.
Aside from asking someone you know to gauge of how bad your breath is, you can lick a cotton ball. If the cotton ball takes on a yellowish hue and has a sulfuric odor, this is evidence of poor oral hygiene and halitosis.
Of course, poor oral hygiene is not the only cause for bad breath. You can also develop bad breath by eating foods like onions, garlic, coffee, excessive proteins, acrid and acidic foods, and even sugar. In addition, you may develop bad breath from an inability to digest foods. It is possible to develop bad breath from gastric reflux.
You can also probe the back of your tongue with your finger and smell it. When you do this, you should let the saliva dry on your finger to remove the buffering that the saliva can create. Another method is to simply look at your tongue in the mirror. A tongue that has a white coating presents evidence of high sulfur compound levels.
It is common for alcohol and tobacco users to develop bad breath because it reduces your oral saliva levels. Dry mouth is a leading cause of tooth decay because the saliva washes away the bacteria and neutralizes it. For the same reason, you can develop halitosis and dry mouth from over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs.
Another reason why you may develop halitosis is nasal problems. People who have nasal problems have to sleep with their mouths open in order to breathe at night. If you sleep with your mouth open, it will dry your mouth out and increase the odors from the bacterial growth. Because dry mouth is so interconnected with both cavities and halitosis, it is perhaps the worst condition and leading cause for halitosis.
One way to neutralize halitosis is to brush, floss, and use mouthwash regularly. This will reduce the volume of bacteria growth in your mouth. The bio-film is what forms into the plaque material called tartar if you do not remove it daily. The plaque is a greyish-yellow buildup that usually forms where teeth are clustered and hard to clean and below the gum-line where it is difficult to reach with brushing alone.
You can also quit using tobacco and medications that dry your mouth. If you have no choice, you could try to keep hydrated by sipping on water frequently or sucking on ice cubes. A specialist may be able to help those with nighttime breathing problems. Obstructed breathing issues may become serious over time and lead to the deadly condition called sleep apnea. In any case, you should contact Lowry Dental in Boise, Idaho, to keep up an optimal level of oral health.