Don't ignore bad breath There are many possible causes for bad breath; among them are tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, a condition called dry mouth (xerostemia), tobacco use, certain foods and illness; it can also be a side effect of some medications. If you think you have bad breath, please schedule an appointment with us so we can rule out tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, or a medical condition that should be treated by a physician.

The origin of bad breath Bad breath usually begins in your mouth, as bacteria break down food debris. The bacteria that cause bad breath require an oxygen-free environment to survive, so they're usually found between your teeth and within the grooves of your tongue. As the bacteria break down the food debris, they release volatile sulfur compounds (VSC's). These compounds produce the unpleasant odor in your mouth.

Avoiding bad breath The key to avoiding bad breath is eliminating it at its source. First, come to see us for a professional cleaning so we can thoroughly remove the plaque and tartar, where odor-causing bacteria thrive. We'll show you how to brush and floss properly, and we may also provide you with a tongue scraper and special antibacterial rinse, if necessary.

* Floss and then brush your teeth, gums, and tongue after each meal.

toothbrush in your desk, your purse, and your car.

dislodge food and moisten your mouth; use a fluoride rinse, a mouthwash that doesn't contain alcohol, or water.

* Drink lots of liquids, preferably water, to keep your mouth moist.

If your bad breath persists despite taking these measures, be sure to let us know. Remember, you don't have to live with bad breath!