Dr. Nick Cicortas, DMD

Bad Breath and Beyond

Dr. Nick Cicortas, DMD

Lifeway Dental of Boca

9101 Lakeridge Blvd., Unit 9

Boca Raton, FL 33496



Whether it’s a loaded tuna sandwich or overloaded garlic bread, we’ve all experienced unpleasant breath (halitosis) at one time or another. However, it is estimated that 25% of Americans suffer from halitosis on a regular basis. More than a billion dollars are spent yearly on treatments to prevent and treat bad breath, sometimes without relief. Understandably, chronic
halitosis can affect one’s self-image, and can adversely impact emotional, social and psychological wellbeing. The cause will either be issues inside the mouth or medications and conditions elsewhere. Inside the mouth, we are generally confronted with high bacterial sources in gum pockets, or periodontitis, and on the back of the tongue. Bacteria will naturally break down food particles in the mouth and in the process produce volatile sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide, and
other foul-smelling compounds such as putrescine and cadaverine. Not brushing daily and leaving gum disease untreated can provide these bacteria with a continuous food supply. If the mouth and tongue are regularly cleaned and bad breath persists, other sources should be considered. Conditions such as kidney disorders, type 2 diabetes, sinus infection, postnasal drip, and digestive disturbances can contribute to halitosis. Moreover, medications, especially those that reduce saliva, can worsen bad breath. These include decongestants, hypertension medications, antidepressants, and narcotics. Your dentist can help rule these out with a thorough medical history. The best weapon in the fight against bad breath is good oral hygiene. After ruling out medications and other causes, the focus is placed on brushing and flossing, followed by an antibacterial mouth rinse such as CloSYS, Chlorhexidine, or ioRinse. If your tongue has a white coating, it must be brushed gently every day, especially in the back. To keep a continuous supply of saliva, sugar-free gum with Xylitol can be used throughout the day.

Toothfully yours, Dr. C

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