Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be embarrassing and in some cases may even cause anxiety. It’s no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes, and other products designed to fight bad breath. But many of these products are only temporary measures because they don’t address the cause of the problem.
The breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odor. Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic, and spices, also can cause bad breath. After you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream, are carried to your lungs, and affect your breath.
Smoking causes its own unpleasant mouth odor. Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely to have gum disease, another source of bad breath.
If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath. A colorless, sticky film of bacteria (plaque) forms on your teeth. If not brushed away, plaque can irritate your gums and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums (periodontitis). Your tongue also can trap bacteria that produce odors. Dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or don’t fit properly can harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles.
Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odors. A condition called dry mouth or xerostomia (zeer–o-STOE-me-uh) can contribute to bad breath because the production of saliva is decreased. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to “morning breath,” and it worsens if you sleep with your mouth open. Chronic dry mouth can be caused by a problem with your salivary glands and some diseases.
Some medications can indirectly produce bad breath by contributing to dry mouth. Others can be broken down in the body to release chemicals that can be carried on your breath.
Bad breath can be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease, or mouth sores.
Bad breath can occasionally stem from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odor. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses, or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, also can cause bad breath.
Other causes. Diseases, such as some cancers, and conditions such as metabolic disorders, can cause a distinctive breath odor as a result of chemicals they produce. Chronic reflux of stomach acids (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) can be associated with bad breath. Bad breath in young children can be caused by a foreign body, such as a piece of food, lodged in a nostril.
Dr. Seif received an award in Aesthetic Dentistry and an Advanced Standing Achievement Certificate and held a position as a part-time clinical instructor.
Dr. Seif has more than 15 years of experience as a dentist and has obtained two dental degrees. Dr. Seif earned his first degree in dentistry in Syria in 1998 and practiced general dentistry until coming to the US to advance his education by earning a second dental degree from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry, a world-renown dental institute. While at Loma Linda, Dr. Seif received an award in Aesthetic Dentistry and an Advanced Standing Achievement Certificate and held a position as a part-time clinical instructor.
Dr. Seif’s compassion and friendly nature is evident to his patients. He believes that every individual should be treated in a kind, caring and respectful manner. Dr. Seif is dedicated to life-long learning and enjoys participating in post-graduate courses that enable him to provide his patients and community with the excellent dental care he believes every person deserves.
Moving from the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 2014, Dr. Seif now calls Baytown his home. Along with cooking, friends, family and his dog, Sophie, he enjoys southern culture. He is enthralled by the friendliness and hospitality he finds in Texas, saying, “This is exactly the kind of community I want to live and practice in!”