Bad breath can be a very embarrassing issue to have and can also point to a more serious problems. The main causes of bad breath are cavities or dental caries, gum disease or gingivitis, bacteria on your tongue, and GERD or acid reflux. If you go to a dentist near you, they will be able to rule out these possibilities for you.
If you go to the best dentist near you, they will first check if you have any cavities or gum disease. Untreated cavities and gum disease are the biggest cause of bad breath. Gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis are caused when there is a build-up of plaque and bacteria underneath the gums, and it is the bacteria as well as the chronic inflammation that cause the bad smell. If this is the cause and issue you will need a cleaning and maybe a deep cleaning in order to get rid of all of the plaque. You then will want to go to a laser dentist to have your gums disinfected; don't worry the laser dentistry doesn't hurt at all and only takes a couple of minutes for the dental hygienist to do. After your dental team has cleaned everything up it is important that you floss at least once a day to keep everything from coming back, if you don't then the bacteria and smell will come back almost immediately. It is also important to come back for periodic teeth cleanings to get rid of the extra dental plaque that you miss at home.
If your dentist checks your gums and sees that you have good gum health and no gum inflammation, then they will next look to see if you have any cavities. The tooth decay itself along with the bacteria in the cavity can cause a bad smell. Your cavities should be taken care of immediately either way since they only get larger and cause worse problems. The larger the cavities and decay get the more likely you are to have tooth pain and need a dental crown or root canal therapy. So, make sure to routinely get checked for and take care of cavities.
When your dentist doesn't find gum disease or tooth decay, they will next look for signs of GERD or acid reflux. Acid reflux, heartburn, laryngopharyngeal reflux, and silent reflux can all lead to bad breath. Your dentist should be able to tell because there will be erosion on your teeth from the acid. If your dentist sees this, they will refer you to your doctor to get you acid reflux treatment or heartburn relief from acid reflux medicine, heartburn medicine, or home remedies for heartburn and acid reflux.
Quite often I will have patients in my dental practice in Huntington Beach that don't have cavities, don't have gum disease, brush and floss regularly, but still have bad breath. For these patients, the one thing they are usually missing in their hygiene home care is a tongue scrapper. Most people who have bad breath are just failing to use a tongue scrapper so are allowing smelly bacteria to accumulate on their tongue. While a tongue scrapper may feel like a nuisance and may seem like it isn't doing much it is important for keeping your tongue clean which can be one of the main causes of bad breath.
Now there are always the cases when none of the above help. If this is the case, it is time to look towards your diet. Make sure you're drinking enough water, avoid pungent smelling foods, and if you smoke tobacco that can be the cause.