If you're one of the 90 million people who struggle with chronic bad breath, you're probably pretty frustrated by your own attempts to cover up the problem. Unfortunately, genuine halitosis won't go away by chewing gum, eating mints, or swishing with mouthwash! And it's not a private problem that you can keep to yourself—it typically affects your relationships, your outlook, and your dental health as well. What causes this stubborn condition? To begin with, few people have really effective oral hygiene habits, meaning that they constantly have some amount of decaying food particles and bacteria in their mouth. Or, they may have other oral debris as a result of smoking, chewing tobacco, or drinking alcohol. In any case, such decay and debris produce sulfur compounds just like the kind found in rotten eggs, and the result is foul-smelling breath.

Some other causes for bad breath are less common, such as a systemic (general health) problems. Internal infections, gum disease, diabetes, kidney failure, or liver malfunction can cause bad breath; radiation treatment for cancer may produce a dry mouth and halitosis, as well. And several simple, non-medical conditions can occasionally have a temporarily negative effect on your breath: stress, dieting, snoring, advancing age, and hormonal changes.

The Good News: It's Really Treatable

As you might guess, the first step in controlling bad breath is to practice good oral hygiene: twice daily brushing, daily flossing, and tongue cleaning. Tongue cleaning involves using a plastic tool called a tongue scraper or tongue de-plaquer, that clears away bacterial build-up and significantly alleviates odor. Your good hygiene must include regular dental check-ups, since professional cleanings do a much more thorough job of eliminating bacteria and plaque build-up. Further, if you have dentures or a removable retainer or mouth-guard, you must also practice excellent hygiene each time you remove the appliance, cleaning it thoroughly and according to proper instructions.

Finally, even the most meticulous hygiene is sometimes insufficient for eliminating the problem. And that's why we recommend the Breath Rx System. Simply mention your concerns to Dr. Hampton or your hygienist, and we'll explain how the system works. If it sounds like the right choice for you, you can conveniently purchase it from us at your visit. Most people notice an improvement right away with this program! Of course, if we suspect a systemic or internal problem such as an infection or underlying condition, we may also recommend a visit with your family physician or specialist to identify the cause.

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