You may have noticed bad breath seems to get worse as we get older. You’re not alone. The number of people suffering from halitosis is surprisingly high: About 50% of the US population suffers from bad breath. Unfortunately, as we age, we’re more prone to halitosis. But don’t worry. With a little extra effort, you can refreshen your breath and you can breathe a big, fresh, sigh of relief.
Why Can Older People Have Bad Breath?
Halitosis has many possible causes that can include diet, hygiene, or even potential underlying health issues.
In terms of diet, you may enjoy common culprits like drinking alcohol, tobacco, and foods like garlic, onions, and many spices. But those around you may not enjoy the effect these things have on your breath. Try avoiding these things for a week or two and see if your breath improves as a result.
Hygiene is also simple enough. Make sure your dental care routine includes brushing twice a day, flossing, and even using mouthwash and/or tongue scraper.
If making these changes don’t improve your breath, there might be an underlying health issue.
Various underlying health conditions can cause halitosis.
- Periodontal disease is one of the most common health-related causes of chronic bad breath, particularly in aging populations. 70% of U.S. adults over the age of 65 have periodontal disease. Periodontal – or gum – disease is typically a result of plaque collecting on your teeth and gums.
- Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is another common cause of bad breath in aging populations. You may be wondering why dryness in your mouth would create an unpleasant odor. It’s simple. Suppose you don’t have enough saliva to wash away food particles. In that case, the particles can collect on your teeth and gums, causing the growth of bacteria. Aging doesn’t cause dry mouth, but some medications to treat chemotherapy, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, or alcoholism can trigger it. Regardless of the cause, sipping water or chewing sugar-free gum throughout the day can help.
- Wearing dentures can also cause halitosis. Food can build up in hard-to-reach areas, allowing bacteria to grow. A more stringent cleaning routine of your artificial teeth could rid your mouth of any unwanted odors.
Your dental professional is the person best suited to diagnose any potential health or hygiene issues. They will likely be able to remedy the issue quickly with routine cleaning and removing any tartar deposits you may have so your gums can heal. It’s just one more reason why regular checkups are so important. ASBA is here to help you keep your mouth healthy with a Dental Plan that includes coverage for routine cleanings as well as many procedures including fillings, crowns, implants, and more.